Did you know?
Certain situations, like hospitalisation for mental health, care assessments, and complaints against the NHS come with the legal right to a specialist advocate. This is called statutory advocacy. Your local authority funds independent services that can offer you this – find out more here
For most situations in which you could use the help of an advocate, you can be supported by a community advocacy service. Community advocates have more general training and experience, and can help with things like getting the right care through health and social services, disputes with work or education, benefits, housing concerns, and attending appointments. For more information about how advocacy works and what an advocate can help with, visit our page about advocacy.
Finding your local service
There are a few large organisations that offer advocacy in different areas of the country, as well as local ones. The quickest way to find out which services are funded to offer advocacy in your area is to look online using a search engine.
In our experience, searching the words “community advocacy” and the name of the area you are living in will quickly bring up one or two options. You can search using the nearest city, your borough, or the section of the county you live in.
Unfortunately, it’s not a legal duty for your local authority to fund community advocacy, so there is a chance that you won’t find a service that covers your area or situation. We can support you with your search, and if there is nothing available for what you need we will also look at whether we can provide you advocacy ourselves.
What to expect
An advocate’s area of expertise is getting your voice heard. They can do this through supporting you to write letters, attending meetings with you, or even speaking to services on your behalf.
An advocate should also help you understand what is happening, your rights, and your options moving forward. Lots of factors can affect how well they can do this, for example the individual advocate’s level of experience and training, whether advocates are paid or voluntary, and the complexity of your situation. It can be helpful to summarise your situation and goals, and to ask some questions, so you can know what to expect.
If you’re concerned that an advocate from your local community service is going to be limited in how much they can help you, we can help by putting a plan together for you and your advocate to follow.
Did you know?
“Disability” is defined under the Equality Act 2010 as a condition that affects your day-to-day functioning (that means makes regular activities noticeably harder) for a year or more of your life. If you find advocacy for disability, you are probably eligible for this if you have a mental health condition.
Organisations offering advocacy and advice
If you know of other services we can add to this list, please let us know!
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These organisations offer advice and information about different issues, as well as community advocacy in different parts of the country
The Advocacy People
Rethink Mental Illness
Advocacy Support Cymru
The Advocacy Project
Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
These organisations offer advice, information, and advocacy for specific groups of people or around specific areas
Benefits, money, housing, and other legal topics
Peer advocacy around health for homeless individuals
For children and young people in care or care leavers
For vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers
For members of the LGBT community
Law Centres Network
Support around legal rights for the community
Action for ME
For people affected by ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome