Funding boost for service

Peter Gowland
Peter Gowland

VOLUNTARY sector bosses are encouraging people to take advantage of free advocacy training.

Officials at Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency (HVDA) say they are delighted to announce an award from the Santander Foundation of £3,000 for advocacy training for residents of the former Stranton ward in Hartlepool.

The training, to be delivered by GATACS, the Generic Advocacy, Training and Consultancy Group, will be accredited and is free – allowing people to gain a valuable qualification which is highly useful in the work place.

Organisers say once trained, volunteers will then be far better prepared to help those most in need in the community to voice their needs and concerns.

The new training session is due to run from January 14 next year at the Epilepsy Outlook office, in York Road, Hartlepool.

Peter Gowland, of HVDA, said: “Advocacy is a powerful tool in enabling and empowering those who might struggle to be heard.

For example, disabled people, the elderly, those with a dependency problem, teenagers and so on.

“GATACS CIC (Community Interest Company) is a highly experienced local advocacy organisation and is already working in the Stranton area.

“The much-appreciated award from the Santander Foundation, who have also kindly funded HVDA in the past, will be used to build on this work.

“The great thing is that the training is free.

“Once trained, volunteers will then be far better prepared to help those most in need in the community to voice their needs and concerns.”

The training will be done on a group of six residents and will be verified by the Open Network North East Region.

Examples of advocacy support include:

l Helping an older carer whose partner lacks capacity and resides in a nursing home;

l Parents feeling they need support confronting the NHS regarding the health of their child;

l Negotiating on behalf of a widow who has continued to receive letters addressed to her dead husband from an organisation even though she informed them of her situation.

For more information call Peter Gowland on (01429) 262641 or email: p.gowland@hvda.co.uk