Our Advocates make a positive difference in vulnerable people’s lives in central Fife

The Advocate

VS has become a very important person in her Advocate partners’ life. They meet on a weekly basis and talk and talk and talk. They also do a lot of laughing together which helps both cope with the ups and downs of life.

VS has had some down moments in her life and her spirits are always lifted when she meets with her Advocate partner.

VS feels their meeting was meant to be and although she doesn’t open her heart to many people she says her Advocate partner has a place in her heart forever.

VS has inspired her Advocate partner to make changes in her life that have held her back for a long time. From encouraging her partner to decorate to taking care of her mental and physical health.

VS has introduced her partner to various clubs and training courses as well as attending some very daunting meetings to support her partner and ensure her voice was heard.

VS has shown passion, empathy and kindness in abundance from the start of the partnership. All our volunteers are fantastic and there is no monetary award however knowing the change they make in their partners life and how they can help a vulnerable person in their Community is a great feeling.

The Partner

Equal Voice were asked to meet with a young man (JP) to discuss advocacy and how an Advocate might help him.

We met with him and discussed what he would like out of an advocate, what his hobbies are, and what his hopes are for the future. JP is quite a shy person and is looking for someone that can help him get out and about socially and help build his confidence. JP is looking for work and finding this difficult. We explained we hoped we could find the right person for him and that this could take time.

Although it may take time to find the right person we feel it is important to involve our partners in Equal Voice as much as we can such as inviting our partners to the AGM.

We try to make our AGM as fun for our partners and advocates as we can and ensure they are involved so JP was asked to join our drama group and was invited to the rehearsals for the Forum Theatre and the Thriller dance we wanted to perform.

Our rehearsals were fun and full of laughter due to the talents of all who participated.

JP acted out his role like a true thespian and performed his part in Thriller particularly well.

The best part was when JP told Equal Voice “I didn’t know I could dance”, he was delighted and proud of his achievements.

Equal Voice have assisted JP to further his abilities and skills and feel much less socially isolated.

JP is looking forward to the next event and hoping we can match him with a citizen’s advocate soon.

Having fun

TP was introduced to her new advocate JT in May 2018. TP was initially a wee bit shy but after several joint meetings at a local café a really good rapport began to evolve between them and soon telephone numbers were swapped.

Both like to talk about life in general and to listen each other’s experiences, they enjoy similar interests in movies and T.V.

They both meet regularly and both speak about how they end up in fits of giggles when out together, they have a similar sense of humour.

TP had requested an advocate who could understand her needs and listen to her hopes and fears.

TP has been able to open up to JT and although they enjoy shopping, having a cuppa together and having a laugh JT has been encouraging TP to discuss more serious issues.

With our support JT was able to assist TP to engage with Citizens Advice regarding money issues and attended appointments with her.

JT encouraged TP to attend various events such as our Yoga session and TP is now looking to start going on a regular basis closer to home. TP feels she has someone she can speak to about her problems who understands her without judging and feels less socially isolated.

The Partnership

The Partner

JS who is a young person with learning difficulties and Autism first found out about Citizen Advocacy through his Occupational Therapy Support worker.

We met with him at his house and explained to him and his Father about who we were and what we do.

JS’s dad helped him to tell us his story of how JS struggles with social anxiety and very rarely leaves the house.

JS said that he would like an Advocate who would help him to get out and to learn to use public transport so he could maybe go the shop himself and have the confidence to ask for what he would like. He also said that he would like to help animals. JS said he would prefer a female advocate who had similar interests to himself such as video games and Marvel films.

We explained it may take some time and we would place him on our referral list and keep in touch to let him know when we had identified a Volunteer who may be suitable.

The Advocate

We received an enquiry from a Lady who wanted to find out about becoming a Citizen Advocate and had picked one of our Volunteering information leaflets at her college.

We arranged to meet up with her at a local café to have an informal chat. Due to ill health she was at present unable to work but would like to volunteer to help represent a vulnerable person to feel heard and supported. DM also felt that Volunteering would help her to keep up her skills and support her with her college course work. Her son also had learning difficulties and she hoped that someone would one day volunteer to Advocate for her son if he needed.

She told me that she loved Marvel films and cartoons! And I immediately thought of JS

We helped her to fill out a PVG form and an application form and agreed to meet up when these were finalised to look at a date to attend our preparation course and to discuss what she felt was a good Advocacy partner to match her with.

The Partnership

JS & DM were introduced to each other at a local café where JS had been before with the help of his OT support worker over the previous weeks, he had been working towards being able to walk there and being able to sit in the café and not feel too anxious.

JS & DM were immediately comfortable with each other and had a conversation about the latest Marvel film. DM asked JS if he would like to go to the cinema to see it and he said he would but didn’t think his anxiety would make it possible and so the planning began...