Story: Michelle Cook
Advocacy Now is due to close at the end of January. The centre, originally funded by Burngreave New Deal for Communities, has been in operation since 2004.
NDC funding ran out last April, earlier than expected, but match funding from The Tudor Trust, The Lottery and PCT funding for a health project allowed the centre to keep running. Now the money has run out.
Advocacy Now differs from the Citizens Advice Bureau as it doesn’t give advice to people but provides support, helping with telephone calls, letter writing, etc.
Due to the ethnic diversity of Burngreave, the service is desperately needed, there are language barriers, mental health issues and lack of confidence in large sections of the community.
They provided three paid advocates who have a number of languages: Somali, Urdu, Punjabi and Arabic. Interpreters were also used. Home visits and outreach sessions were very popular – at the library, Yemeni Community Centre and Pitsmoor Surgery.
The centre offered valuable training to its volunteers, many finding paid employment as a result with Liberata, Roshni and the North Refugee Centre.
The remaining volunteers will be supported at the CAB as advocates there and the CAB hopes to recruit more volunteers in the future. The building will close in March.
Here is a list of alternative sources of help and support:
Pitsmoor CAB – 275 5376
Pakistan Advice Centre – 261 9130
Sheffield Law Centre – 273 1888