Citizen Advocacy: Connecting People - Changing Lives Conference
Wednesday 21st September 2016
Rothes Halls, Glenrothes. 9.30am - 4pm
Our conference was a great success with hugely positive feedback from delegates and participants.
Include Me would like to thank everyone who participated in presentations, workshops, the panel discussion and other aspects of the day. Without their help and support, the event would not have been the success it was.
The final conference report can be read on our documents page.
The Include Me Cycle team did battle with the weather and completed the 65 mile Tour of the Kingdom Sportive in fine style if a little wet (it was too wet to get the camera out, so photo is one from a sunnier time) on 12th June 2016 to raise funds for Include Me. And have raised £200 pounds so far! We'd like to thank Dunfermline Cycling Club for being perfect hosts and their very kind support! And of course our brave riders, Ann, Vic, Al, Sheena, Julie, Pete, Graham and Carole.
To donate text INCL16 £5 or £10 to 70070 Thank You.
Include Me is now on Facebook and TwitterPlease like our facebook page or follow us on twitter @IncludeMeFife.
Award for Dunfermline AdvocacyDunfermline Advocacy has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Dunfermline Advocacy is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. Chief Executive, Rachel Annand, is delighted for the organisation and said this morning " This is a fantastic achievement for Dunfermline Advocacy and everyone involved- The Board of Trustees who volunteer their time to govern DA, the Staff Team who are fully committed to providing exceptional high quality support to our volunteer Citizen Advocates, and most importantly the people in West Fife who give their time as Citizen Advocates."
Scottish Power Hardship FundSocial Enterprise Direct (SED) would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce a new fund available to Scottish Power customers who have difficulties paying their bills due to low income. This fund, which is independently administered by SED, has been set up to help customers get their energy bill payments under control by reducing or cancelling energy debts. Applications to the Scottish Power Hardship Fund can be made via following methods: • Online at http://www.sedhardship.fund which is available 24 hours a day; • Our Freephone helpline (0808 800 0128) – lines are currently open Monday to Friday 8:30am-6pm and Saturday 10am-2pm; • We can also receive paper applications. Our helpline opening hours are subject to change depending on demand. Keep an eye out on www.socialenterprisedirect.org.uk and our Twitter page (@socialentdirect) for service updates.
SIAA: Mental Health Bill - Independent Advocacy Amendment
You will be aware that the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill is currently going through the Scottish Parliament. However, it does not make any reference to independent advocacy.
Independent advocacy is available in every NHS Board area in Scotland however findings from the SIAA Map of Advocacy across Scotland 2013-2014 edition show gaps in provision in some areas. For example there is only limited provision of independent advocacy for children and young people, this despite the fact that the Act applies to all ages. Findings also show that over 50% of independent advocacy organisations are being required by their NHS and LA Commissioners to prioritise provision for those facing compulsory measures under the terms of the Act. Organisations state that this requirement, alongside limited resources has led to lengthy waiting lists and, in some areas, people being turned away. As well as the issues with waiting lists advocacy organisations report that they are no longer able to undertake any awareness raising work which reached out to those individuals who are more isolated and ‘harder to reach’.
The SIAA Amendment
It is for these reasons that we feel that the Mental Health Bill should strengthen the duties to ensure provision of independent advocacy for all with a mental disorder. The amendment we have drafted is; The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland shall (a) Monitor the availability and accessibility of advocacy services for people with mental disorders, and (b) From time to time report to Scottish Ministers on the discharge by local authorities and NHS Boards of their responsibilities under s259 (1) Each local authority and NHS Board shall provide the Mental Welfare Commission with a report every two years, or at such other interval as Ministers shall determine, setting out how they have discharged their duties under s259 in the preceding two years, and their plans to ensure that they secure advocacy services over the next two years which will ensue that independent advocacy is available to any person with a mental disorder who requires it.
What this will mean
We believe that such scrutiny will mean that NHS Boards and LA will be accountable to the MWC about how they ensure that everyone with a mental disorder who needs independent advocacy is able to access it. The Commission will then be able to check where advocacy is available and for whom. The Advocacy Map will provide additional information around how much is spent on advocacy provision. In the long term we hope this will lead to advocacy organisations being appropriately resourced to support the people and groups who need advocacy.
Promotional Event: Byre Theatre St AndrewsOn Thursday 30th April, Include Me had a promotional stand at The Byre Theatre to link with its showing of Normal/Madness by Fiona Geddes.
