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

You can meet with a trained advocate at one of our COVID-secure drop-ins to discuss your issues confidentially, get signposting to other organisations, and receive support to get your voice heard. We may be able to make a phone call or draft a letter on your behalf whilst you are there.

Our drop-ins are running with COVID-secure precautions. All attendees, and staff, must wear a mask at all times. If you arrive while another client is being seen, you will be given a time to come back for an appointment. Meeting slots are not limited timewise unless there are people waiting when it will be limited to 30 minutes. Regretfully, you are unable to wait in the Bristol Mind building. 

Location: Bristol Mind, Old Market, BS2 0EZ
Day: every Tuesday
Time: 11am – 2pm 

and

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

**On the 7th July there will be no drop in at windmill city farm, this is closed for 1 day only.

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 our waiting list for on-going advocacy is full at the moment. We may be able to help by doing one-off casework so do please contact us.

Contact us:

Claire Barnard (Coordinator) & Tom Wainwright (Mental Health Advocate)
Telephone: 0117 980 0376
Email: advocacy@bristolmind.org.uk
Text: 07497 744 531
Fax: 0117 927 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.