Community Outreach Advocacy Service

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is taking action to help people speak up for what they want and need, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need.

At Bristol Mind, we work with people with mental health difficulties who live in the Bristol community, offering one-to-one advocacy support.

We can offer you:

  • someone to work with you and be on your side, to help you speak up for yourself
  • someone to give information about your rights and help you decide what you want

We can help you with:

  • accessing services and support that you need
  • making phone calls
  • writing letters
  • accompany you to meetings and appointments
  • making complaints

The Community Outreach Advocacy Service is free, independent and confidential

Our advocates are fully trained volunteers who are friendly and understanding, have experience/understanding of mental health issues and are concerned about the rights of people who experience mental and emotional distress.

Often the quickest way to see an advocate is to come to one of our weekly Drop-in Sessions. If you are not able to do this, then you can telephone us to make an appointment. We are also able to make home visits if you are unable to come and meet us.

Levels of Advocacy support

1. Drop-in Sessions*

Outreach Advocacy is not currently running advocacy drop-ins or meeting face to face.  We are contactable by phone, email and text as detailed below/ on the Outreach Advocacy page.  Although our service will be limited by the Coronavirus situation we can still write letters, make phone calls, send emails on your behalf, signpost and provide information as well as discuss issues with you.  We will do what we can to help.

If you already have an advocate they will be in touch by email or phone.**

You can meet with a trained advocate in one of our Drop-ins to discuss your issues confidentially (sometimes that is all that is needed), get signposting to other organisations and services, and we may be able to make a phone call or draft a short letter on your behalf whilst you are there.

Please note that if busy we may not be able to see you for more than 20-30 minutes and that this is 1-to-1 advocacy rather than a social group.

Location: Bristol Mind, Old Market, BS2 0EZ
Day: every Tuesday
Time: 11am – 1.30pm *

* Please note that we cannot see you if you arrive after 1.30pm so we advise that you arrive as early as you can after the Drop-in opens.

Location: Windmill Hill City Farm, Bedminster, BS3 4EA
Day: every Wednesday
Time: 2pm – 4pm

2. One-off Advocacy

If, for instance, you have a meeting with the Mental Health Team that you want advocacy support with, we (Claire Barnard the Coordinator as well as the volunteer advocate) will meet you for a preparatory meeting. If you can’t get to the office (e.g. because you are housebound due to agoraphobia) we can do home visits. Then the volunteer advocate could go to the meeting with you and advocate for you, as instructed by you.

We can also use one-off appointments to draft longer letters on your behalf.

We can go to benefits assessments and Tribunals in this way, but we cannot give advice – but we can help you find a free advice service in your area.

3. Ongoing Advocacy

This is for people with complex situations which may involve several issues.

We would allocate an advocate for you, meet with you for a preparatory meeting (with Claire Barnard the Coordinator as well as the volunteer advocate) and then the advocate would work with you over a period of time to try to help you resolve those issues.

We aim to work with you until those issues are resolved or we can go no further with them.

Please note that we currently have a waiting list for this kind of advocacy.

Contact us:

Claire Barnard (Coordinator) & Neil Ashmore (Mental Health Advocate)
Telephone: 0117 980 0376
Text: 07497 744 531
Fax: 0117 929 6587

Please note that the office is staffed part-time

Referral Form:

Please complete and return the Bristol Mind Outreach Advocacy Referral Form if you are seeking advocacy support on behalf of someone else:

Residents of South Gloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset:

Bristol Mind is only able to support Bristol city residents.

If you live in South Gloucestershire, Somerset or BaNES, a similar service is provided by Swan Advocacy

If you live in North Somerset, a similar service is provided by SeAP

If you wish to donate to Bristol Mind, please send electronic payments to Bristol Mind, Account No: 65050011 & Sort Code: 08-92-99
Please include the word “Donation” and your name or your organisation name as a reference.