Health and Social Care IntegrationAn information session on Health and Integration was held at the County Buildings in Cupar on Thursday 12th March. This was an opportunity to find out how the integration agenda was progressing and to participate in the consultation process on moving the agenda forward. The integration process continues with April next year being the date for going live across the region. Include Me will continue to attend events to ensure we can pass on relevant information to advocates and partners.
International Women's Day EventThe 7th March was International Women's day and an event celebrating this was held at Elmwood College in Cupar. Include Me had an exhibition stand/display at the event and distributed over 30 leaflets giving details of the service and information on Citizen Advocacy.
ENACTUS St Andrews Volunteer Social event.
Dundee University Volunteer Fair
Care OpinionCare Opinion Pilot Project Include Me was present at the launch of a pilot project in Fife, called “Care Opinion”, which was held in Cupar on Tuesday 20th January. Fife and Ayrshire & Arran are the two areas in Scotland chosen to be running the Pilot and, all being well, this will then be rolled out throughout the rest of Scotland. This project is a move on from the very successful “Patient Opinion” not-for profit social enterprise that was started by a G.P. 10 years ago to allow patients to give feedback on the care and treatment they receive within the NHS. Now it is the turn of those who use adult social care services to be able to give feedback on the experiences they have. Funding has been granted from the Scottish Executive initially for one year and the Project is a partnership between the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and Patient Opinion. Care Opinion (www.careopinion.org.uk ) is run as a website, which can help give a stronger voice to people who use adult social care services by providing an independent way for them to comment on their experiences. Those who wish to tell their stories are encouraged to post on-line via the website but can also take part by phone or use feedback forms and post them back if they would be more comfortable doing so. As well as offering service users the opportunity to offer their thoughts, Care Opinion will also enable staff at all levels to listen to their experiences and to respond online and show what improvements might have been made as a result. This also offers the potential for public debate and sharing of views; individuals are encouraged to be anonymous via the use of screen names. It is also, of course, stipulated that staff must be treated legally and fairly within individual stories, but any serious concerns will always be sent on to a public interest body such as the Care Inspectorate. Social care organisations are being encouraged to register with Care Opinion and introduce it at all levels within their organisation - with people using their services and with staff - and subsequently to encourage the full use of this feedback service. At Include Me we think that our Citizen Advocates are in the ideal position to be able to support their partners if/when they might wish to comment on the services they receive. Citizen Advocates are independent and will be able to offer unbiased help in the telling of personal stories. We hope to offer an information evening in the future to give more information about this important new project.
Powerfully Poetic!On 7th October 2014, the Stewardship Group took part in a "power" poetry workshop around Adult Protection issues, where group members were supported to write poems. This supports people to identify their own boundaries, to take back power, to talk in a safe space about Adult Protection issues. The group was facilitated by Lindsay MacGregor as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. All of the group enjoyed the experience and, together, produced three pieces of poetry including: Include Me Clan Cry Be ambitious, be active Be clever, be kind Be friendly, be helpful Be tidy, be healthy Be smiling, be sensible Be curious, be smart Be outstanding, be outspoken, Be political, be practical Be a baker, be an activist, Be happy, be hungry Be a fixer, be fun Be yourself Be wonderful (S,S,R,A,A)
Thank you for being a friend ...
Liz Rougvie of Fife Today interviewed a number of our Advocacy Partnerships
Kirsty and Lorraine
“The key to a successful partnership is the matching process that takes place at the outset.”
Similarly Kirsty Pugh (30) and Lorraine Ralston (46) have become firm friends since they were matched four-and-a-half years ago.
They try to meet up at least once a month, but often bump into each other in the street in Cupar, where they both live. Kirsty recently moved into her own house close to her former foster parents, and receives support from the Richmond Fellowship.
But there are times when only a trusted friend will do, and Lorraine fulfils that role for Kirsty.
“There have been occasions where Kirsty has had to deal with some upsetting issues and I’m glad to have been there for her,” says Lorraine.
“I’ve been a voice for her in meetings and helped her write letters, and that gives me a great sense of satisfaction and boosts my own confidence.
“On top of that, we’ve found we have lots in common and enjoy each other’s company.”
You might be interested to read the latest newsletter from the Fife Advocacy Forum which can be found by pasting this link into your browser,
Copyright. Scottish Charity No. SC 040082