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Advocacy South (Southampton)

Solent Mind and Choices Advocacy are local advocacy organisations that have been supporting Southampton residents with advocacy for over 30 years. We are thrilled to be working in partnership to deliver high quality advocacy across the region.

‘Advocacy South’ will be delivering IMCA, DoLS, Care Act, IMHA and Children’s advocacy as well as generic advocacy and self advocacy support to vulnerable people living in Southampton.

Advocacy South – Working Together for your Rights

Advocacy is a way to support and enable people to speak up and defend their rights.

Advocacy South offers a wide range of free advocacy services, with over 32 years of experience. If you feel that you need someone to listen to you, and help you to speak up, then you may benefit from an advocate. Our advocacy services are provided in a person centred way to make sure that you stay at the centre of your decision process. Advocacy is there to help you to have choice, equality, justice, support, empowerment, information, and to protect your rights.

What is an Advocate?

An advocate is an independent third party who will help you to:

  • Express your views and concerns
  • Exercise your rights
  • Have your interests represented
  • Access information and services
  • Explore your choices and options
  • Defend and promote your rights and entitlements
  • Explore your options and exercise your right of choice

To do this an advocate might help you to write letters, prepare and go with you to meetings, or listen to you and help you to understand your options and rights. They will help you without judgement or opinion. An advocate will not provide advice, counselling, mediation, social work, support work or befriend. They are there to make sure your voice is heard.

Do You Need an Advocate?

If you have learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism, physical and sensory disabilities, are an older person, have dementia or other long term conditions you may be eligible to get the help of an advocate. There are many different types of advocacy available through Advocacy South and the type of advocate you can access will depend on your circumstances and needs.

Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)

An IMHA will help patients with any issues around detainment or restriction they might have. This includes accessing and understanding information and exercising the patient’s rights. An IMHA will listen and speak for you in times of need.

Eligible persons would be:

  • Detained under certain sections
  • Conditionally discharged
  • Subject to a guardianship order
  • On a supervised community treatment order
  • Liable to be detained under the MHA
  • Considering treatment under MHA
  • Under 18 and considering the use of ECT

IMHA assistance could include appealing a section or helping you to understand your rights. If you fulfil the eligibility criteria it is your legal right to see an IMHA.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8956 or email advocacy@solentmind.org.uk for more information.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

If you are facing decisions regarding serious medical treatment or changes to your accommodation you could be entitled to the help of an IMCA. Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 people who lack capacity to make a particular decision must be assisted to make their own decisions. An IMCA can also be involved in Care Reviews and Safeguarding enquiries. If a person does not have the capacity to do this, and does not have family or close friends who could act for them, then they could use the services of an IMCA.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

DoLS, which is a part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, says that you are entitled to be looked after in a way that only restricts your freedom if it is in your best interests, and if there is no other option. You must not be restricted inappropriately. This has been created to protect vulnerable adults. If the Local Authority feels that you may need to be restricted, and that it is in your best interests, a DoLS advocate can be involved to ensure your views and wishes are taken into consideration before they approve this. All referrals for a DoLS IMCA need to come through the Local Authority.

Paid Representative

If you are subject to having your liberty restricted you should be appointed a representative. This will often be family or a close friend, but if these people are not available then you are entitled to a Paid Representative. This is an advocate who is independent of the Local Authority. Their role is to maintain contact with you and to represent you. This could be by going through complaints procedures on your behalf, making an application to the court of protection or triggering a review.

How to access the IMCA services

Referral to this service is usually by the decision maker (others can make the referral but the decision maker should be aware).

If the person is in Hampshire, contact Hampshire IMCA on 023 8020 8955 or email the referral form below to hampshireimca@solentmind.org.uk

If the person is in Southampton, contact Southampton IMCA on 023 8020 8956 or email the referral form below to southamptonimca@solentmind.org.uk

Independent Advocate under The Care Act

The Care Act 2014 states that a person who is having substantial difficulty in engaging with Local Authority care assessment, planning or review processes or Safeguarding processes and does not have anyone appropriate to represent them, is entitled to an Independent Advocate.

This service is available for adults aged over 18 years, carers or young people who are changing from Children’s to Adult services.

You are entitled by law to a Care Act Advocate if you have substantial difficulty in taking part, and have no one else who is appropriate to do this role.

Your Care Manager will need to agree that you have substantial difficulty in being involved.

If you have a care need or are a carer, young carer or young person in transition that means you would struggle with being involved in these processes, and live in Southampton, you need to ask your Care Manager to make a referral. You can speak to us for more information on 023 8020 8956 or email advocacysouth@solentmind.org.uk

If you have a mental health need that means you would struggle with being involved in these processes and live in Hampshire, you can speak to us for more information on 023 8020 8955 or email advocacy@solentmind.org.uk

For a referral form, please click on the link below

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

This service is available to young people aged between 14 and 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities who experience difficulties when taking part in their assessments. If you do not have someone such as a family member or close friend to act for you, an Advocate can help you with your Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC).

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8956 for more information.

Self Advocacy

Advocacy South offers a self advocacy group called The Hub for people with learning disabilities. Self advocacy is a way of helping you to speak up for yourself, and the group will talk about issues related to health, transport, support and employment. There is also support available for parents with learning disabilities, called Parents Hub, where you can get information regarding rights and Care proceedings.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8956 for more information.

Community Advocacy

This is a one-to-one self referral service that can be accessed by vulnerable groups over the age of 18 (or 16 in transition.) We will work with each person on an individual basis to help inform and safeguard so that you can remain central to your own decision process, and access the services you need. For more information on whether this service would meet your needs, please call the number below.

From June 2015 we will be running a pilot project across Southampton to work with anyone who requires advocacy support because of their mental health. This pilot does not require you to be accessing Local Authority services or meet their criteria. We will have advocates who can support you to speak up and access services, and they will be collating evidence of the need of the service for future service planning.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8956 for more information.

For further information on any of our advocacy services contact us:

Telephone: 023 8020 8956

Email: advocacysouth@solentmind.org.uk

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