A Lancashire based charity called ‘Advocacy Focus’ has won a three year deal with Trafford Council to provide free advocacy services in the borough.
Advocacy Focus supports individuals by helping them to achieve the outcomes that matter to them, when dealing with health and social care services and local authorities. The charity already holds successful contracts with Lancashire County Council and Bradford Council, as well as private contracts across the UK.
Justine Hodgkinson, CEO, says: “We are delighted to have won the Trafford contract and are able to expand our award winning service further afield. We have a passion for helping people to express their views and uphold their rights at difficult times in their lives, so to be able to support even more people is fantastic.”
The contract win comes after a very successful year that saw the organisation support over 3,000 individuals across Lancashire, and just in time for its 20th anniversary. Justine continues: “It’s a big year for us this year, and we would obviously like to think our 20 years of experience puts us in the perfect position to really make a difference to the lives of Trafford residents.”
Justine details that the new contract will bring a wealth of volunteering opportunities to the region, as well as new plans to help residents better understand what advocacy is.
She explains: “A lot of people are confused about advocacy and how it can help them and a lot of people don’t even know that our type of service exists – and more importantly – that it is free. Advocacy helps those who are having difficulties communicating about a health and social matter with health services, social services and local councils. Together with the individual we seek outcomes that are in their best interest for the best quality of life.”
Advocacy Focus will be providing Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), Independent Care Act Advocacy (ICAA) and Health Complaints Advocacy as part of the contract. Much of which the charity has been providing in Lancashire for over a decade.
Justine continues: “We plan to mirror a lot of the success we have had in Lancashire. We will have dedicated Independent Advocates located at our new office on Chester Road, who will be regularly visiting adults across the borough. We also plan to repeat the success of our Lancashire Pop Up Advocacy service, which will see us pitching up a gazebo and speaking with local residents.
“We also plan to carry out our mental health ward drop ins, where we speak to patients about what advocacy is and help them to understand their rights and make referrals.”
Justine finished: “Our team are passionate about achieving the best possible outcomes for the people using our service, so we look forward to helping the people of Trafford.”
Advocacy Focus regularly makes a difference to the lives of people across the North-West, helping those affected by ill mental health, social care challenges and caring responsibilities. To find out more about advocacy and how it could help you, visit advocacyfocus.org.uk.
(Image: Justine Hodgkinson)