The most interesting quotation that I gathered from a service user for the advocacy stories was this,
“If you are an older person with younger relatives who will make a fuss you will be alright. If you are an older person, on your own, you get ignored”
This is particularly true at this time of year, and not just in relation to advocacy. People are more aware of the support systems that they have in place and those that they lack.
As part of our ongoing promotion of the Cancer Advocacy Project and Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre as a whole, I participated in a Christmas Tree Festival, held at a local church. Over 40 local charities and organisations each decorate a tree which is displayed for a week. Members of the public visit the festival and make donations as they see fit for each tree/charity. The event is very well attended locally by all age ranges and offers us the chance to raise awareness of advocacy in a different way.
I decorated the tree with phrases associated with advocacy such as ‘independent’, ‘free to access’, ‘confidential’ and ‘helping older people to have their voice heard’. In addition to this I had laid our plenty of our leaflets! I hope that the tree will have been thought provoking for the people who saw it and that they will remember it if they are looking for support in the New Year.
Helen Vernon, Advocate, Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre