Board Director Opportunity

HELP CREATE OUR 2020 VISION!

About us
AdvoCard is a well-established independent advocacy charity primarily serving people with experience of mental ill health in Edinburgh. We provide opportunities for people at risk of marginalization and exclusion to participate more effectively in decisions that affect all aspects of their lives, through individual and collective advocacy.

Our activities focus on people who use mental health services in the community and in hospital, people who are in prison, and people with problematic substance misuse. Last year through our staff and volunteers we provided advocacy for 976 individuals, and as the need and demand grows so our services are developing. We have recently extended our service to work in the prison and have developed a specific service to respond to welfare reform.

About the role
Board members provide strategic support and guidance for our ongoing development, ensuring AdvoCard is solvent, well run and meeting its charitable objectives. We look for up to 50% of our Board members to include people with lived experience of the circumstances of the people we serve and who may have used our services.

About you
We are looking for new Board Directors who share our passion about the importance of advocacy in enabling people to have choice and control of decisions in or about their lives. You will bring knowledge, experience and skills to support our strategic development, growth and diversification. Knowledge and experience in charity and voluntary sector finance; HR; Business management; strategic and partnership development; commissioning and contracting; advocacy, social care and health services would be especially useful.

Commitment

  • Attendance and active participation at monthly Board meetings, currently held during the day
  • Attendance at our annual AGM

The total commitment is around 4 hours a month. In return we offer a highly rewarding role and all travel expenses.

Get in touch and make an application

We’d love to hear from you. For more information please download our application pack:

For an informal discussion contact Chris Mackie, Managing Director, [email protected] or on 0131 554 5307.

Closing date: Monday 3 Febraury 2020

AdvoCard Community Collective Advocacy: January Newsletter

The newsletter is out earlier than usual this month because of the holidays.  In the newsletter this month:

  • Edinburgh Community Voices – Wednesday 8th January
  • Side Effects Conversations
  • New Collective Advocacy Group
  • Research – Lived experience of psychosis: experience of medical profession and clinical diagnostic label  
  • A&E | All & Equal – Emergency Card 

Edinburgh Community Voices – Wednesday 8th January
January’s Edinburgh Community Voices meeting is on the second Wednesday of the month because the first Wednesday is New Year’s Day.
Edinburgh Community Voices is an open meeting for anyone who has lived experience to come along and discuss mental health and services in Edinburgh.  Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.  If you’ve not been before and would like to find out more, you can give us a ring on 0131 554 5307 or email [email protected].  


Side Effects Conversations – Let’s Get Side Effects on the Agenda

We unfortunately had to postpone the meeting that was scheduled for 12th November due to staff illness.  We’ll rearrange the meeting for some time next year and will keep you updated.

Background

Towards the end of 2018, Edinburgh Community Voices carried out some peer research to hear from people about their experiences of side effects of mental health medication and treatment and support for physical health issues.

We carried out this peer research to hear from people about their experiences, to get these down on paper, to identify any common issues, and to hear from them about what they think needs to be done to address the issues raised.

We published the reports from the peer research in the summer.

You can read the reports, and find out more, here:

Experiences of Side Effects of  Mental Health Medication:
http://www.advocard.org.uk/2019/06/experiences-of-side-effects-of-mental-health-medication-peer-research-report/

Experiences of Treatment and Support for Physical Health Issues:

New Collective Advocacy Group ** We had some interest in this group earlier in the year.  We still plan to set it up but haven’t been able to do anything yet due to staff illness. If you’re interested or have ideas please do get in touch and we’ll post updates when we have them.**Do you take part in a planning group (of any kind), steering group, management committee or board, or have you taken part in a group like this in the past? Would you be interested in joining a collective advocacy group to talk about your experiences and discuss how groups like these can better involve people with lived experience of mental health issues?
We haven’t yet decided on a meeting day, time or location.
We know it may be difficult for some people to come to a new group, so we would look to find ways to involve anyone who is not able to make it to meetings, for instance getting your views by email or over the phone.If you are interested, or to find out more, please contact Becky –  0131 554 5307, [email protected]

Research – Lived experience of psychosis: experience of medical profession and clinical diagnostic label
You might be interested in taking part in this research.  The researchers are particularly keen to hear from people who have taken part in collective advocacy.  
One of the researchers, Kat Steggles, told us this:

‘I am a student at the University of Edinburgh and for my final year dissertation I am exploring the lived experience of psychosis. Specifically, I would like to interview individuals who have, at some point, had a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia and to discuss their relationship with their diagnosis and experience within the mental health system.

