SHEP has been involved in advocacy since the year 2000 and was to the forefront in the development of advocacy for older people through a project called Cork Older People’s Advocacy Service. A defining feature of SHEP’s model of advocacy has been pioneering the training and deployment of volunteer advocates.
We participated very successfully in the pilot Advocacy Project for People with Disabilities which was funded by the Citizen Information Board (CIB). This allowed SHEP to offer a high level of representative advocacy through a full-time professional advocate between 2008 and 2010
In 2010, at the request of the HSE, SHEP deployed volunteer advocates to provide advocacy for older people in residential settings consisting of regular visits to Nursing Homes, getting to know the residents and, where needed, providing them with group and individual advocacy.
This has extended to facilitating independent advocacy groups in a number of settings for adults with disabilities.
Currently the Cork Advocacy Service consists of a small team of volunteer advocates and continues to provide independent, confidential, free advocacy to adults who, through difficulties of health, disability or ageing, experience marginalisation and struggle to voice their concerns and access their rights. To support the Advocacy team SHEP provides regular supervision, garda clearance, and on-going support and guidance from SHEP’s Advocacy Co-ordinator.