South East Autism Support (SEAS) Advocate - West Kent

  • Job Reference: SEAS-Advocate-July24
  • Date Posted: 9 July 2024
  • Recruiter: Advocacy for All
  • Location: West Kent Area (Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells)
  • Remote Working: Some remote working possible
  • Salary: £23,785.71 to £26,428.57
  • Bonus/Benefits: Health & wellbeing programme, on-site parking, sick pay
  • Sector: Public Sector, Social Care & Nursing, Charity & Non Profit
  • Job Type: Fixed Term
  • Duration: Until 31st March 2025 (with possibility for extension)
  • Work Hours: Full Time

Job Description

The deadline for consideration via KentJobs is 12pm on Friday 26th July 2024. Applications after this time will not be considered.

Interviews will be on Monday 29th and Tuesday 30th July 2024.

To apply, please send CV and Cover Letter to recruitment@advocacyforall.org.uk

 

Post: SEAS Advocate

Reporting to: SEAS Programme Manager

Hours: 37 hours per week

Area: West Kent (Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells)

Office-Base: TBC

Salary: £23,785.71 to £26,428.57 (Depending on qualifications and experience)

 

Summary

Our SEAS Advocates are responsible for the day-to-day running of activities across the South East Autism Support (SEAS) Programme run by Advocacy for All. Our funding comes from the Kent & Medway NHS and Local Authority Partnership Trust. We facilitate a range of support for autistic adults without additional care and support needs in the community, including the Touch Base Project (crisis alternatives) and All Together Autistic (peer support groups).

The SEAS Programme employs the principles of self-advocacy – supporting individuals to be independent and to have their own voices be heard in conversations around their health and social wellbeing. It is not our role to offer advice or to provide direct or representational advocacy to our members. Instead, we offer a safe, adaptive environment for supported self-help through information, discussion, and lived-experience perspectives. We are committed to fostering a strong sense of autistic identity amongst our community of members, with person-centred and co-created ways of working.

Each of our SEAS Advocates will work across all of our projects, with a blend of one-to-one and group facilitation. Advocates will offer supported time-limited self-help for a caseload of autistic adults at risk of crisis across Kent and Medway, both face-to-face and via phone/Zoom. They will also run regular peer support groups, with each Advocate taking responsibility for communication, facilitation, advertisement, and growth of the offer across a particular geographic region.

As part of a small team, our Advocates will be expected to work autonomously and use their initiative to adapt and expand the SEAS offer. We support our Advocates to maintain high levels of quality and consistency through regular supervision, team meetings, and our Autism-Forward Training (AFT) offer.

 

About Advocacy for All

Advocacy for All is a locally rooted advocacy organisation with a strong history, which exists to give people a voice through one to one advocacy and self-advocacy groups. We believe that Bigger Voices = Better Lives.

Our approach is person-centered, empowering and rights-focussed. We place a strong value on supporting people to be as independent as possible. We believe that being fair, valuing diversity and involving people are extremely important.

Advocacy supports clients to express their views, assisting them in safeguarding their rights and ensuring that those who are particularly vulnerable or excluded have an opportunity to take forward issues that are of importance to them.

 

Autism-Forward Training (AFT)

We are committed to providing a professional, sustainable service for our members. As such, SEAS Advocates will be expected to hold, or be willing to work towards, a directly relevant autism- or advocacy-related qualification at Level 4 or above.

Advocates will be expected to identify a relevant course and educational provider, apply, and complete the course of study independent of their working commitments.

Advocacy for All will fund tuition fees and expenses up to the value of £2,500 p/a.

A temporary change of working pattern to 4-day working week while be considered for the duration of the training course by request.

We also provide a range of in-house training and e-Learning to support Advocates to develop new skills and maintain core competencies.

Some examples of suitable courses:

  • Independent Advocacy Practice – Level 4 – City & Guilds
  • Autism Studies – PCert – University of Kent

 

Geographical Responsibilities

You will have primary responsibility for arranging, facilitating, and growing the group offer in the following area:

West Kent - Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, and Tunbridge Wells.

By March 2025, we hope to offer at least 2 monthly groups in each of these boroughs.

