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Richmond Advocacy Service

What can Advocacy do for me?

The Richmond Advocacy Service is a free, independent and confidential service available for adults and carers across Richmond upon Thames.

This service is delivered by Ruils in partnership with POhWER (a national advocacy provider) and Taking Control (a local user-led charity supporting people with mental health needs). 

The Advocacy service can provide one to one support with an issue or difficulties that you are experiencing. For example, An advocate can provide support you to:

Advocacy supports individuals to:

  • Understand their experiences

  • Discuss issues and agree outcomes to work towards

  • Explain information

  • Understand rights and entitlements

  • Explore available options

  • Help make informed choices

  • Access services

  • Represent views accurately

  • Have time and knowledge to dedicate to working with individuals

Services offered at Ruils

Volunteer Advocacy

The Richmond Advocacy Service is here to help the residents of Richmond achieve their goals. Ruils can offer you a trained Volunteer Advocate to help you understand your choices; and get your voice heard. Whatever the issue from housing to accessing health and social care services to help with administrative work, we are here to give you the consistent support you need. We are user-led and aim to provide a personalised service that makes clients feel more confident, empowered and able to make informed decisions.

Examples of how Volunteer Advocates can help:

  • Help individuals prepare for meetings and attending with them

  • Write letters on the client’s behalf

  • Sort through paperwork to prioritise correspondence and deal with accordingly

  • Support individuals to make complaints

  • Attending job centre with client

  • Supporting the client to fill in PIP form

  • Liaison with healthcare and social care professionals

  • Reducing social isolation – both by providing their own company and encouraging clients to get involved in social activities

  • Attending health assessments

  • Help organising clients diary, ensuring bills paid on time

  • Supporting client to apply for grants they didn’t know were available.



Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions.

In addition to training up Volunteer Advocates and matching them up with members of the community, Ruils also helps facilitate the running of three self-advocacy Community Voice groups across the Borough for different (often ‘silenced’) groups in the community. These include: a group for older people, those with mental health issues, those experiencing addiction and a group for those with physical disabilities and sensory impairments.

How do I refer myself or someone I know to the Advocacy Service ?

Call:  Freephone 0300 200 0022 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, 9am-7pm Thursday.

Minicom: 0300 456 2364

Text: Text the word 'pohwer' and then your name and number to 81025


Skype: pohwer.advocacy

Fax: 0300 456 2365


 How the partnership works:

Step 1) Client contacts central number for POhWER or a referral is made to them

Step 2) POhWER decide whether case is suitable for Community Advocates or Volunteer Advocates

Step 3) If suitable for volunteers, the Volunteer Coordinator meets client to understand case in more detail

Step 4) Volunteer Coordinator matches client with suitable Volunteer Advocate. If case is mental health related, Volunteer Advocates will work with Taking Control. For all other cases Ruils will support

Step 5) Volunteer Advocate will meet client with Volunteer Coordinator to ensure both sides are happy with the arrangement before advocacy commences


If you would like to refer yourself or someone you know to the service, or if you are interested in having your own advocacy drop-in or self-advocacy/ community voice group, please contact the ruils service at 020 8831 6084.

Philipa (Ruils volunteer advocate) has been working with Mrs James, a 92 year old lady who lives on her own with no children or family. She grew up in institutions and has little education. When Philipa first met Mrs James she hadn't left the house in years, and was living off dog food. Now with Philipa's support, Mrs James has a weekly shop, several groups to attend, a free bus pass, and a back payment of £13,000 from over paying rent.