Mary is on a mission to train advocates

Mary Diver.
Mary Diver.

MARY Diver is a woman on a mission – to help other people boost their own communications skills.

The Hartlepool woman runs a service which is unique in the North-East.

She received the first block training grant from Hartlepool New Deal for Communities (NDC) which helped her to complete a Diploma and Teachers Training Course in Advocacy.

After working for Hartlepool Carers and delivering a training program in advocacy, Mary decided to start her own business GATACS (Generic Advocacy Training and Consultancy Service) and designed two unique courses that were supported by the Open College Network.

That was six years ago and she is now planning to do more advocacy training in September.

She wants to run courses at the Central Library and said: “I did my training and I went on courses so that I would be able to pass on that knowledge and skills to other people. You need to know exactly what you are doing so that you can support people appropriately.

“The more I deliver the training, the more I realise there is a great need for advocacy services in Hartlepool.”

As well as the training programme, Mary has also set up a separate organisation. She has formed a Community Interest Company which will identify the gaps in the advocacy service being offered in Hartlepool.

She said: “I went to Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency and we set up a consultation meeting in November with the local authority and the voluntary sector. The outcome was that, to be able to prove there was a need for advocacy services, we needed a mapping exercise.”

Mary’s organisation is now a recognised training centre which operates from venues across the country, ranging from Wolverhampton to Sunderland and points in Hartlepool.

A four-day accredited training event will be held in level 1 and 2 advocacy and advocacy skills from 9am to 5pm from Monday, September 5, to Thursday, September 8, at Epilepsy Outlook, 199 York Road, Hartlepool TS26 9EF.

A three-day accredited event in level 3 advocacy and advocacy skills is planned in Wolverhampton on a date to be fixed later in September.

Details on these and other courses are available by contacting Mary at