As someone who has both personal experience with mental health challenges, and an active member of the CAPS mental health collective advocacy charity in Edinburgh, I am passionate about raising awareness of the individual’s voice, in order to inform health policies and improve future service users’ experience.’

Information about taking part in the research is attached.  You can contact Kat directly ([email protected]) if you are interested in taking part or have any questions.  Or you can contact us and we can ask questions on your behalf – contact [email protected]

A&E | All & Equal – Emergency Card

Would you like to have an Emergency Card?

An Emergency Card can help you get across your needs and wishes to the nurses, doctors and other staff if you ever need to go to the Emergency Department (A&E).

On the card there is space for you to write three things that you would want staff to know and three things that matter to you about your care. You can fill in the card by yourself or with help from somebody else. It can be folded to credit card size so that it can fit in your wallet and be there if you need to use it.

The Emergency Card was created for people with lived experience of mental health issues. However, it doesn’t say anything about mental health on it, you don’t have to write anything about your mental health on it and anyone can use it.

We have put together some guidance to help you decide if you would like to have an Emergency Card and to give you some ideas for things to include. If you would like an Emergency Card and a copy of the guidance, or have any questions, please contact Becky –   0131 554 5307, [email protected]

Background to the Emergency Card

In 2015 – 2016 we ran a peer research project called A&E | All & Equal where we heard from people with lived experience of mental health issues about experiences they had had at the Emergency Departments at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) and St John’s Hospital, Livingston. One of the issues that came up was that when you’re in distress or are feeling anxious, it can be difficult to communicate with the staff in the Emergency Department, for instance if you have any wishes, needs or other information that you want staff to listen to and take into account. We developed the Emergency Card together with people with lived experience of mental health issues, the Emergency Department (A&E) at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Navigator Project.  

*    *    *    *
Best wishes, 
Becky and Patricia 

Problematic Substance Use Service

AdvoCard are pleased to announce our new problematic substance use advocacy service. This service is for those people living in Edinburgh who have/had problematic substance use (PSU) issues. This new service is for those that are having difficulty having their voice heard, expressing their views and navigating services.

For more details, or to make a referral, you can give us a call on 0131 554 5307 or see here for more details. www.advocard.org.uk

Mind Our Rights! A collective advocacy Mental Health Awareness Week event

on: Wednesday, 15 May 2019 from 13:00 to 16:30 (BST)
at: The Hive, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Place,
Edinburgh

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week has a theme of Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.  


Edinburgh Community Voices, LEARN and REH Patients Council are hosting a collective advocacy event bringing in-patients, service users, survivors, people with lived experience and mental health health professionals together to discuss: how can people who experience poor mental health ensure that their rights are recognised, respected and realised in relation to their bodies and the processes of care, treatment and recovery.

You can find out more about the event and book a place via this Eventbrite link: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mind-our-rights-mentalphysical-health-and-human-rights-connect-through-conversation-tickets-60404752240?aff=ebdssbdestsearch 

Places are limited so please book if you wish to attend | Sandwich lunch provided for all attendees at 1pm

Please share with your networks as appropriate


Thank you

Edinburgh Community Voices in collaboration with LEARN & REH Patients Council

AGM report

Thanks to all those who attended and participated in our recent AGM. We also said goodbye to our outgoing Chairperson, Dianna Manson. We thank you for all your hard work and dedication, and wish you all the best for the future.

Our AGM report – which was distributed at the meeting – is available here for download:

Our Strategy Document is also available here:

February 2019 Newsletter

Here is the February 2019 Newsletter / What’s On from Edinburgh Community Voices and AdvoCard:

We hope you find the Newsletter useful – it has updates on the AdvoCard Collective Advocacy projects and lots of information about support group meetings and other events in Edinburgh. If we have included information about your project or event, please check that we have printed the correct information… and let us know if we need to change anything for the next edition.  

