Choice Advocacy is a small charity which began life as a voluntary organisation back in 2004 and gained charitable status in 2009. Our service was started in response to the recognition that adults with learning disabilities deserved to have more control over their own lives. Provision of advocacy was a way to ensure their voices were heard.
In the early days, there were just three members of staff but our numbers have grown so that we now have 11 staff which includes 8 advocates. Although our remit has changed slightly, our emphasis is still very much about learning disabilities. You can read more about our different services in the specific sections on:
Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
Care Act Advocacy
Parents with learning disability
Independent Complaints Advocacy Team ()
The charity world, with its dependency on funding, is not an easy place to be today. The cuts imposed by local government strategies have impacted on our ability to employ the amount of advocates we really need. So, year on year, our advocates are each taking on more and more cases.
We pride ourselves on having a dynamic and dedicated team and most of our staff have now been with us for several years. We rise to the challenges of the cases we work on and regularly go the extra mile to ensure our advocacy partners get the best outcome possible. Our advocates are highly skilled and have brought a breadth of experience with them. The staff team is supported by our director, operations manager and office/finance manager, and governed by our Board of Trustees.
We are fortunate to have a team of adults with learning disabilities who formed a group called Watchdog. Some of the Watchdog members have been with Choice since the very early years. Watchdog take on a range of tasks such as evaluating the work of the advocates, designing easy read versions of key information and assisting on interview panels. Two Watchdog members also serve on the Board of Trustees.
We provide student placements, mostly for social work students, who gain a unique and valuable experience from working in advocacy. Feedback from these students is positive and they take the knowledge they have gained forward into their new careers.
Our services are free. The majority of our funding is provided by NHS and BMDC (Bradford Metropolitan District Council) but we exist independently of both these organisations.