Why Advocacy Matter to Me - Jane Wynne
With an ever-growing number of people accessing advocacy services, we’re asking members of the Cloverleaf team to share their views, thoughts and experiences on advocacy and why #advocacymatters
How did you become involved in advocacy? Please tell us a little about your role at Cloverleaf...
I work as a Network and Engagement Facilitator in Barnsley. This involves helping run the Barnsley Disability Equality Forum, My Barnsley Too and Thursday’s Voice, a group for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism. We also run the Barnsley Safe Places Scheme. I came into contact with these groups and Safe Places when I worked for South Yorkshire Police dealing with hate crime, when the opportunity came to come and work for Cloverleaf with these amazing people I jumped at the chance!
Can you share three reasons why advocacy matters most to you?
Everyone has a right to have their thoughts and feelings taken into account when it comes to their care and their life choices.
Some people have the ability to speak up for themselves, many do not.
Having someone to advocate in these matters is vital to people’s mental and physical wellbeing and gives them the opportunity to have a say in their lives.
What do you think are the most important attributes required to become a good advocate?
Being non-judgmental, being a good listener and communicator to both the client and professionals, being patient, being empathetic but realistic regarding potential outcomes, and being able to support through good and bad.
What one thing would you most like people to know about advocacy?
That it is available. I knew nothing about advocacy before I came into contact with Cloverleaf and I was overwhelmed by the great work that advocates do.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that the sector is currently facing?
I think like most things, it is funding. Cuts in money means cuts in services which has a domino effect on demands for advocacy.
If you could share one tip on how people can learn to self-advocate what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to ask for help if it gets too much.
Complete the sentence – in 10 years’ time I would like the advocacy sector to... be promoted and accepted as a vital part of life for those who need it.