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New service launched to support adults in Bolton with health, care and wellbeing

21 April 2023

Voice and rights charity VoiceAbility now provides free independent advocacy for adults as well as children in Bolton, with new services available from April 2023.

Advocacy supports Bolton people to be heard in decisions about their health, care and wellbeing.

This includes providing independent support for people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act, for people deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital, and for decisions about care and support.

Advocacy support for parents going through a child protection process is also available, as part of a new pilot.

Advocates Cara and Dawn

Advocacy in action: Josh’s story

Josh is among those to have already benefited from the independent service. The sudden death of his mother meant he was no longer allowed to see his daughter Paige, although she was used to staying with him and his mum every weekend. 

Josh is autistic and he has a learning disability. When Josh’s case went to court, his VoiceAbility advocate prepared him for what to expect, using hand-drawn diagrams to explain the different roles, and plain language notes. 

She supported him to understand what was happening, and take part in the process. When the judge decided to give Josh supervised visits with Paige, she helped him understand that this was a short-term plan while his family members were assessed, and not a final decision.

The judge described the advocacy service as invaluable’ in Josh’s case.

Advocacy for children: Taylor’s story

VoiceAbility has been providing advocacy for children and young people in Bolton for the past two years.

Taylor was referred to VoiceAbility’s children’s advocacy service after finding it difficult to adjust to being a young person in care. He felt that nobody wanted him, and that he wanted to live somewhere else, but he wasn’t being heard.

Taylor’s advocate listened to his wishes and, with his permission, shared these with his social worker and the person responsible for reviewing his care.

A week later Taylor moved home. Later, he told his advocate he was happy there and has a massive bedroom.

Amanda Mills, VoiceAbility’s operations manager for the North West and West Midlands, said:

VoiceAbility is passionate about supporting people to be heard when it matters most.

We’re delighted to build on the work we’re already doing with Bolton Council and the support networks across the area so we can reach as many people who need our services as possible.

If you think you or a friend or family member would benefit from support to be heard in decisions about health or social care, you can call us free on 0300 303 1660 or refer yourself for support on our website.”