The hard-working team at Advocacy Focus are a family of over 60 people, including employees, volunteers and trustees, all dedicated to supporting the well-being of individuals in our local community.  

This page is just a short introduction to our Leadership Team, but look out for our news, blogs and articles each week as we introduce you to our Advocates and volunteers, who are essential to providing the best possible support and outcomes for those who need us.

Senior Leadership Team

Justine Hodgkinson – CEO 

Justine joined the Advocacy Focus team as Chief Executive Officer in 2014 at a time of real change affecting the delivery of advocacy services.  She has considerable experience in social work, charitable work and education, making her a spearhead for positive developments in the sector.

Born and bred in Lancashire, Justine made the move from the private sector to the social sector around 15 years ago, after realising that her real motivation for her work was to reach out to the most marginalised members of society and give much needed support to those whom are seldom heard.

In May 2018, Justine won the Excellence in Engagement Award at the North-West Employee Engagement Group (NWEEG) Awards 2018 for her role in transforming the Advocacy Focus culture.

John Hutchison – Operations Director

John joined the Advocacy Focus team as an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) before progressing through our charity ranks to Directorship level. He is instrumental in developing all of our strategic planning for the development of our organisation and what we can offer both now and in the future. John has lived in Lancashire for almost 20 years but gives us an insight into his Scottish roots by wearing kilts to award ceremonies. 

He says of his role: “In advocacy, you have to be able to communicate with many different types of people, from the person in need to the health and social care professionals who support them, and also with our partners and commissioners. Having true empathy, and the ability to communicate this in a compelling way, is a key part of our everyday work here at Advocacy Focus."

Leanne Hignett – Service Delivery Manager

 As Service Delivery Manager, Leanne ensures that we deliver our renowned, high quality and accessible advocacy services throughout the communities where we work. Leanne is a qualified Social Worker as well as a highly skilled Independent Advocate, with extensive experience in the Court of Protection arena as a Litigation friend and Rule 1.2 representative.

Leanne is a passionate and personable leader and has worked all over Lancashire and across all our main strands of advocacy, including Independent Mental Health Advocacy, Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy, Care Act Advocacy and Health and Social Care Complaints Advocacy. She also has a varied health and social care background, working with adults with care and support needs under the Care Act 2014 and working with young people transitioning through to adult services. Leanne further has extensive experience in working as a Relevant Person's Representative and in Safeguarding, particularly around issues of self-neglect. 

Management Team

Lauren – Volunteer Manager

Before joining Advocacy Focus, Lauren volunteered for Home Start, where she completed an impressive 1000 hours as a Family Support Worker.  She also volunteered at Lifeline; a young person’s drug and alcohol organisation, where she worked her way up to the position of Volunteer Coordinator.

Lauren is credited with implementing a new Volunteer Strategy at Advocacy Focus, which saw our intake of volunteers grow by an impressive 86%. Her role in not only managing but mentoring and developing our team of volunteers has seen her win a special commendation for at the upcoming North West Charity Awards 2017. Lauren has also won the Selnet Award for 'Excellence in Training and Mentoring' for the support she gives to her volunteers.

Advocacy Managers


Before joining Advocacy Focus, Becci worked as a Substance Misuse Worker, supporting people with complex needs. Through this, and similar roles, Becci has gained much experience of developing and delivering training and awareness sessions to professionals and service users.

With a first class degree in Counselling Skills with Therapeutic Studies and particular experience with the Mental Capacity Act and DoLS, Becci works as one of our four Advocacy Managers, managing, mentoring and developing a team of eight Advocates. Becci is a multi-skilled Advocate herself and is also our Time to Change champion, campaigning for mental health awareness within the workplace.


Before joining Advocacy Focus, Leanne has worked within the legal profession specialising in Criminal and Family Law. She worked within a Local Authority specialising in Early Intervention and worked for the Head of Service as a Personal Assistant.

Leanne has been with Advocacy Focus for over six years and was runner up in the National Advocacy Awards 2016 for Best Independent Advocate.  Leanne has extensive knowledge of working within the Court of Protection, specialising in the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. She currently manages a team of eight Advocates.


Aimee is a multi-skilled Advocate having worked at Advocacy Focus for over four years, she currently manages and develops a team of seven Advocates, as well as two student placements. 

Aimee started as an Independent Mental Health Advocate shortly after obtaining an honours degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, but soon specialised in Mental Capacity Advocacy, DoLS and eventually the full spectrum of statutory advocacy. Aimee is a Time to Change champion and is passionate about supporting others and beating the stigma of mental health. She recently won an ABCD (Above the Call of Duty) Award for her support, guidance and mentoring within Advocacy Focus. 


Sally is based in our Trafford office, managing a team of five Advocates. She has worked in advocacy for over 10 years, having begun her career in providing non-instructed advocacy for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in long-stay institutions.  

Since starting her career, Sally has developed a strong desire to help people take back control of their lives and has been instrumental in the development of advocacy services in Manchester. She has developed a Carers Advice and Advocacy Service, a Safeguarding Advocacy Service and the Manchester Advocacy Hub and is further developing and managing the Trafford Advocacy Hub for the citizens of Trafford.


We are always on the lookout for volunteers to join our team. If you are interested in becoming an advocacy volunteer, check out our volunteers section and contact us for more information! Our volunteers are essential to providing the best possible support and outcomes for those who need us!



We are fortunate to be governed by a wonderfully experienced and supportive Board of Trustees, who provide us with support at strategic level to ensure that Advocacy Focus is running in the most effective way possible as a registered charity and key community organisation.

If you are interested in becoming a trustee, please visit our latest vacancies page where you can apply at 

[email protected]

Could you be part of the Advocacy Focus team? Check out our latest vacancies page, you can apply at 

[email protected]

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