Please get in touch if there is anything you would like us to include on a regular basis or if you would like to write something for a future edition.

The next main Edinburgh Community Voices meeting will take place: 

  • on Wednesday 6 February 
  • between 2pm and 4pm
  • at AdvoCard
    332 Leith Walk, EH6 5BR 
  • free tea, coffee and biscuits and some good conversation
  • All welcome 

Edinburgh Community Voices meetings are open to anyone with lived experience of mental health issues.  If you have not been to and Edinburgh Community Voices meeting before and would like to come along you can call or email to ask us about what we do at the meetings.

warm regards
Patricia and Becky

January Newsletter

Hello and best wishes for the New Year!

Here is the January 2019 Newsletter / What’s On from Edinburgh Community Voices and AdvoCard:

We hope you find the Newsletter useful – it has updates on the AdvoCard Collective Advocacy projects and lots of information about support group meetings and other events in Edinburgh. If we have included information about your project or event, please check that we have printed the correct information…and let us know if we need to change anything for the next edition.  

Please get in touch if there is anything you would like us to include on a regular basis or if you would like to write something for a future edition.

The next main Edinburgh Community Voicesmeeting will take place 

  • on Wednesday 9 January (as AdvoCard will be closed on Wednesday 2 January)  
  • between 2pm and 4pm
  • at AdvoCard
    332 Leith Walk, EH6 5BR 
  • free tea, coffee and biscuits and some good conversation
  • All welcome 

Edinburgh Community Voices meetings are open to anyone with lived experience of mental health issues.  If you have not been to and Edinburgh Community Voices meeting before and would like to come along you can call or email to ask us about what we do at the meetings.

warm regards
Patricia and Becky

November Newsletter

AdvoCard Newsletter Nov 2018

Here is the November 2018 Newsletter / What’s On from Edinburgh Community Voices and AdvoCard.

This month, on Page 2, you can read about our peer research looking at physical health care for people with current or lived experience of mental health issues…and side effects of psychiatric medications and how to contribute to this work.

We hope you find the Newsletter useful – it has updates on the AdvoCard Collective Advocacy projects and lots of information about support group meetings and other events in Edinburgh. If we have included information about your project or event, please check that we have printed the correct information…and let us know if we need to change anything.

Please get in touch if there is anything you would like us to include on a regular basis or if you would like to write something for a future edition.

Standards for Independent Advocacy in Social Security

We were very pleased that the “right to independent advocacy” was included in the new Scottish Social Security System.  If you have used our Welfare Reform advocacy service (via Arlene or Devrim), you may wish to help shape the standards which will be written for advocacy in the new System.  The Scottish Government is holding a series of focus group meetings.  You can read more about these and book places by following the following link:

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/independent-advocacy-standards-focus-group-meetings/

A&E | All & Equal – Focus Group – We Need Your Views!

Thursday 19th July, 2 -4 pm, AdvoCard, 332 Leith Walk

In 2015 – 2016 we ran a peer research project where we heard from people with lived experience of mental health issues about experiences they had had at the Emergency Departments at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) and St John’s Hospital, Livingston.

One of the issues that came up was that when you’re in distress or are feeling anxious, it can be difficult to communicate with the staff in the Emergency Department, for instance if you have any wishes, needs or other information that you want staff to listen to and take into account.

Together with the Emergency Department at RIE and the Navigator Project, we are developing a discreet card which you could keep in your wallet and fill in with things that you would want to get across to staff if you found yourself needing to go to the Emergency Department, to help you speak up, express your needs and wishes and be heard.  You could hand it to the staff at the Emergency Department to read, or you could have it to look at it before you speak to staff so that you feel more confident.

We are holding a focus group meeting to get your views on the card and what it looks like – Thursday 19th July, 2 – 4pm at AdvoCard, 332 Leith Walk.  This meeting is open to anyone who has lived experience of mental health issues.

If you’d like to attend, please contact Becky – [email protected], 0131 554 5307.

If you have any questions, or would like a copy of the A&E | All & Equal report, please contact Becky as above.