Dave Bradshaw: Advocate and OPAAL Trustee shares his reflections on the value of advocacy.

We caught up with Dave Bradshaw, Leader of Sandwell Advocacy, and OPAAL Trustee, to hear from him in his own words, why independent advocacy has such an important place in the lives of older people.
Here’s what he had to say.
“I’d always been interested in community politics; I just wanted to stand up for people! And this premise is at the core of independent advocacy. I’ve just always had a real “fire in the belly” and I could never stand idly by and watch others not being treated fairly or equally. I think very often people don’t understand what they are entitled to and/or they don’t have access to the information about the things that affect their lives.
I have all too often seen services arranged at the convenience of the providers and not to the benefit of the service users. My work and the work of my team is about redressing that balance wherever we can, to make sure that people have a meaningful say in what happens to them based on real options and choices.
I feel I am immensely privileged to be involved in other people’s lives. And to have shared relationships of trust with so many inspiring and unique individuals. Advocacy isn’t about doing things for people, very often it’s about enabling people to do things for themselves, through building confidence and self-esteem. This is so that people feel ready and able to challenge those in perceived positions of power or authority. I know my work is done when someone says to me “I don’t need you now, I can take care of myself.”
We don’t think your work will ever be done Dave! Thank you for all your care and commitment. Find Dave and his team of independent advocates here: https://sandwelladvocacy.org/