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  • Writer's pictureDisability Assist

Our Services Explained: Advocacy

Updated: Feb 1

Disability Assist has always believed in the importance of empowering our clients.  Our range of free and confidential services are aimed at ensuring physically disabled people have our voices heard and this is a concept that is central to the advocacy service that we offer in collaboration with The Advocacy People, an independent charity.  Our core mission is to empower you, helping you to communicate your thoughts, concerns, and wishes to organisations independently and supporting you to make informed decisions and to take more control in decisions about your life.

 

There are four main forms of independent advocacy and Disability Assist can help with Community Advocacy.  The other types are NHS/Health Complaints Advocacy, Care Act Advocacy and Mental Capacity Advocacy.

 

Disability Assist's Community Advocacy service plays a crucial role in supporting physically disabled individuals who may face challenges with accessing services or feeling unheard. Advocates, however, are limited to assisting Kent residents with issues with services which are funded by public money.  We cannot address matters involving private organizations such as utilities, family or friends, legal actions or finances.


Understanding the Advocacy Process

 

Advocacy at Disability Assist can assist with one issue at a time, providing you with free support for a limited period of up to 8 hours. Navigating our advocacy services is a straightforward process. Our information officers are here to assist you and can be reached via phone or email to discuss the nature of your query. With your permission, our officers can then make an onward referral to the most appropriate Advocate.

On receipt of the referral, the Advocate will establish which service the client wishes to communicate with, what decision or information is required, who will make the decision or provide the answers and what outcome you are seeking as the client. 

Some examples of the types of community advocacy we have provided include the following, where we have written to on behalf of clients:

 

  • Local Council – to appeal a decision on a dropped kerb

  • Environmental Health – regarding blocked drains causing flooding into a property

  • Housing Association - to follow up on status of adaptation works recommended by an OT

  • Adult Social Services – to raise a formal complaint

  • Kent Wheelchair Service – to obtain an update on the status of a referral

  • PALS – to follow up on the outcome of an appointment and results

  • GP Surgery – regarding alternative means of making an appointment, request a referral, request process and assistance to register with surgery

 

Whilst every effort is made for a favourable outcome, Advocates do not have control of the outcome and cannot guarantee resolution.

 

However, Disability Assist's success stories are testament to the positive impact of our approach.  Clients appreciate the empathetic and understanding nature of our Advocates, who assist them in expressing thoughts and concerns they might otherwise struggle to convey.  Our commitment to listening and advocating for our clients is reflected in the heartfelt feedback we have received.

 

 Case Study

 

A recent case study highlights the transformative impact Disability Assist can have on individuals' lives.

 

Our client was experiencing repeated incidents of flooding to her home with every heavy rainfall, which caused damage to her property and possessions and put her health at risk.  Our Advocate helped to draft letters to Environmental Health, the local borough council, and KCC Highways.  The client was able to use that letter to send to her water provider, since we are not allowed to communicate to private companies. With the help of our Advocate, the client was able to get some positive results. 

 

Environmental Health visited and unblocked the water drains along their road, Housing services apologised and reprimanded the call handlers, who should have escalated the issues for review so that they could have made the necessary arrangements for the client. 

 

An inspector also visited the property and conducted a thorough review of their home and navigation difficulties due to the client’s disabilities. Adaptations and renovations were planned and agreed with an OT to resolve a leak in their kitchen, while a ramp was fitted to allow access to back garden.

 

Our client expressed gratitude for the help we provided and the positive changes that came as a result of the letters, noting the significant improvement in her overall well-being.  While she had previously felt lost, working with our Advocate to reach a successful outcome has now helped her to feel like a heavy weight has been lifted.  She also feels more confident on how to contact relevant departments on these issues in the future. 

 

Another recent email from a client highlighted the appreciation for our Advocate's time, effort, and outstanding job in resolving issues on their behalf:

“Thank you for taking the time to talk me through things yesterday. I can confirm that I have now decided to accept their apology so you can close the complaint. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for your time and effort in dealing with this on my behalf.  You have been an amazing help and done a fantastic job, so thank you.”

 

Disability Assist's advocacy services, in collaboration with The Advocacy People, are a lifeline for individuals seeking a voice in various aspects of their lives. Through the unwavering efforts of our dedicated Advocates, we continue to empower clients, ensuring they are not only heard but supported in navigating life's challenges. In the words of our client, we're not just Advocates; we are an "amazing help" in making a real and lasting impact.

 

If you find yourself in need of advocacy support, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to listen, understand, and stand by your side.



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