The Advocacy National Awards is held every two years and recognises exceptional contributions in the field of advocacy.

We are proud to congratulate one of our Independent Advocates, Nerj, who was crowned ‘Outstanding Advocate’ at this year’s National Advocacy Awards.

This award recognises people who truly make a difference to the world through their advocacy role. The news of Nerj being shortlisted didn’t come as much of a surprise to us, as we already know just how brilliant she is. To win the award, confirms that not only is Nerj an integral part of the Advocacy Focus team, but is also a role model Advocate.

About Nerj

Nerj is a multi-skilled Independent Advocate who not only fights ferociously for the people she supports, but also motivates, trains, inspires others and campaigns relentlessly for mental health awareness.

Our CEO Justine Hogkinson says:

Nerj is a force to be reckoned with. Her passion and commitment to the people she supports show through in every case. You often read about inspiring Advocates changing peoples’ lives, but Nerj’s strength and determination in fighting for the people she supports goes even further than that. Helping people is second nature to Nerj and making a difference to peoples’ lives is what gets Nerj out of bed. She continues to check in and support people long after she has received the outcomes and strikes up personal yet professional relationships with everyone she meets.

Not only is Nerj fully committed to improving the lives of others, but also to developing the sector and our services. Nerj was a key figure in the development of our Prison Advocacy Service and was part of the development team for our Children’s Return to Care service in Bradford.

Nerj also acts as a mentor to new Advocates who join our organisation and has personally been involved in the career development of many of our team members, she is always the first to offer training and personal and professional support.

Her line manager and Service Delivery Director, Leanne says:

Throughout Nerj’s time at Advocacy Focus, she has shown admirable devotion to the people she supports, always putting them first and enabling them to feel listened to, and be able to express their thoughts, opinions and wants for their life. She is not afraid to challenge inappropriate behaviours or attitudes to promote equality and diversity and uses this in her every day practice.

Nerj is a tenacious member of our team, and her passion for her work shines through on a daily basis. She is a role model for new starters at Advocacy Focus and mentors colleagues confidently and with ease. Nerj is an asset to the advocacy sector.

Nerj is passionate about campaigning to reduce the stigma of mental ill health in the workplace and in society, and is part of our Time to Change team. She positions herself as someone to call upon for professional or personal guidance or just someone to talk to if you feel stressed or having a bad day.

In addition to the win, we were also shortlisted as finalists in three other categories:

• Outstanding Service Award
• Best Co-Production Award
• Outstanding contribution to equality and diversity

Our Care Act Advocacy Service Shortlisted for ‘Outstanding’ Award

Our Care Act Advocacy service helps thousands of people across Lancashire. Being shortlisted at this year’s National Advocacy Awards 2018, shows us just how far we’ve come in developing and shaping this service across the region since the launch of the Care Act in 2014.

To learn more about Advocacy under the Care Act, click below:

Independent Care Act Advocacy

Best Co-Production; Our Justice for LB Toolkit Shortlisted

We have strengthened our Co-Production Strategy over the last 12 months to ensure best practice in the design, delivery and evaluation of our service and we are delighted that this has been recognised on a national level. Advocacy Focus’ co-production strategy included the story and journey of creating our new Justice for LB Toolkit which was created after the tragic and preventable death of Connor Sparrowhawk.

To download the toolkit, click below:

Justice for LB Toolkit

Equality & Diversity; Our charity is shortlisted

Equality and diversity is about making sure that people from all communities are included and treated fairly. We are proud to be one of the organisations leading the way in serving diverse communities, forming partnerships with community organisations and supporting a diverse staff group and volunteers.

To read more about our values, click below:


Building on the successes of 2016

At the first ever National Advocacy Awards in 2016, we were crowned the winners of ‘Outstanding Service’ for the Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA). Our Advocates support individuals who have been detained under the Mental Health Act (2007) by helping people exercise their rights and to access and understand information regarding their treatment, care and support.

Advocacy Focus worked in partnership with multi-agency partners to develop and implement the ‘Open Advocacy Protocol’ across numerous hospitals and facilities in the region. This ground-breaking approach meant that eligible patients were automatically referred into the service rather than a potential service user or family member having to request the service, when they were already experiencing a very difficult time or in distress.

In addition, Advocacy Focus were also a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Advocate’ category. Leanne Barber, now Advocacy Manager, was recognised as ‘Highly Commended’ for her work with over 550 vulnerable Lancashire residents with conditions such as dementia, acquired brain injury or learning disabilities.

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