Being an Advocate
People often ask us what it’s like to be an advocate. We explain that advocates take the time to walk in someone else’s shoes and to see the world from your viewpoint, not their own. An advocate will make sure that you are heard and that you are part of any decisions that are being made about your health and social care.
But that’s what advocates do. So that we can describe what it’s like to be an advocate, we asked our advocates to share their thoughts. In her short blog, advocate, Kate, reflects on what being an advocate feels like.
Being an Advocate feels empowering. Knowing you are making a positive impact to the person you represent.
Advocacy is a role that is completely person led. It feels so uplifting to ask someone what they want to happen, and to give that person information to make their own choices. Seeing someone problem solve for themselves is the best feeling & reward.
I love getting to know the person and hearing about their life and what they want for the future.
Sometimes we are the only people actively listening, and asking the questions needed.
It isn't always about talking, it is about observing, listening, and spending time with that person to get to know them. Offering that safe space for someone to spend moments feeling secure and not pressured.
We cannot underestimate the positive power that being empathetic, non-judgemental and having no agenda, can mean to someone who could be feeling overwhelmed and under-represented.
We all need to feel valued and heard. Advocacy is about giving someone that chance to feel they can speak up for themselves.
Life can be so fast paced and stressful. Sometimes just having someone to say, ‘I'm here for you, I am here to be your voice, how can I help you with this issue? Most importantly, I won't give up on you’ can make a world of difference.
Kate Betteridge, Advocate