Lisa profile August 2015 Lisa: Senior Advocate at Advocacy Focus Trained to Masters level in social work, after spending time working with Advocacy Focus, Lisa opted for advocacy as her vocation. What first brought you to Advocacy Focus? I first came to Advocacy Focus on a 6 month full time placement in 2011 as part of my Masters in Social Work. During my placement I handled a client case load providing information to clients about their rights, and advocacy support for issues relating to health and social care. I was assigned an experienced Advocate who trained, supervised and mentored me. I received excellent training in advocacy during that time and really valuable support from my colleagues and manager. Had you come across advocacy as part of your social work course? I had not heard of advocacy before and certainly had never come across the discipline as part of my course, but I was keen to take part and learn more. What made you choose to follow advocacy as a career rather than social work? After completing my Masters in 2012, I did take up a job in social work but having got under the skin of advocacy while at Advocacy Focus I quickly realised that advocacy was, for me, a much more rewarding career. In advocacy you are always on the side of the service user, helping them to understand the situation they are in, the choices available and helping them to find their voice to uphold their own rights. Seeing clients develop in confidence and skills to be able to self-advocate, I found to be empowering and motivated me in role. Also having been so well supported at Advocacy Focus by colleagues and staff, both in ongoing training as well as more informally with a positive and encouraging culture, I knew that working for this company would be my dream job. Has advocacy changed since your placement in 2011? Because of legislative changes, all advocates are now required to specialise in all aspects of advocacy instead of just one area. This has meant lots of additional training this year which I have really enjoyed. I think this is a much better way of delivering advocacy to our service users as it means if their needs change we can continue working with them within the range of advocacy provision available. This prevents the client from repeating their story and needing to develop another relationship with a new advocate which can be frustrating for clients.