BDA Advocacy Service:

Text transcript:

Hello we are here to inform you about our Advocacy services.

SC- Hi my name is Siobhan Charnay; I am the Access and Inclusion Advocacy officer for Midlands- covering the area of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

NS- Hi my name is Neelma Saleem; I am the Access and Inclusion Advocacy officer for London covering 6 boroughs- Haringey, Southwark, Waltham Forest, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

If you live in these boroughs / or the areas we have mentioned, we can support you, but before that, we would like to explain what is Advocacy and how we can help you.

What is advocacy?

Advocacy is for when you:

  • feel that people are not listening to what you want;
  • when you feel you have been treated unfairly;
  • or when you feel that you haven’t been involved in decisions that affect your life.

The BDA’s Advocates will support you in various ways; helping you find out information, explore options and encouraging you to decide for yourself what you want to do.

How advocacy could help you

Advocacy is about working with individuals through a difficult situation. Advocates can help you stand up for your rights and can support you to:

  • Express your own wishes and choices
  • Develop confidence to tell services if you are satisfied or dissatisfied with how you were treated
  • Collect and understand information, ensuring that you are aware of the choices and the possible consequences of those choices.
  • Introduce you to other people who may be able to help you
  • Advocates can go with you to meetings and help you gain control of the situation

For example: 

  • You attend a GP appointment, but the GP Surgery has failed to book a British Sign Language interpreter, despite repeated requests.
  • You would like to complain, but you are not sure how.
  • Our BDA Advocate will meet with you and explain your right to have a fully qualified and registered BSL interpreter during your appointment with your GP.
  • Together we will go through the options available to you; you may want to re-book your appointment and make a written request for a BSL interpreter to be booked; or you may want to make an official complaint.
  • When you decide which option you want to pursue, our BDA Advocate will support you throughout the process.

Our service is confidential except in circumstances when people’s safety is at risk or a crime is involved.

We can meet you at a place of your choosing. That could be at home, at a coffee shop – wherever you feel most comfortable or safe.

If you would like more information, kindly search our contact details through the BDA’s website or fill out the self - referral form if you need assistance.

Our Starting Point and Our Service:

Text transcript:

Our starting point

We are passionate about the rights of Deaf people and are committed to ensuring Deaf people are able to exercise their rights to full access to the range of services available to the wider community.

Our service

We aim to provide an individual advocacy service to the Deaf community that is free, independent and confidential.


Text transcript:

Each Advocate must abide by a written policy of confidentiality that adheres with the Data protection Act 1998 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Advocates will understand that sharing information is only under exceptional circumstances and with appropriate individuals. Our Advocates will explain this to you.


Text transcript:

The BDA is an independent service which means that we’re not influenced by any statutory or non statutory organisation, so you can count on us to be on your side to support you through your issues. We will always offer you impartial advice. Our advocates will take all appropriate steps to avoid conflicts of interests occurring in their work with you.

Accessible and Communication:

Text transcript:


We aim to offer a range of access through online contact, email, Skype, FaceTime, text messaging and local drop ins. We will use a range of methods to promote awareness across the whole Deaf community and will work hard to adapt our approach to be accessible to our service users.


Our Advocacy service is for the Deaf community. Our Advocates will be fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) (In Northern Ireland this will be BSL and Irish Sign Language - ISL) and our service will be able to meet a range of communication needs.

Putting People First:

Text transcript:

Our support is centred around your needs and wishes. We will work with you, without judgement, to help you to convey your wishes and be respectful of your needs, views and experiences.  We ensure that information concerning you will be shared with you. Wherever possible you will be provided with an advocate that best meets your needs and will strive to remain with you throughout one case.

Evidence-based Practice and Professional:

Text transcript:

Evidence-based practice

Our work will continuously be monitored and evaluated –with your permission - and will form the basis of the development of our service and will contribute to the overall organisation’s commitment to equality for Deaf people in the wider community.


We strive to improve our skills and learning to ensure we can effectively support our clients to understand their rights and receive the best service possible.  We aim to have all our Advocates trained intensively.  We also aim to achieve a range of quality performance marks in recognition of our high standards.

Equality and Empowerment:

Text transcript:


We do not seek to discriminate and our services are open to all communities and individuals in the Deaf community. We will work hard to ensure this is embedded into the organisation’s practice and aim to ensure full bilingual access for our clients.


We work in a way that enables individuals to regain control through increased confidence and skills to self advocate.  We also invite you to influence the development and get involved in the running of our service if you wish.


Text transcript:

We have systems in place to ensure that our work complies with the law. We are open and transparent about the work we do to meet our objectives. We will give you the opportunity to tell us what you think to help improve our services. We will also produce an annual summary of our work which is available to all stakeholders including the general public on the Charity Commission website.


Text transcript:

We have a policy explaining how you can give feedback and make complaints.  Our policy will also give you a range of options on how to complain and also explain how we will address your complaint.

Recruiting Advocacy Volunteers:

Text transcript:

We have some exciting news; BDA is currently looking for volunteers who will be interesting in becoming an Advocate.

Advocate role will suit you if you are interested in:

  • Supporting deaf people to access services
  • Improving your confidence and meeting other professionals.

BDA will only offer, if you meet the criteria:-

  • Deaf/ Hard of hearing
  • over the age of 18
  • Fluent in BSL
  • Unemployed/ employed under 16 hours?
  • Live in London or Midlands

You do not need any advocacy knowledge or experience we will offer you Level 2 Advocacy training and provide you a work placement for you to get some real life experience supporting the deaf clients. You will need to be fully committed and ability to do this role as this can lead to successfully paid employment in the future.

To find out more contact us for more information. See below the contact details.

Thank you.

Contact details

Please contact our Advocacy Officers for more information about where you can meet our advocates.

For East London: Please contact Neelma Saleem, Access & Inclusion (Advocacy) Officer:

SMS/Facetime: 07921 286817
Skype/ooVoo: neelma_bda


For East Midlands: Please contact Siobhan Charnay, Access & Inclusion (Advocacy) Officer:

SMS/Facetime: 07540 749764
Skype: bda_advocacy_midlands
ooVoo: bda-advocacy-midlands1


For South Wales: Please contact Michelle Fowler-Powe, Access and Inclusion (Advocacy) Officer:

SMS/Facetime: 07766 600597
Skype/ooVoo: Michelle Fowler BDA