Why Advocacy Matters to Me - Joanne Green
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
First-up is Service Director, Joanne Green...
How did you become involved in advocacy? Please tell us a little about your role at Cloverleaf...
I started working at Cloverleaf in 2007 as an advocate. The Mental Capacity Act was being introduced and I was particularly interested in the role of the IMCA. I hadn’t had any experience of advocacy before joining Cloverleaf but felt at home straight away and loved the values and ethos of the role.
I went on to become a Service Manager and have recently started a new role of Operations Director for Carers, Inclusion and Self Advocacy services.
Can you share three reasons why advocacy matters most to you?
I have always felt the need to fight injustices and this is at the core of advocacy. I like the fact that as an organisation we champion the rights of everyone to have their voices heard and although advocacy is not always understood, it has a massive positive impact on individuals lives.
What do you think are the most important attributes required to become a good advocate?
It’s definitely important to be able to connect with people and to listen and understand. A good advocate needs to be tenacious and have the ability to find out where to go to get the answers quickly.
What one thing would you most like people to know about advocacy?
That it is so diverse! There’s so much more to advocacy (and Cloverleaf) than statutory services. The Peer Support services and Self Advocacy Networks do an enormous amount to champion the voices of people who so often feel they are not heard.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that the sector is currently facing?
As with so many other similar sectors, the financial squeeze is one of the main challenges being faced at the moment. The teams have so many wonderful and creative ideas to support and promote advocacy within our local communities, but there aren’t always the funds available to develop these ideas.
If you could share one tip on how people can learn to self-advocate what would it be?
It’s very difficult to narrow it down to just one! A good starting point is to work out beforehand what you want to say, then practice saying it out loud. It can also help to have a friend or trusted person with you for support.
Complete the sentence – in 10 years’ time, I would like the advocacy sector to...
have a higher profile and be understood by all, so that more and more people can get access to the advocacy services they need. In an ideal world, I would also like to see a lot more funding for advocacy services.