Citizen Advocacy … unusual name really. When we talk about what it is, we often find ourselves saying what it isn’t.
It isn’t part of government bureaucracy. It isn’t a church or political group, and it isn’t a complaints service.
What we are is a group of local people who care about and value other people in the community. We particularly focus on those members of the community who have an intellectual disability, who are often neglected, vulnerable and alone, and who need someone to speak up for them and represent their interests.
We respond to that neglect, vulnerability and loneliness by encouraging and supporting lasting relationships in which practical assistance, support and friendship can result in richer and safer lives for people with an intellectual disability.
Many feel that contact with a person with a disability is best left to professional experts. Maybe this is why some people with an intellectual disability have in their lives only those who are paid to be there.
Citizen advocates are ordinary people who do not replace paid professionals. They are involved because they have made a voluntary commitment to be loyal to a person with a disability … to be someone who will when necessary, protect and safeguard their interests. Citizen advocates in this community have been friends for those who have no friends and no family; visited regularly those who have never had a visitor; believed in a person’s capacity to understand when no-one else does; noticed things that no-one else notices; and made time to be with someone who has little in their life but time.
We ask individuals to make a lasting voluntary commitment to someone else who needs a helping hand. We ask because we know that there are good people in our community who will respond. So if you have an interest in social justice and agree that people with a disability should be valued and included in our society, then you might like to join us in doing what needs to be done.