Independent Generic Advocacy Service in Universities
With over 14 years experience of working in the mental health sector, UniAdvocates by Advent Advocacy have the knowledge and expertise to provide effective independent generic advocacy support to students.
Our aim is to empower students to make decisions and overcome difficulties that affect their university life.
Our team of professional advocates work independently from in-house university services, offering impartial and non-adversarial independent advocacy to students in need of alternative support. .
We work closely with university and student union support services, so that our offer to students compliments those already available. Our role is to act as a sounding board and signposting facility, as well as enabling students to have a voice.
Our UniAdvocates can support with:
- Helping the student’s voice be heard, especially during difficult periods and when suffering with mental health problems.
- Preparing students for meetings and providing support during and after.
- Making decisions about managing workload, deadlines, attendance and academic issues.
- Engaging in social and cultural life, including accommodation worries.
- Communicating with funding authorities and assisting with employment issues.
- Making complaints, internal or external.
- Advocating on behalf of students when appropriate.
Our focus is to help students to help themselves – we will actively support them to find the right help.
We are committed to Listening, Representing and Empowering
Please ensure that you complete and return the referral form: UniAdvocates Independent Generic Advocacy Referral Form. Or you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 01325 373 301
If you are a university that would like to commission our advocacy service:
Please email us at email@example.com or you could call our office on 01325 776 554.
What Do Partner Universities Say About our Service?
“We have been working with Advent Advocacy for 4 years and I know many of our students have really appreciated the service over that time. They are knowledgeable, friendly and approachable, and I’m always confident in referring students on to Noely with a wide range of issues. In extremely challenging times for Higher Education, it’s an incredible source of support for students and a really valuable resource for staff. Thank you Advent!”
“Advent Advocacy and SMSU have been working in partnership for over two academic years now, and I can’t recommend their services enough. They are efficient, professional, great with our students, and are always keen to go above and beyond and grow the service. We are proud to work with Advent Advocacy and hope to maintain and grow our partnership in years to come!”
“We have been very pleased to work with Advent Advocacy. It gives us a place to refer vulnerable students that is independent of the College, when they are trying to navigate through what could otherwise feel quite intimidating College processes. The service ensures that the student voice is properly heard throughout. Their advocates work effectively and have a great support structure behind them.”
“Advent Advocacy has been a great addition to the support that we provide to our students at UWL. Advent Advocacy have been brilliant at supporting our students with matters that fall outside of our remit, such as attending GP appointments, help with applying for benefits or speaking to landlords to help with housing disputes, for example.”
The Student Mental Health Charter
We know that many universities are signing up to implement best practice and that Universities UK have developed an evaluation framework to support this, called Step Change: Mentally Healthy Universities.
Our independent advocacy service can bolster best practice and contribute to evidencing the key practice areas required of universities by the charter.
Learn: Taking feedback from all corners of the student population can be difficult. UniAdvocates can help to access the voices of vulnerable students – those least likely to voice their experiences. Feedback in our monthly reports to universities, will provide key information on the support provided and outcomes, which can contribute to demonstrating how the university is inclusive of their whole population, which informs strategic decision making.
Support: We can offer our service throughout the whole year to all your students. UniAdvocates are trained to act as an additional access point for individuals with mental health problems and assist them to find further support or solutions. We are accessible remotely, making it easier for most students liaise with our service. Students often find it easier in the first instance to discuss their concerns with an independent advocate before approaching their university directly. Our help and guidance serve as an impartial and unbiased safe space to explore their next steps. All our advocates receive regular training, supervision, and quality assurance measures.
Live: Adjusting to life away from home in a new environment, and with strangers, creates stress and worry for even the most confident student. Living arrangements and finding new friends can be a daunting prospect and lead to student dissatisfaction. Independent advocates can assist students to take steps to find a solution, this can make all the difference to whether they stay or leave. Being able to speak up about a problem takes courage and is often the biggest stumbling block to resolving matters early.
Enablers: At UniAdvocates we recognise the importance of confidentiality, which is a fundamental part of our Advocacy Quality Performance Mark (QPM). Confidentiality is key to building trusting relationships with students. All students are informed of our safeguarding duties and responsibilities. Our independent advocates are also supported by our in-house safeguarding team.
We actively promote our service in accommodation settings, student unions, wellbeing centres and via social media, linked to the university. Our promotional materials use QR codes, making it easier to capture details of how to contact us.
Transitions: There are many transitions for students to navigate. Into and out of university, as well as the transitions between modules, courses, and year groups. Each of these can prove challenging to many individuals. Being able to check in with an independent advocate to explore who to talk to and what to say, really helps students learn to self-advocate. For some, having an independent advocate attend a meeting or discuss the outcome, gives them the courage to be heard.