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Service User Trustee The Advocacy Project

Our vision is a world in which every person has a voice.

  • Location: Home working / London

About The Advocacy Project

We help people who are marginalised or vulnerable because of their circumstances make their own choices about their lives. We support them to speak up and help improve important services we all need. We want to make sure people across all age and care groups – including learning disability and mental health – can:

  • Voice their concerns
  • Understand their rights
  • Make effective choices about what happens in their lives

We do this through advocacy services that support people individually, and user involvement projects that help organisations improve the services they offer. Find out more by visiting our website.

Overview

The Advocacy Project is looking for a new trustee with lived experience of mental health issues or a learning disability to join our Board of Trustees. This role represents a fantastic opportunity to support people with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues or older people to say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and get services they need.

As a member of our Board of Trustees, you will have significant influence over the success of our charity. With your fellow trustees, you will shape our long-term strategy and be guardians of our vision, mission and values. You will make sure we are lef and manged effectively, take the well-being of our service users, employees and volunteers seriously and are accountable to our stakeholders.

This role will take time and commitment — and you will be influencing the steps we take to help build a better world.

Our Governance

Trustees need to be wholeheartedly committed to The Advocacy Project’s vision and work, and set a standard of conduct for the entire organisation by acting with utmost integrity at all times. They are expected to be advocates of our work and to promote the organisation positively and with passion externally. Effective trustees will challenge the chief executive and the organisation to make sure the aims are being met appropriately and effectively. They will treat all stakeholders, including service users and staff, with respect.

Trustees are expected to commit time to studying papers, preparing for and attending meetings, following up on specific tasks with other trustees, liaising with the chief executive or other staff and attending events such as fundraising or advocacy events.

 

Being a Service User Trustee

It’s incredibly important to us that service users are at the heart of everything we do — and that includes our governance. We want people with lived experience of the issues we work on to help steer our direction as an organisation.

As a service user trustee, you will have lived experience of a mental health issue or a learning disability. You will have used mental health or learning disability services — either ours, or similar services run by other organisations. You need to have an understanding of advocacy and a passion for helping The Advocacy Project be the best it can be — but you don’t need to have previous experience of charity governance.

We currently have two service user trustees, who play a key role on the board and make an essential contribution to discussions and decision-making. We will give you a full induction, with a ‘good trustee guide‘ in easy read format if you would find that helpful.  You will be mentored by the existing service user trustees as you build your experience of being a trustee. For each board discussion, we will give you the information in a format that’s accessible for you, and support you to prepare ahead of each meeting. In all our meetings, we make sure everyone uses straightforward language to explain their points — because that helps all of us make better decisions.

How to Apply

Click here to upload your application via The Advocacy Project website

Please send us:

  • your CV (including a list of any other organisation you are currently a director or trustee for)
  • a covering letter explaining why you are interested in joining our board, and how your experience and qualities fit the person specification
  • name and phone number for two referees (we won’t contact them without your permission)

Please let us know if you have any accessibility or communication needs so we can support these if we invite you for interview.

If you have any questions, please email Judith Davey: Judith.Davey@advocacyproject.org.uk

Philippa-Fabry-Director-of-Not-for-Profit-Peridot-Partners

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Philippa Fabry

View profile

We help people who are marginalised or vulnerable because of their circumstances make their own choices about their lives.

We support them to speak up and help improve important services we all need. We want to make sure people across all age and care groups – including learning disability and mental health – can:

  • voice their concerns
  • understand their rights
  • make effective choices about what happens in their lives

We do this through advocacy services which support people individually, and user involvement projects that help organisations improve the services they offer.

Our advocacy services are independent, confidential, and free to those receiving the service. Together, we’re standing up for rights and supporting people to have a say on the issues that matter to them.

We’re very proud of the quality of our work is being recognised more widely. In recent times we’ve been awarded flagship contracts — including mental health advocacy at Broadmoor Hospital, and working with NHS England to make sure the people who use services have a real say about how they are designed.

This is an exciting time for us as an organisation — we’re growing and developing, bringing new people on board, and exploring new ways of doing things. It’s part of our plan to reach more people and have an even deeper impact on their lives. We hope you’ll join us.

What we care about

We want everyone to be able to make informed choices and active decisions about how they live their lives. By working with people who are vulnerable or excluded, we address the challenges people face having their voices heard. We’re committed to being a strong, well-managed and dynamic organisation so we’re best-placed to make this happen.

Our Vision for the Future

Drawing on our strengths and expertise, we are determined to focus more deeply than ever on prioritising those in greatest need and ensuring that the voice of lived experience s at the heart of all we do. We will continue to address unmet needs in culturally appropriate innovative ways using a blend of digital and using traditional approaches. This will benefit more people more powerfully.

Our User Council

Our passion is for people to be actively involved in the services they use — and this applies to our organisation as much as any other. We have a council made up of representatives from across all our services. They share feedback and ideas from people who use our services and let us know if we’re fulfilling the high standard we aspire to. As well as guiding us to improve what we do, the user council helps us choose the right staff.

Our Board of Trustees

We believe good governance is about genuinely holding ourselves to account for making a positive difference to the people we work with. We are proud of the diversity of our board as it reflects the communities we work in. Our board includes two service user trustees, and many board members have lived experience of the issues we work on. The expertise our board provides through lived and professional experience means we’re properly informed to make the right decisions about what we do.

Person Specification

Having a diverse board is especially important for us: read more about diversity on our board. We encourage applications from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

The time commitment for this role is 5-8 days per year.

Essential experience

  • Personal experience of using mental health or learning disability services

Personal Qualities

  • A strong commitment to The Advocacy Project, its vision, mission, and values
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively
  • Cultural sensitivity; skilled at putting a commitment to equality and diversity into action
  • Good judgement
  • Able to ask probing questions and hold the senior leadership team to account
  • Ability to commit time to perform the role well, including occasional travel in the UK and attending events out of office hours

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