Why Advocacy Matters to Me - Susie Allaway
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.
Years ago I used to work in a mental health setting; I saw advocates come in and out to support their clients who were also my residents and admired the role and realized how important it is. I then decided I would like to move over into the advocacy sector.
Can you share three reasons why advocacy matters most to you?
Vulnerable people having the opportunity to be heard, having their thoughts and wishes represented when they struggle, and in general the support aspect of being able to make a difference to people.
What do you think are the most important attributes required to become a good advocate?
Being non-judgmental, being able to listen, being able to communicate effectively whether it be through speaking or other forms of communication, being able to maintain confidentiality, being understanding and being able to show empathy, being able to communicate with professionals on many different levels, being able to multi-task and one of the most important things, patience!!
What one thing would you most like people to know about advocacy?
That it is out there and available! I would also like people to know that advocacy is so important to support the wishes and feelings of people, advocates do not judge and we work independently. Anyone at any time may find themselves needing an advocate!
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that the sector is currently facing?
Probably funding for as many advocates as possible including non-statutory advocacy, so that people who need an advocate can get one quickly.
If you could share one tip on how people can learn to self-advocate what would it be?
Know your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses, try to have the confidence to express yourself! Also, to know there are groups and support out there to promote self-advocacy.
Complete the sentence – in 10 years’ time …
I would like the advocacy sector to be as widely advertised as possible and readily and quickly available to those that need the support.