Advocacy in Wales - the Welsh Advocacy grants scheme
9th April 2014
A day of pride in the achievements of advocacy across Wales
Organisations funded by the Welsh Government Advocacy scheme 2011 – 2014, which has now ended, gathered in Newport on Wednesday to celebrate their achievements. Over 50 people spent the day reflecting on how the grant funding had been used to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities in Wales.
There had been three funding rounds since the Advocacy Grant funding had started in 2003 and well over 1,000 people with learning disabilities have benefited each year.
It was a day of mixed emotions. There was real joy in the sharing of what each organisation had achieved but also sadness that the end of the funding places the future of many of the organisations at risk.
The walls were covered in photographs that showed the variety of initiatives and activities. During the day, self advocates and advocates proudly spoke of their work and its impact. We all identified the good, the bad and the lessons that had been learnt over the past 3 years.
Above: People listed the benefits of the Welsh Advocacy Grants scheme, left, and the down side, right
Joe Powell (National Director of All Wales People First) and Sophie Hinksman ( Co -Chair of the Learning Disability Advisory Group) led a session that identified the messages that people wanted to send to the Welsh Government. Most people expressed their frustration and disappointment that the grant funding had come to an end when the organisations were improving people’s lives and when it was harder than ever to secure alternative resourcing.
The day provided an opportunity for the BILD team that had been responsible for administering the grant scheme to thank the funded organisations for the success of their hard work. Anna Deverill-Smith, Gail Pardoe, Keith Smith and Jules Wyatt were all able to praise the organisations for the positive changes that had been achieved in people’s lives.
BILD has been privileged to administer and monitor the advocacy grant scheme since 2003 and we have seen the ways in which people and the funded organisations have grown and developed. What the future holds, we can't be sure, but there are so many people and groups ready, willing and able to do great work in communities across Wales, we know because we've worked with them.
“Thank you for the successful celebration event yesterday. It was really good to meet everyone and to acknowledge all the good work achieved by the groups – it certainly helped us to feel good about ourselves", Jane Lane, Director of Advocacy Matters Wales, told us next day.
The Welsh Government gave money - called a grant - to make advocacy services better for people with a learning disability and people on the autistic spectrum.
BILD, the British Institute of Learning Disabilities is managing the advocacy services grant programme for the Welsh Government.
The grant scheme started in October 2008 and in 2011 BILD was told the scheme would be extended until March 2014.
The Welsh Government gave grant money to 19 advocacy groups in Wales. To get some money the groups need to:
- Be independent. This means not working for the health service or local authority: Not providing any community care services for people with a learning disability or autistic spectrum disorder.
- Provide advocacy (or plan to provide advocacy) for people with a learning disability or to people with autistic spectrum disorders.
- Meet the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) Advocacy Standards.
- Make up the difference in funding to make sure they cover all of the costs of their project.
The reports below are about the scheme and available for you to download, they are:
The evaluation report shows that the grant scheme has been effective and the grant programme has had a good effect on the lives of lots of people with learning disabilities in Wales.
There is also a list of the advocacy groups in Wales who have been funded by the scheme that you can download.
If you would like any more information about the Welsh Advocacy Grants scheme, please contact Gail Pardoe on 0121 415 6965 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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