In 2006 the Independent Personal Advocacy Service was developed as part of an initiative to support the development of advocacy services in the community and voluntary sectors in Ireland.
The project is run by Inclusion Ireland in partnership with two residential services that have agreed to act as pilot sites for the duration of the advocacy project until 2010-The two locations are Moore Abbey, the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary Services in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, and St Joseph’s Intellectual disability service in Portrane, Co. Dublin.
The project is funded by the Citizens Information Board and has now been running successfully since the beginning of 2006. Under the project Inclusion Ireland, who are the lead agency for the Independent Personal Advocacy Service, employs an advocate (Gerald Mac Cann) to act as a personal advocate to the service users in the two locations. The personal advocate enables service users with an intellectual disability to identify their needs and facilitate choices; he ensures that the service users’ wishes are heard and acted upon. The advocate works with persons with intellectual disabilities to make things that they want happen or change. The personal advocate helps people with disabilities make their own choices and take more control of their lives.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy means to speak up for someone. Most of us at some time need someone to speak up for us when we need support. This is particularly the case for people with a learning disability because they are at risk of being ignored. Advocacy is about facilitating the person with a disability to make their voice heard, listened to and answered, and to help them can gain control of their life.
Sometimes spoken communication is difficult; in this case the advocate will facilitate their needs and wishes through other alternative methods of communication, or through a process of ‘non-instructed advocacy’, if the person has no communication at all.
For more information please contact Gerald Mac Cann, Advocacy Officer, at Inclusion Ireland. Tel: 01-8559891; email firstname.lastname@example.org.