New citizen advocacy service in Cheshire Ireland

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Mission—Supporting people to speak up, stand together and make change happen themselves

Citizen advocacy is when one person makes a long-term commitment to the rights of another who finds him/herself devalued, disadvantaged, or socially excluded. Citizen advocates come from all walks of life, are of all ages and bring with them a unique range of life experiences, skills and expertise—they do not replace paid professionals. They are ordinary people who have made a voluntary commitment to make a difference in one person’s life. Citizen advocates play a vital role in facilitating access for the individual to a whole range of information, representation, and natural supports. This person-centred approach helps to empower people in their choices as to how they lead their lives.

Citizen advocates can:

  • Support people to express their views and concerns
  • Support someone who has no friends or family
  • Encourage people to take control of their lives
  • Believe in someone when no one else will
  • Notice things that no one else notices
  • Take action when no one else will
  • Support people to access information and services
  • Defend someone’s rights
  • Make time to be with someone who needs support
  • Be a mentor, monitor, friend, ally or any number of other roles depending on the needs of the individual

Cheshire Ireland provides a range of supported accommodation services to people with physical disabilities and is committed to providing quality, person-centred services. With the continued support of the Citizens Information Board, the Citizen Advocacy Service is now recruiting, training and matching citizen advocateswith people living in Cheshire Ireland residential services in the Dublin area.

The Citizen Advocacy Service provides well-oriented, trained volunteer advocates to support people living in these services to speak up, express their desires, choices, needs and to exercise their rights. In order to assist us to achieve our vision we wish to recruit innovative and proactive people who will relish the opportunity to develop a one-to-one relationship with a person with a disability living in Dublin. We wish to create opportunities for people with a disability to have valued social roles in their communities and to have the chance to form real friendships. Therefore we are looking for people who care about and value other people in the community, who believe that it is wrong that people who have a disability are treated badly, valued less or ignored.

It is easy to become a citizen advocate, even if your life is busy; it is a flexible way of making a hugely fulfilling contribution to improving someone’s life. The time commitment involved will vary from person to person depending on the needs of the individual. All you need is loyalty and the right attitude.

If you would like more information about this new and pioneering advocacy initiative, or if you are interested in becoming a citizen advocate, please contact:
Charlotte Knight Citizen Advocacy Coordinator Tel: (01) 2974138, Mobile: 087-2700253 Email: charlotte.knight@cheshire.ie

Advocacy is at its core an empowering process which puts the individual at the heart of the decision-making process