Skip Content

Our Achievements

For the last 17 years Advocacy Plus, formerly known as Westminster Advocacy Service for Senior Residents, has been at the forefront of developing advocacy support for older people in Westminster.

We are a small, personal, highly professional and specialist advocacy service and are proud of our innovative service provision and policy development. Some of our outstanding achievements are:

  • Identifying a need in Westminster service provision

We were one of the first charities to recognise and address the problems faced by older people who could not, for various reasons, speak up effectively for themselves or secure their rights.  The Director, Irene Kohler, was instrumental in getting advocacy for older people on the political agenda in Westminster. We are in fact one of the few advocacy services in the UK which concentrates on and specialises in older people's issues

  • Tackling inequality

Ten years ago we conducted a user profiling exercise.  The results showed that 95% of our users were white British and 5% were from ethnic minority groups. We recognised and tackled head on the need to transcend culture, language and religion in what were some of the poorest areas in London and in the country. Within 7 years and after intensive outreach work the number of ethnic minority group users was increased from 5% to 40%. We continue to promote equal access for all by providing trained advocates who are accessible to elders from ethnic minority communities.

  • Responding to the needs of people with dementia

Conservatively, by 2035 there will be 1.5 million people in the UK with dementia who will need treatment and care. The role of independent advocacy, to ensure the rights of 1.5 million people are met, together with those of their families and carers, must not be underestimated.  In Westminster in 1995 we were one of the first advocacy organisations to establish a specialist dementia advocacy service and are now a nationally recognised leader in this field. We provide advocates who have a special knowledge of dementia, enabling them to interpret the wishes of and seek solutions for their clients, leading to improvements in their health or wellbeing in spite of their progressing dementia.

  • Resolving a national advocacy issue

In 2003, in response to a national need, we were awarded funding to expand and publicise the national Dementia Advocacy Network (DAN), founded by Advocacy Plus and based on our 8  years' expertise in dementia advocacy provision in Westminster. As both the profile of independent advocacy has increased and recognition that people with dementia have need of advocacy, so has the desire for advocates to get together to share the issues and dilemmas of their work and learn from each other's good practice. DAN's membership has grown to over 250. It holds 5 networking events each year; delivers 12 training events as part of a national programme; receives regular invitations to speak at national conferences; provides workshops and commissioned training.  In 2006 Advocacy Plus received the GlaxoSmithKline Health Impact highly recommended award for its work with DAN. More about DAN www.advocacyplus.org.uk/dan

  • Innovative user engagement

In 2010 Westminster Joint Commissioners awarded a contract to Advocacy Plus in partnership with Age UK Westminster to create a new older people's User Involvement service.  We have recruited over 40 volunteers aged over 60 to seek and record the views of older residents and support them to have a say in the planning and monitoring of the services they receive. The aim of the User Involvement service is to make Westminster's services more responsive to older people's needs. Volunteers conduct focus groups, undertake telephone surveys and carry out question and answer visits for older residents at home, in hospital or in care homes.  The User Involvement service was successfully launched at a conference for 100 people at the Kings Fund Conference Centre in May 2010.