Reach Ability set up an Advocacy Committee in order to offer support to people who may need help with decision making or expressing rights or opinions. Advocacy also provides assistance for isolated situations if a person is faced with a problem or issue.
The person requiring help will be appointed an advocate who can assist with:
- Emailing and letter writing to organisations, making phone calls and attending appointments.
- Making sure that their voice is heard when personal and welfare decisions are being made and helping the person to express their opinion.
- Helping a person work through solutions and making a final decision in relation to a specific problem.
The four main principles of advocacy are empowerment, autonomy, inclusion and citizenship and these are fostered through our Advocacy Committee. Advocacy helps people to speak up for themselves, put forward their views and gain more control of their lives. It provides a mechanism whereby needs, rights, opinions and hopes are taken seriously and acted upon.
Each Reach Ability Community Inclusion Hub is represented on the committee and these representatives are elected in September every second year. Committee meetings occur monthly and are facilitated to be held in the hubs with the support of staff who provide guidance to the committee members.
As well as providing supports for people on an individual basis, the Advocacy Committee has successfully instigated several changes both internally and externally to the organisation, for the common benefit of all. Some of these include:
- Organising the European Day for People with Disabilities in December each year
- Successfully lobbied for a pedestrian crossing at the busy road junction outside our Bellefield campus in Enniscorthy
- Successfully lobbied to have the ATM machines in Enniscorthy made more accessible for those with reduced mobility
See below a video from the HSE on the Assisted Decision Making Act: