HARG: independent advocacy scheme across the county.

East Hampshire Advocacy Scheme

East Hampshire Advocacy Scheme exists to provide advocacy for anyone seeking help or support who lives within East Hampshire including older people, people with physical disabilities or learning disabilities.  The service is free, confidential and completely independent.

We are an independent Charity established and supported entirely by local people. We became operational in 1999 following our first successful bid to the Community Fund which provided us with secure funding for an initial three years. Since then, the advocacy service has become well-established across the whole of East Hampshire.

We operate within East Hampshire as defined by the District Council boundaries. It is a large area of some 200 square miles which includes four main population centres: Alton, Bordon and Whitehill, Horndean/Rowlands Castle and Petersfield. Many people, however, live in rural areas where problems of isolation, exclusion, poor transport, dwindling services and unsatisfactory infrastructure can be found.  It has a population of approximately 110,000 within which there is a significant rising number of older people.

The Director, Older Persons and Learning Disabilities Project Managers, Befriending Manager and Advocacy Worker currently make up our staff team. They manage and support our team of trained volunteer advocates. We offer ongoing training and pay travel expenses. The staff and volunteers work within the policies contained in our Advocate Handbook and respect for confidentiality is paramount. We aim to treat people equally, openly and honestly and welcome any suggestions to improve our service.

Our core work is one-to-one advocacy built on partnerships between people seeking help (known as ‘partners’) and the volunteer advocates who are willing to give up a little of their time to help others. It links people who may be vulnerable to ordinary members of the community in what has been described as ‘a powerful partnership’. Advocates believe in the dignity of people and respect their rights and views regardless of circumstances. We all have human rights – it’s just that some of us need a little help to achieve them.

The service is entirely outreach. When a volunteer advocate is assigned to someone who has requested advocacy support, he or she visits that person on a regular basis in their own homes for as long as is needed. Many advocates take on one case at a time (the majority last for months rather than weeks) but others choose to have two or three cases depending on their other commitments. We try very hard to encourage self-confidence and promote independent living rather than reinforcing dependency but support can be provided in many different ways.

We are quite separate from statutory bodies such as Adult Services, Health, Local Authorities or any other interested parties. This means we will not be influenced by outside people. We will act solely for the users of the service and our independence is our greatest strength.

East Hampshire Advocacy Scheme, The Tilmore Centre, 1 Tilmore Road, Petersfield GU32 2HG

Tel: 01730 233345

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