Sadly Action for Advocacy (A4a) have anounced that it has ceased trading. Martin Coyle is director of True Voice and a former chief executive of Action for Advocacy ands talks about the hard work in achieving the defined roles for advocate sin protecting people's rights. Read the full article hereThe Beth Johnson Foundation Advocacy Manager, Betty Machin has this to say:It is really sad to hear that A4a has ceased to trade as over the years there is no doubt they helped to ensure advocacy was on the agenda and seen as a separate entity. For years the advocacy movement has struggled both locally and nationally to ensure advocacy is on the agenda and with the demise of A4a the struggle could become more onerous. As Martin Coyle in his article describes advice and information are often used in the same breathe as advocacy when clearly for those of us involved in advocacy there is a clear distinguish between advice , information and advocacy.Martin highlights how many people do not have a strong and equal voice and advocacy helps to address this ‘balance of power’.As dementia advocates we frequently observe the imbalance of power for those living with dementia can be quite markedly noticeable, therefore this group of people particularly benefit from advocates. This is not to distract that many of us might need the service of an advocate at some point in our lives but with current cutbacks advocacy might not be an option we have.However it is important to add that here in Stoke on Trent the Commissioners recognise the importance of advocacy and therefore commission dementia advocacy, acknowledging the need to ensure the person with dementia has an independent voice when required. OPAAL continues to thrive as a second tier advocacy organisation and gives further opportunity for advocacy to be high on the agenda and to ensure that the knowledge contacts and cornerstone for advocacy that A4a developed can be maintained.