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Reflecting on a successful 2016

We started 2017 on a high, still motivated by the successes of last year in which the team celebrated being re-awarded the Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM) and being crowned ‘Outstanding Service’ at the National Advocacy Awards.
Taking a moment to reflect on the year as a whole, we are proud to have supported almost 3,000 individuals, an increase of 15% on 2015, during a time when we moved to larger premises in Accrington with a 25% expansion in office space and our team of Independent Advocates grew by 62%.

We have sadly said goodbye for now to our Service Delivery Director, Katrina Kelly, who is taking a year’s sabbatical, but she will soon be back to champion advocacy in the passionate way we all know. We also look forward to welcoming even more Advocates to our team for what will undoubtedly be a busy yet rewarding year. 

Justine & John

2016 in numbers

New Literature Available

We are pleased to announce the launch of a whole range of support literature for both service users and professionals.

Professionals Leaflet

Advocacy can be a complex area to understand. This compact booklet outlines each area of advocacy we support and highlights the specifics of what an Independent Advocate will do in each strand.

Service User Flyer

We have streamlined the information we give to people using our
service, into one leave-behind leaflet showing; who their advocate is
and how to contact them, complete with an identifiable picture.

Easy Read Literature

We have created Easy Read literature for the different strands of advocacy, designed to be easy to understand and accessible for all. They are also useful for people interested in the welfare of an individual receiving advocacy, such as family, friends or carers.

To download the literature as a pdf, click here:
To request copies of our printed Professionals leaflet, please email

Easy Read Literature Self-Help Pack - Complaints 

As part of our Health and Social care Complaints Advocacy service, we have developed Self-Help Packs to aid those wishing to make a complaint about the NHS or Social Service providers independently. The handy guide includes a fact sheet on ‘How to write a complaint etter’ with a template example and details of the preparation required, including a ‘log for phone calls or correspondence.’

To request a copy of the self-help complaints pack, please email

Championing Dignity Action Day – 1st February
Dignity Action Day #DAD2017 is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers to uphold people's rights to dignity. As this is a topic close to our hearts, our Independent Advocate, Bernadette became our Dignity Champion and has committed to ensuring that our team and organisation uphold the 10 Dignity Do's.

To read more about the 10 Dignity Do's, please click here:

Dying Matters – 1st February
Our Independent Advocate, Maureen, attended the Dying Matters launch event. The event was in support of working together within our communities to discuss the often taboo subject of an individual’s wishes on passing away.  The day was highly thought provoking and as an organisation we have made a commitment to be involved in Dignity in Dying week 8th-14th May.

Time to Talk Day – 2nd February
Mental Health was the workplace topic of conversation at our ‘Tea and Talk’ event to mark the National ‘Time to Talk’ Day. The two-hour, lunchtime event held for staff and volunteers was part of a nation-wide push to get people talking more openly about mental health.  Our commitment to the ‘Time to Change’ pledge and our openness about mental health was commended by the local press and Justine our CEO, was aired talking about the topic on local 2BR radio as a news item. We also featured in the Accrington Observer and the local Herald.

To read more about our Time to Talk event, please click here:

New shorter Fundraising website link

We have a new shorter website address for people wishing to donate to us:

It is a bit easier to remember than the former but this link will remain working.

We fundraise to widen the scope of activities we can undertake, broader than our statutory obligations with Local Authorities. We have some exciting initiatives planned in the coming months, so watch this space.

We use Localgiving as our donation mechanism as it is also a charity and does not make profits from the collection service.

To donate to Advocacy Focus, please click here:

Advocacy Focus is proud to be a member of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce which further embeds our organisation into the fabric of Lancashire, where we have been proudly based for over 19 years. Membership allows us to network with other charities and businesses in Lancashire, providing channels to reach both new partners and most importantly, a wider range of service users.  

ABCD Award Winners

Winners of the Advocacy Focus, ‘Above and Beyond the Call of Duty’ Award are nominated by their colleagues for a consistent high level of teamwork and service development.

Congratulations go out to our two recent winners, Lauren Lovelace, Volunteer Manager and Siobhain Stones, Independent Advocate on the Care Act Team.

  • Lauren manages our wide team of skilled volunteers and has successfully increased the size of the team by 50% in the last year. One of our Volunteers said of Lauren, “I feel fortunate and proud to be part of a well-established and dedicated organisation with a supportive Volunteer Manager who is able to meet my needs and is constantly sourcing new opportunities for my involvement. In return this makes me feel respected and included as a valued member of the team."
  • Siobhain is our Prison Champion, as under the Care Act 2014, Advocacy support is an entitlement for those who have an eligible care and support need during their imprisonment. There are 5 prisons across Lancashire and Siobhain has been instrumental in developing robust procedures to allow Independent Advocates to visit inmates and provide advocacy in relation to needs assessments and care reviews.
Welcome to the Team!
New Independent Advocates:

Our team are trained across all advocacy strands, whilst retaining a specialism.  This ensures that we have skilled and knowledgeable team members in the core areas, whom can offer continuity of advocacy for the people we work with.  In early 2017 we offered a warm welcome to the following team members:
  • Katie McFadden – Care Act
  • Becky Lancaster – Care Act
  • Leanne Catterall – IMCA
  • Melanie Passerini – IMCA
  • Claire Waddington – IMCA
Special mentions go to:
  • Tara Whitehead – IMCA,  who we welcome back to the team following her Social Work student placement as IMHA and,
  • Tanita Pemberton-Hill – IMHA, who is newly promoted from her current role as IMHA Casework Administrator.

New Volunteers:

This quarter we have trained and inducted 11 new fantastic volunteers, widening our reach across Lancashire and allowing us to provide extra support to our service users. Our volunteers will be helping us with a variety of tasks such as facilitating drop-ins on hospital wards and hosting service user forums at a variety of locations.

  • Dave Thompson
  • Emma Cornah
  • Emma Houston
  • Joey French
  • Naveed Mohammed
  • Chloe Semwayo
  • Chloe Stirzaker
  • Sarah Simpson
  • Ryan Sparkes
  • Lily Orme
  • Christina Foster

Why we do what we do!

This heart-warming thank-you card was well-received:

“Dear Aimee, It is extremely hard for me to summarise how thankful and appreciative I am for the time, support and understanding you have given us over the past year (and more).

I feel, at times you have gone out of your way to meet our needs and have attempted to fight this battle on our behalf, I wish there were more people in the world like you.”

Thank you for reading our newsletter, The Advocacy Focus team!
Copyright © 2017 Advocacy Focus, All rights reserved.

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