Why advocacy matters to me - Lydia Duckitt
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 joined Cloverleaf in 2018 after hearing about Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy and knowing it was the job for me. My husband and I moved cities for me to do the job and I have never looked back!
I joined as a Relevant Person’s Representative for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and am now a Senior Advocate. My background was doing a Psychology degree and working in day services, supported living and care homes as a support worker. I now work mostly with people who have been found to lack capacity for the decision that needs to be made, such as change of accommodation or serious medical treatment decisions.
Can you share three reasons why advocacy matters most to you?
1. People having their rights upheld and voices listened to is so important. Vulnerable people can sometimes get lost in the processes and procedures and we help them to be at the centre of any decision-making.
2. Tackling the injustices is challenging, but enjoyable for me and can be transformational for my clients.
3. When things change for the better for my clients, and they are happy – that moment is what matters the most. Sometimes a big change like moving accommodation is needed, but other times something as simple as having a weekly newspaper delivered can make all the difference!
It is a privilege to get to be a part of helping enact those changes.
What do you think are the most important attributes required to become a good advocate?
Most importantly I think a passion for people, justice and the tenacity to keep going! Being able to listen actively to your clients and other professionals is very important, and also a sense of compassion for all involved. Being aware of your own opinions and biases that could influence you is also key, as it's your client’s views and wishes that always come first.
What one thing would you most like people to know about advocacy?
Advocacy has so many different roles within it and we wear many different ‘hats’. I work as an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate, a Relevant Person’s Representative, Care Act Advocate and Generic Advocate. There are also many other types of advocacy for different types of referrals.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that the sector is currently facing?
Covid has brought along a lot of challenges in the sector, from financial pressures to just practically having the staff on the ground. Thankfully, Advocacy is here to keep championing people’s rights even in these new more challenging circumstances!
If you could share one tip on how people can learn to self-advocate what would it be?
Preparing beforehand and having a very clear list of what you want to raise in a meeting can be very helpful. You can usually ask for a friend or family member to accompany you at the meeting to help out too.
Complete the sentence – in 10 years’ time, I would like the advocacy sector to...
have grown to have more funding and cover more issues for vulnerable people and be something people know is available to them.
I would love to see more about Advocacy in the media so there is much more awareness of the sector and how empowering having an Advocate can be.