The process of matching someone with a learning disability with a local person in a Citizen Advocacy Partnership can take some time, and must be carried out sensitively and carefully.
Our Development Workers carry out this process in the following stages:
• Getting to know the person with a learning disability (or ‘Partner’), their interests, needs, issues – this enables us to form a picture of the kind of person we would ideally like to recruit to be their Citizen Advocate.
• Networking for the Citizen Advocate – this means using our knowledge of local contacts, both groups and individuals, to find the person we feel will be a good ‘match’ – for example they may live nearby, be of a similar age, share the same interests.
• Citizen Advocates are prepared to give their time freely and are committed to the principles of Citizen Advocacy. We request references and carry out a police disclosure check, in addition to running a preparation course for new advocates.
• Once a Citizen Advocate has been identified, we introduce them to their potential Partner and continue to meet together until we are satisfied that both people are comfortable with the ‘match’.
• Whilst an established Partnership is independent, i.e. it is up to the two people involved to decide how often they meet, what they do together etc., Development Workers offer ongoing regular support to each Partnership.