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Journal article

The best things in life are free: community-powered advocacy

Author:
WIGHTMAN Clare
Journal article citation:
Working with Older People, 17(1), 2013, pp.25-31.
Publisher:
Emerald

Purpose – This is an opinion piece about exploring fresh approaches to advocacy for older and disabled people. The purpose of the paper is to suggest a new role for professional advocates. Professional advocacy help can be an important first step to a stronger life or it can be a revolving door. It makes all the difference when we've got people around us who can help us to get over problems, and not feel we're stuck on our own. But most users of services have no one whom they can turn to when things get tough for them. What if we designed advocacy services so they acted on the causes of demand for advocacy, rather than delivered a number of advocacy transactions? Design/methodology/approach – This article uses the experiences of Grapevine in Coventry and draws on the findings of a project conducted with advocacy organisations in the Midlands and South East, many of whom felt that professional advocacy was not getting to the root of the problem. Findings – Advocacy practice is about being a corrective to failures in other services and an intermediary between service users and providers. It can be very vulnerable at times to being seen as an “add-on” of unproven value. Practical implications – The article asks practitioners to consider the new role advocates might play in developing and connecting networks of local people for mutual help and support. This “community-powered” advocacy could provide effective root cause help and protect the sector's legitimacy during unprecedented financial austerity. Originality/value – The paper is of value to practitioners and commissioners of advocacy services.

Book Full text available online for free

Connecting people: the steps to making it happen

Author:
WIGHTMAN Clare
Publisher:
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
Publication year:
2009
Pagination:
17p., DVD
Place of publication:
London

This report concerns people with higher support needs, whose treatment, it says, is scandalous. It discusses connecting with people, why building relationships matters, getting the basics right, knowing what community connecting looks like, ending with tips for connectors on asking.

Journal article

Connecting people: experiences from Grapevine

Author:
WIGHTMAN Clare
Journal article citation:
Learning Disability Today, 8(1), February 2008, pp.28-33.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

Grapevine is a charity run in partnership with people with learning disabilities. This article describes how they work to engage ordinary people to care about, respect and enjoy knowing someone with a learning disability.

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