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Unpaid Carers advocacy

Unpaid Carers advocacy is for people who are aged 18 or over, who are caring for an eligible adult or child.

Does someone in your family need support with their health and care? Do you live with someone, and help them with everyday tasks?

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a carer, you’re entitled to support.

What support can an advocate provide?

An advocate can support you and the person you care for to have your rights upheld. That might mean support with:

  • Guardianships
  • Mental Health Act tribunals
  • Communicating with health and social care professionals, including by letter and at meetings
  • Making a complaint, for example about a care provider, a care package, direct payments or healthcare
  • Housing
  • Resolving problems
  • Signposting to other services

You can access advocacy without the role of carer’ defining you. You’re not alone, you don’t have to be alone.

Greig, unpaid carers advocate

Who can get unpaid carers advocacy?

You need to be 18 years or older.

The person you care for must be at least one of the following:

  • they are subject to the Adult Support and Protection Act
  • they have a mental health condition, or a substance use issue
  • they have a learning disability or they are autistic
  • they have a diagnosis of dementia, physical disability, sensory impairment, or an acquired brain injury
  • they are a child or young person receiving services from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

VoiceAbility provides unpaid carers advocacy when the person you care for lives within the City of Edinburgh. Another organisation will provide this kind of advocacy if they live somewhere else.

Who can refer an unpaid carer for advocacy support?

You can refer yourself.

A friend or family member can make a referral.

Professionals such as care workers, social workers and health professionals can also make referrals.

Find out more at a drop-in session

Meet an advocate to chat about your situation, and find out what support is available. You don’t need to make an appointment.

When: Wednesdays weekly 10am - 12pm

Where: The Salvation Army, 36 Wardieburn Drive, Edinburgh, EH5 1BZ

When: Wednesdays weekly 10am - 12pm

Where: Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Place, Edinburgh, EH10 5HF

When: First Thursday of every month, 10.30am - 12.30pm

Where: Food Facts Friends Community Pantry, 42 John Street, Penicuik, EH26 8AB

When: Second Tuesday of every month, 10am - 12pm

Where: Loanhead Library, The Loanhead Centre, George Street, Loanhead, EH20 9LA

When: Wednesdays weekly 9.30am - 11.30am

Where: Ayton Community Hall, High St, Ayton, TD14 5QL

When: First Thursday of the month, 10am - 12pm

Where: Oxgangs Library, 343 Oxgangs Road North, Edinburgh, EH13 9LY

When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays weekly 10am - 4pm

Where: Wester Hailes Job Centre, Murrayburn House, Westside Plaza, Wester Hailes Road, Edinburgh, EH14 2SP

When: First Tuesday of the month, 10am - 12pm

Where: Dalkeith Library, 1 White Hart Street, Dalkeith, EH22 1AE

When: Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 1.30pm - 4pm

Where: Eyemouth Job Centre, Upper Houndlaw, Eyemouth TD14 5BS

When: Second and fourth Fridays of the month, 1pm - 3pm

Where: Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 4DP

When: Tuesdays weekly, 9am - 10am

Where: Coldstream Community Larder Church Hall, Coldstream Parish Church, High Street, Coldstream, TD12 4DH

When: Fridays weekly, 10am - 4pm

Where: The Thistle Foundation, Centre of Wellbeing, 13 Queen’s Walk, Edinburgh, EH16 4EA

When: Third Wednesday of every month, 9am - 11am

Where: Craigmillar Medical Practice, Niddrie Mains Rd, Edinburgh, EH16 4DT

Upcoming events

On Wednesday 5 June, 10am-12pm, we’re hosting an in person session - to allow people to look at the issues that matter most to them and to discuss the actions that have come out of the plan.

The session will be held at John Muir House in Haddington, EH41 3HA. Tea, coffee and refreshments will be provided.

We will be consulting on the Plan’s 4 key outcomes:

  • Good jobs that pay fairly
  • Enough money from benefits
  • Cost of living support
  • Climate change ready

For any questions please contact Lucy Higginson:
Email: lhigginson@eastlothian.gov.uk

To find out more, download our #HaveYourSay East Lothian Poverty Plan 2024 - 2027


On Thursday 6 June, 2pm-4pm, we’re holding a group advocacy welfare session — in partnership with the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry’s Let’s Be Heard team — to hear about people’s experiences during 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022.

The session will be held in the Café Annex at the Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 4DP. Tea and coffee will be provided.

We would like you to join us to hear about your experiences in relation to:

  • Access to food and support, including food packages for those who were shielding, and provision and delivery of food
  • General welfare support: what support did you receive and did it meet your needs?
  • Fuel poverty
  • Housing and homelessness

Your feedback will be anonymously shared with the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry’s Let’s Be Heard team, the Scottish Government and the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership.

If you would like to be involved, please email groupadvocacyscotland@voiceability.org or call 0300 303 1660.

Feedback and complaints

VoiceAbility provides unpaid carers advocacy in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership.

Who do I contact if I want to make a complaint?

You can access the Council’s complaints process and contact the Social Work Advice and Complaints Service by email on socialwork.complaints@edinburgh.gov.uk.

You can also contact them by telephone on 0131 553 8395.