For Advocacy Awareness week, we have been reaching out to members of the advocacy community to hear from them first-hand about; what they do, what it means to them, and what advocacy delivers for the people that they work with.
This is Juanita Williams, an Independent Advocate @SandwellAdvocacy. She works with young carers, those struggling with mental health, and older people. Here in her own words is how she describes advocacy to those she works with.
“Sometimes we are not strong. Not all of the time – a lot of the time we can be strong or even very strong. But sometimes we need someone to do something for us. We need someone to say to us “do you want me to do that for you?”. And we need to feel able to say “yes”.
It could be something as simple as, “I need to speak to that person – but I don’t know what to say. Could you do that for me?”.
I don’t tell people what to do or give them advice – you can’t force people. And their choices are really none of my business. It’s their life. And they’ve got to know that they have made the right decisions for them.”
Here at Together, we believe that now, more than ever, there is a great and growing need for more people like wonderful, kind, Juanita, to listen and help others act upon their choices. Find out more about the roles of advocates in your community here: http://opaal.org.uk/locations/