Tick for advocacy service’s first year

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Ashburton Anglican Advocacy advocates (from left) Warren James, Christine Sanderson and Annie...
Ashburton Anglican Advocacy advocates (from left) Warren James, Christine Sanderson and Annie Bately.
It’s been a good first year for advocacy services provided by Anglican Advocacy in Ashburton, with many of the 50 referrals resulting in positive outcomes.

The service runs under the umbrella of the Social Service Council of the Diocese of Christchurch and a similar service has run successfully in Timaru for the past five years.

Ashburton co-ordinator Annie Bately said a growing need for the service in the district had been identified a year ago.

The service was available to anyone who needed support and advocacy and was about improving the rights of individuals and making sure they were treated fairly.

Client issues covered a very broad spectrum, she said.

Family, employment and tenancy issues were some of the key areas where support and advocacy had been given.

"Often people came to us with one issue, but others came to light, which, in some cases, we can help them with or direct them to others.

"I’m proud with what the service has achieved over 12 months and many of our referrals have resulted in positive outcomes," Mrs Bately said.

The aim of advocacy was to create that win-win situation for both parties.

That could often be achieved by helping to diffuse a tense situation by encouraging better communication, understanding, empathy and respect.

Mrs Bately said advocates also supported people dealing with the likes of Winz, medical professionals, lawyers, teachers, the Police and social workers.

Mrs Bately and Warren James have been advocates in Ashburton since the start of the service here, and were joined by Christine Sanderson in April last year.

Mrs Sanderson, who has a background in elderly care and had a radio slot on Plains FM, said she had read an article in the Ashburton Courier about the launch of Anglican Advocacy and had been keen to offer her time and experience to support it.

"As advocates we are not there to solve problems, we’re there to point people in the right direction and to support them through the process."

Anglican Advocacy receives referrals from local social service agencies and also through self-referrals.

Contact the service on 027 220 0400.

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