No matter how good a system is, there are inevitably some people who fall between the cracks. That’s where Citizen Advocacy comes in. For over 30 years we have assisted individuals with intellectual disability who have no family or friends to speak up for them. Often the only people in their life are people who are paid to be there. Can you even imagine how that would be? In its 2009 report “Shut Out,” the Government identified that following the closure of grim institutions, most residents simply moved from being “shut in” to “shut out.” They remain socially isolated, unable to connect with community, or engage in work or leisure activities that many of us take for granted. Citizen Advocacy makes matches between an isolated individual with intellectual disability and a concerned citizen who finds the time in their typically busy life to voluntarily stand up for the rights of the person with disability, providing companionship and helping them reach their potential. Without our introductory process, many people would remain “between the cracks” - out of sight, out of mind. Having a citizen advocate by their side to help and support them, someone who is there simply because they want to be there, gives an enormous boost to the sense of well being of the person with disability. Citizen advocates frequently speak of the intangible rewards of knowing that, by choosing to be involved, one person’s life runs that bit smoother.
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