Community Advocacy

This is any advocacy that is not a legal right. Community Advocacy can be delivered by professional advocates, or in some areas by citizen or peer advocates.

You can find out about how and when an advocate could work with you and the difference they can make. 

2 people talkingWe work across England, supporting you to:

  • Express your views and wishes
  • Secure your rights
  • Have your interests represented
  • Access information and services
  • Explore choices and options

What is community advocacy?

A community advocate is someone who offers advocacy that is not based on a legal right. In other words, it is not offered to you because the law says you have to be offered it.

Community advocacy can be done by a paid professional or a volunteer or 'citizen advocate' (see below factsheets).

What will a community advocate do?

An advocate will meet with you and listen to what you want. They will agree a plan with you based on what you want to happen.

Then the advocate will support you to achieve your goals. 

They will support you to:

  • gain the skills and confidence to tell people what you want, and they may speak up for you themselves, if you ask them to
  • understand your rights and the choices that you have
  • make a decision yourself and tell people what your decision is

Advocates are independent. They are not connected to the carers or to the services which are involved in supporting you.

2 people talkingAn advocate will always:

  • Be on your side
  • Listen to what you want
  • Make sure people listen to you

An advocate can work with you to:

  • Speak out at meetings or to professionals
  • Find information so you can make choices and sort out problems
  • Change your services if you want to
  • Know about your rights and make sure they are respected
  • Make difficult decisions
  • Make a complaint if you are not happy about something

Who can use community advocacy?

This is a tricky question to answer because it depends very much on what your local council decides.

Community Advocacy is paid for by local councils and therefore what is offered depends on what they can afford and who they decide needs the service the most in their area.

Some councils might only offer advocacy to people who have mental health illnesses and who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Others might offer it to a whole range of people, including those with:

  • Mental health illness
  • Dementia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Autistic Spectrum conditions
  • Visual or Hearing Impairments
  • Acquired Brain Injuries
  • Substance Misuse 
  • Looked After Children (Factsheet below)
  • Young People moving to adult services

You can find out what is being offered in your local area by visiting your local pages.