Blog: Advocate or Friend?

Posted in: News on August 8, 2013

I read an article in the Sunday Express recently highlighting a new project being rolled out in the East Midlands relating to ‘Befrienders’. The project aims to offer a befriending service in hospitals and care homes for a charge of £25 a visit. The project states it will visit relatives or friends for those who are unable to make a visit. As an advocate I firmly believe there is a need for a befriending service especially for older people in care homes who often have no visitors. However the service being offered in East Midlands talks about being an informal or formal advocate, offering to take care of the person’s finances if needed. An advocate of any type should never handle finances.Advocacy projects for many years have struggled to gain recognition for the term advocacy. I would suggest by offering to be an informal or formal advocate this new service stating that they are advocates is not benefiting the advocacy movement. Advocates are always aware of not crossing the boundary between the advocacy role and that of a befriender. I fully recognise the need for befriending but the kind of service I envisage being offered is with a strap line such as ‘A friend with a purpose – to be a friend!!’Betty MachinAdvocacy Manager


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