Carers gain new qualification

TWO care volunteers have achieved a new national qualification, to help them help others.Glennys Francis from the Alzheimer's Society, and consultant for the partially-sighted Ron Crisp are both working as voluntary 'advocates' helping people with a range of things from filling in official forms to sorting out long-term care problems.

By Tracey Sparling

TWO care volunteers have achieved a new national qualification, to help them help others.

Glennys Francis from the Alzheimer's Society, and consultant for the partially-sighted Ron Crisp are both working as voluntary 'advocates' helping people with a range of things from filling in official forms to sorting out long-term care problems.

Glennys, based in St Peter's Street, Ipswich, said: "The course has given me an in-depth knowledge and enabled me to train others to be advocates, which will be necessary because dementia is probably the fastest growing epidemic in the western world.

"Their voices need to be heard but sadly the condition causes confusion so many people are not able to get their message across. Their carers are often too busy to find time to speak up. My role is to make sure they understand the rights and choices available."

Ron, from Swilland, who is in a wheelchair, said: "The training and support I have gained, allow me to offer advocacy in every subject, from helping people with benefit claims to social injustice."

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The pair were presented with OCN Advanced Awards in Advocacy Skills in Eye, today .

Ron and Glennys had completed portfolios to show what they had learned while on a pilot course in 2000-2001.

The Open College Network (OCN), North Anglia, promotes educational opportunities for adults and young people from all walks of life, by accrediting all kinds of learning in both the community and workplace.

The pilot course was run by Suffolk Social Care Services with input from community education

colleagues.

Participants therefore set up The Suffolk Advocacy Forum for advocacy providers. This group has now been meeting quarterly for a year around the county.

At Suffolk Social Care Services, workshops, conferences and training have been arranged over the past two years, by Jean Baxter, advocacy/rights officer, in the adult services department, and Jeanette Bramwell, childrens' rights officer.

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