There will also be some travel outside of your area for 1:1 Touch Base project cases and to cover other groups, as required. We cover expenses over and beyond the equivalent of a return journey to your allocated office base.

 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • To maintain a reasonable caseload of Touch Base interventions – offering 6 weeks of goal-oriented, one-to-one self-advocacy sessions to individuals across Kent and Medway both remotely (phone or Zoom) and face-to-face.
  • To facilitate, sustain, and grow our All Together Autistic peer support group offer – with primary responsibility for passing across information in a timely manner, introducing new members to groups, and booking spaces/activities.
  • To use own initiative to make links with local and regional organisations, in order to represent the SEAS Programme in the areas in which you run groups.
  • To support with responding to enquiries from prospective members and professionals.
  • To support with the production and coordination of e-bulletins, newsletters, posters, flyers, brochures, and other assorted materials for the SEAS programme.
  • To support with the maintenance of records, databases and files, as needed.
  • To ensure that all discussions and meetings concerning the client are focussed on their needs and aspirations. To involve members in discussions about their support in meaningful and appropriate ways.
  • To communicate in such a way that the individual has a clear understanding of their rights & responsibilities, and are aware of what support is right for them.
  • To work with each person / group identified who requires support to meet his or her individual needs. Support all individuals in a way that promotes dignity and respect.
  • To empower individuals to challenge situations where they are not being offered adequate support, in order to foster independence and self-management in their ongoing mental health journey.
  • To travel within Kent and Medway, as the needs of project dictate and occasionally on short notice.
  • To support the ongoing development of the projects.
  • To have an overview of the SEAS Programme and provide cover for staff, where needed.
  • To work in line with Advocacy for All’s policies and procedures.

 

Person Specification

Essential Requirements

Desirable Requirements

 

Education and Training

  • A relevant Level 3 Qualification or higher (A-level or equivalent).
  • A willingness to undertake training and continuing development.
  • A full, clean UK driving license.
  • A directly relevant Level 4 Qualification or higher (Certificate of Higher Education or equivalent).

Knowledge and Experience

  • At least 1 year's experience of advocacy in a professional context.
  • AND/OR at least 1 year's experience of working with autistic adults in a professional context.
  • A high level of awareness about the needs of autistic adults, including what reasonable adjustments might need to be made in the workplace.
  • An awareness of the importance of data protection and GDPR.
  • An awareness (and a commitment to) the importance of equal opportunities.
  • An awareness of adult safeguarding.
  • Experience of working in a busy office environment.
  • Experience of home/lone working.
  • Experience of developing and maintaining effective administrative systems.
  • At least 2 years' experience of advocacy in a professional context.
  • AND/OR at least 2 years' experience of working with autistic adults in a professional context.
  • Experience of working alongside volunteers and supporting them to work effectively.

Ability

  • To communicate effectively and sensitively with autistic adults.
  • To work in a person-centred, non-judgemental way at all times.
  • To use initiative to work independently, identifying opportunities and challenges but also suggesting solutions.
  • To recognise the importance of professional boundaries and clear guidance.
  • To multi-task, manage own workload and meet deadlines in a busy environment where lone working might be required.
  • To use Microsoft Office products, including Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint.
  • To use online communication tools, including Zoom, Discord, and WhatsApp.
  • To network and liaise with external stakeholders, including professionals, other organisations, and members of the public.
  • To learn new things and be adaptable to changing circumstances.
  • To work productively and enthusiastically as part of a team.
  • To work flexibly and outside of office hours, as required.
  • To travel freely across Kent and Medway, with a full, clean UK driving licence and access to own vehicle.
  • To promote AfA and its values.
  • To represent AfA and the SEAS Programme at events.
  • To maintain and manage social media sites of various natures.
  • To produce newsletters, e-bulletins and other publicity materials to a high standard.

Communication

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • An ability to respond to enquiries in a professional and appropriate manner.
  • Able to keep calm under pressure and prioritise accordingly.
  • Familiarity with Zoom and online facilitation.
  • An awareness of person-centered working.
  • A commitment to innovation and a comfort with exploring new technologies.
  • An ability to network and foster collaboration with outside organisations, to further develop the SEAS model.
  • An understanding of social media and how to engage stakeholders through various platforms