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 PRESS RELEASE:  20 June 2017

CITIZEN ADVOCACY PROJECT: 2017 - 2022

Angus Independent Advocacy (AIA) have been successful in obtaining funding from The Big Lottery Fund, Angus Health and Social Care Partnership and Henry Duncan Awards to continue and expand our Citizen Advocacy Project over the next five years.  

The Big Lottery has supported the development of Citizen Advocacy across Angus since 2012, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to the resource which has supported over 80 local people to date.  We are also delighted that the positive impact of citizen advocacy has been recognised locally by the Health & Social Care Partnership and that Henry Duncan Awards have chosen to invest in the project. 

The Citizen Advocacy Project can support Angus residents aged 26+ who are struggling to have their voice heard and are feeling socially isolated who also have: 

  • a learning disability 
  • mental ill health  
  • an acquired brain injury 
  • dementia, or
  • are an older person.  

Citizen advocacy is a powerful tool in empowering local people to support members of their community in a preventative and natural way. Both Citizen Advocate and Advocacy Partner benefit from connecting with someone new, whilst the project also offers learning opportunities for the wider community around issues of social isolation and discrimination.   

Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Angus Independent Advocacy has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Angus Independent Advocacy every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.” 

If anyone wishes to find out more about any aspect of the Citizen Advocacy Project please get in touch with the AIA office on 01241 434413, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit our website www.angusindadvocacy.org.  

Heather MacMaster 

Senior Citizen Advocacy Development Worker 

The Citizen Advocacy Subgroup who worked alongside Suzanne Swinton (Executive Director) to secure the funding.

Citizen Advocacy Subgroup June 2017 cropped

Front row (left to right) - Heather MacMaster, Derek Stewart and Christine Landsburgh

Back row (left to right) - Robin Ross and Bill Reid 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015/16 AGM Report and Annual Accounts

You can now download a copy of our latest Annual Accounts, which have been registered with OSCR, and our AGM Report.

 

Citizen Advocacy - Canine Connections

When we match 2 people in a citizen advocacy partnership, we can never say how the relationship will evolve.  The intention behind the long-term advocacy can be seen as being twofold; to give people a voice and to help individuals to connect (or reconnect) with their local community.  A by-product of this is that the social circle of both parties may expand as each is introduced to members of the other's circle.  Recently I have become aware that creatures of the furry 4-legged variety have wormed their way into the social circles of partners in some of the partnerships I have facilitated.

CA Team and Hamish Summer BBQ

As a dog lover myself, this delights me!  Having spent virtually all of my life with canine companions, I love dogs and enjoy any opportunity to speak about my own doggy, Liathach.  Fortunately a good number of the AIA team also have dogs, and office tea time conversation often turns to this topic.  Anyone who has been to our summer BBQ will be aware that we have adopted Jackie's dog, Hamish, as our Citizen Advocacy mascot!  He even has his own one-page profile on our staff 'hall of fame'.

Dog lover or not, most of us are now aware of the therapeutic benefits that animals bring to us humans.  However, in recent years there has been much more evidence to back up the assertion that spending time with a pet is good for not only our physical, but also our mental, health and wellbeing.  In particular, there is growing support for the benefits that pets (dogs in particular) bring to individuals who don't use words to communicate.  I find that it is commonplace to see dogs in care home environments, for example.  To see the expressions on the faces of some of the residents is testament to the nation of "pet therapy".

We view citizen advocacy as a reciprocal relationship which places value on and offers mutual benefits to both parties; hence the term "partnership".  The Five Dimentions of Inclusion (John O'Brien) very much underpin the work we do within the long-term project; with a focus on the gifts of individuals and promotion of opportunities to 'be someone', 'belong' and 'contribute'.  It would appear that these principles extend to the relationship between some of our advocacy partners and their new canine friends.

One partner loves being able to fuss and spoil his Advocate's dog when he visits, and I don't know of too many dogs who don't like to be showered with affection and an endless supply of biscuits!  Our Citizen Advocates have also seen the benefits - in one partnership the presence of the dog seems to have helped the partner relax and communicate more freely, which has in turn helped with the development of the citizen advocacy relationship.  The only slight downside to this is that the partner is now often more excited to see the dog than their Citizen Advocate!

I realise I've been a bit dog-biased here, but only because my experience of partnerships and pets has been with dogs.  However, we have also heard of partnerships sharing their love of other animals, such as cats.  In our Preparation Course we stress the importance of Citizen Advocates tapping into their own support/social networks - perhaps we need to mention that these may well extend beyond the obvious human connections!

Published on Facebook by Heather MacMaster · 15 June ·

 

Bingo Tea Fundraiser

Our Bingo Tea on 18 May was a great success, and we raised £350.  Many thanks to those who supported us and donated bingo/raffle prizes.

 

Citizen Advocacy - Reflections on Presence and Imprints

Sadly, we have lost 2 of our long-term citizen advocacy partners in the past few months.  Both had been matched up in citizen advocacy partnerships for a number of years and were well respected, not only by their Citizen Advocates, but by the wider AIA community.  In offering support to the advocates, I have been humbled by the ordinary and reciprocal nature of the citizen advocacy relationship.  Often our advocacy partners are surrounded by people who see them primarily for their vulnerability and not for their gifts and talents.  As such, these relationships are unequal and not ordinary.

Whilst citizen advocacy stands aside from befriending, in many cases it is inevitable that a friendship arises out of a partnership as it is built upon equality and trust. For this reason, people are matched up very carefully with each individual's personality, gifts and interests being taken into consideration when recruiting the ideal advocate. The matching process very much centres on both parties getting to know one another, not just focusing on any issues that the partner might have.

It did not, therefore, come as a surprise to me when both advocates expressed the sense of loss they felt following the death of their advocacy partner, with one saying that they had been a "huge part of my life".  It really struck me when sharing memories of the partnerships that in each case genuine and lasting friendships had been formed.  Whilst advocates often stand alongside their advocacy partners through challenging times, this isn't usually what imprints most upon either advocate or partner.  It is the ordinary aspect of the relationship; listening and talking to each other, sharing experiences, laughing together and above all else just being there, which shines through time and time again.

I was reminded of something Judith Snow said about presence:

"Our presence is the fundamental gift that we bring to the human community. Presence is the foundation

of all other opportunities and interactions, of everything that is meaningful".

So, this post is a little nod to presence and a huge thank you to all of our wonderful Citizen Advocates, but especially to the 2 advocates mentioned in this post.  I know that you left as much of an imprint on the lives of your partners are they did on yours.

Published on Facebook by Heather MacMaster · 9 March ·

 

AGM Report and Annual Accounts

AIA held its AGM on Tuesday 6 October.  You can download a copy of our AGM Report and Annual Accounts here.

 

Talking Recovery Training - Creating Communication Champions for Mental Health Services

Creating Communication ChampionsOur team of 'Communication Champions' completed their 10 week course today. The training focused on thinking about how we communicate with people suffering from mental health illness and explored the use of different communication tools to allow for more effective communication.  Everyone agreed that the training was one of the best they had attended and have already starting putting into practice some of the tips they picked up along the way.

Here they are showing off their certificates with trainer Susan Munro (NHS Tayside).  From left: Robin, Fiona, Susan, Heather and Christine.

AIA on Facebook

Contact Details

Angus Independent Advocacy

60 High Street, Arbroath

Angus  DD11 1AW

 

Tel:  01241 434413 

Text:  07724 814437

Fax: 01241 437968

Email: Click Here

 

Funding Partners

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