Advocacy and Benefits

We felt that some clarification is required around the support that AdvoCard is able to offer in relation to benefits problems.  We have been getting a significant number of calls recently about tribunals and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) appeals.  We’ve also had some enquiries from people requesting help to fill in benefits applications and assessment forms.

As an advocacy organisation, AdvoCard does not hold an expertise on benefits. However, we will support people in accessing advice and can help them to find an agency that will offer help in filling in forms and will attend appointments at that agency with them.

However, we will offer support to people attending an Atos Disability Assessment.

Collective Advocacy in the Community

Following the Review of Independent Advocacy Services in Edinburgh, AdvoCard was awarded the contract to provide independent collective advocacy for mental health service users and carers in Edinburgh.

AdvoCard delivers some services directly and is also working in partnership with the Patients Council (at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital) and Edinburgh Carers Council.

As of 01 December 2011, AdvoCard provides service user collective advocacy in the community. Laetitia Jan is the development worker for collective advocacy in the community and works with service user groups such as Edinburgh Users Forum (EUF) and SEASONS to:

  • Organise and facilitate service user meetings, support service users or get their views heard at strategic meetings.
  • Inform people of changes, new policies and consultations. Make policy, strategic documents and information accessible to service user groups and assist them to get involved in consultation.
  • Help to create new campaigning groups.
  • Build effective partnerships between service users and professionals.
  • Run issue-based and user-led research projects to gather views and experiences. Write reports and lobby at local and government level.
  • Build effective partnerships between service users and professionals.

For more information about collective advocacy in the community, contact Laetitia at AdvoCard on 0131 554 5307 or email [email protected].

A Memorial for Jackie

Jackie McGinty

June last year was a time of sorrow when we heard the sad news about the death of Jackie McGinty.

Jackie was a much loved, respected and admired colleague of ours and we still miss her sunny presence in the Leith Walk office.

As announced at the AGM, we decided that we would like to dedicate an area of Pressmennan Woods in East Lothian to celebrate Jackie’s life and as a memorial to her. We felt that this would be a fitting way to remember  Jackie as she was such a happy, giving and caring person who enjoyed her life, was devoted to her family and was very supportive of others.

We felt a living and growing memorial would be very apt and something that Jackie herself would have enjoyed.

In order to do this we have set up a group fund with the Woodland Trust who manage Pressmennan Wood in East Lothian where she lived.

Please feel that you can add as much or as little as you like to this fund.

In order to make a donation to Jackie’s fund you can go direct to the website through this link:


or you can log onto the Woodland Trust website, go to ‘shop’ then group funds then enter either ‘Jackie’, ‘Remembering Jackie’ or the The reference number for Jackie’s fund which is 101093. It’s also possible to make a donation over the phone.

Alternatively you could hand your donation into the Leith Walk office and we will ensure that it is added to the online fund.

In the Springtime, we plan to get a group together to go out and visit Jackie’s woods.

AdvoCard AGM and Annual Report 2011

We would like to acknowledge the attendance and contributions of all those who participated in our Annual General Meeting on 23 November.  This took place at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street.  We were very pleased to see so many people who support the organisation on that day.  Amongst the audience were service users, advocacy colleagues, volunteer advocacy workers, and a number of workers who have regular contact with AdvoCard.

Further, we are proud to present AdvoCard’s Annual Report for 2011:

AdvoCard Annual Report 2011

Newsletter – changes to advocacy services

City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian have published a newsletter outlining the changes that will take place to Independent Advocacy in Edinburgh from 1 December 2011.  Most people who currently receive mental health advocacy will see no change.  However from that date, AdvoCard will support community collective advocacy.  More details on this new piece of work will be posted here soon.

Please contact us if you have any specific queries.

AGM – 23 November

You are invited to our Annual General Meeting!

At 2 pm on Wednesday 23 November 2011

Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh EH6 8RT

Please come along and hear about the work of AdvoCard over the past year, and our plans for the future.

Please let us know if you will be attending by:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0131 554 5307

Text us: 07920 207564

Advocacy Tender Success

We are delighted to announce that AdvoCard (alongside partners – Edinburgh Carers’ Council and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Patients’ Council) has been successful in its bid for the contract to provide advocacy services across Edinburgh for ‘people with mental health support needs and carers of people with mental health support needs and/or learning disabilities’.

A meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Finance and Resources Committee on Tuesday 30 August approved the award of the new contract.

We are pleased that the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian have chosen to continue to support AdvoCard and its approach to providing independent advocacy.  We believe that this represents a firm endorsement of the our ethos and ways of working.

We would like to thank all those who have assisted with the bid, especially colleagues at the Patients’ Council and the Carers’ Council, who we look forward to continue working with.

Ultimately this means that, for the most part, mental health service users and carers will continue to receive advocacy in the same way as they do now, and from the same advocacy organisation. Please contact us if you have any queries about this.

Advocacy Tender – Update

City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian have issued the following document regarding the re-tendering of advocacy services:

Advocacy Newsletter Aug 2011

You will see that 30 August is the date of the meeting that will make the formal decision (the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee), with papers online from tomorrow – 24 August.

Fingers and toes are firmly crossed!