From Monday 21 October – Friday 1 November, we are celebrating Advocacy Awareness Week (AAW19) looking at the power and impact that all types of advocacy have on people’s lives.
Here at Surrey Choices, we strive to ensure every individual we support has the opportunity to voice their opinion and be heard. Across Surrey, our activity centres have a variety of advocacy groups which are lead by those we support who chair meetings, create agendas, feedback information from the groups to other individuals we support across the county as well as share their views.
Some of the people we support in Redhill, through the support of the Redhill Office Project have been working together to create a customer-centred advocacy group who meet every Friday at the Redhill Library. The group was started to enable those we support to come together on a weekly basis to discuss a variety of topics including news about Surrey Choices, things they would like to do in the future, reporting any complaints or compliments, and generally sharing of information between each other. The meetings are an opportunity for everyone involved to gain experience in terms of socialising and acting as champions for others using the service. The group has a weekly agenda which they put together before meeting, allowing everyone to think about what topics need to be discussed and ensure they stay on track during the meetings.
Speaking with the group, each of them explained why the advocacy group is important to them:
“I wanted to join to have experience to learn new things and help other people around Surrey Choices. Each meeting is a new challenging experience and involves lots of socialising and learning from each other. It makes you feel good in yourself and you can go home with a smile on your face.” – David
“I like being in the advocacy group as I am able to speak up for myself and for other people.” – Ann
“We meet at the library which is great because we are able to get out more into the community as well as try something new.” – Robert