Advocacy Awareness Week from a Coventry perspective

This week (6-10 November) is Advocacy Awareness Week, led in the UK by the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi).

This year’s theme is ‘What is Advocacy’?

And so, our advocates have been taking the opportunity to share how our Coventry service is helping autistic and learning disabled people, aged 17 and over, resolve their immediate issues and build self-advocacy skills and resilience for the future.

An illustrated pink and purple graphic asks "What is advocacy?" in bold, white type with our logo and website included too. The sketched image shows a woman in a wheelchair listening to another woman talking from the chair she is sitting on opposite to her.

Our fresh approach to advocacy – funded by The Henry Smith Charity and forming part of Grapevine’s Strengthening People strand of action – launched in 2022 after Coventry had been identified as a high need area for independent non-statutory advocacy.

Running for three years, Advocacy in Coventry aims to help up to 80 people a year living with a range of complex, inter-related issues – such as mental health, isolation and exploitation – but who don’t qualify for government-funded support.

So what does that mean in practice?

This week we have highlighted three personal stories* to help demonstrate how we work. But we can work in many more ways – please follow this link to launch a more detailed leaflet containing information about our service.

Here are our stories.

Robert’s story

Robert is an autistic man in his 40s, who was very distressed by an antisocial neighbour’s behaviour when we first met. Together we kept a diary, talked through existing laws and more options to try to build a better relationship and to help Robert self-advocate.

Having the relevant information plus different options available has helped him feel more confident about dealing with the situation.

An illustrated graphic of a dark haired man in a hoodie outside his front door with a purple background and words that say, "Robert's advocacy story" in bold white type with the Grapevine logo and website also shown. The more detailed text below explains that our advocate Katie helped Robert understand laws on neighbour disputes, plus other available options, so he can now self-advocate.

Hassan’s story

Sometimes we work only briefly with people to make an impact. Hassan has a learning disability and was recently diagnosed with a serious health condition.

His social prescriber asked for our support to help Hassan access appointments in such a way that he could understand what doctors were explaining to him about his condition.

NHS contacts helped us match his expedited treatment with expedited support and we will work with Hassan and his social prescriber on this journey to ensure his needs and rights continue to be met.

A man with a black beard and wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt, sits with his head in his hand in a red armchair. The illustration is on a pink background with the words, "Hassan's advocacy story" in bold white type. The Grapevine logo and website are also shown.

Refer yourself or someone you know to Advocacy in Coventry

Would you like to refer yourself to our advocacy service? Click this link to complete our self referral form.

Or if you are professional working with an autistic or learning disabled person aged 17 or over who needs support, complete this form.

Email with any other questions.

*All names have been changed to protect their identities.