Derek and Jed met at the Hope and Recovery conference held in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire in 2009.
At the conference Jed was one of the speakers and was discussing his journey navigating
all the Universal services with his substance use and mental health issues and how education
was a route that helped him move on in his life.
REACH Advocacy was formed in 2010 and was called Lanarkshire Recovery Consortium (LaRC).
This started us on a journey working in partnership with Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) to devise and develop the first SQA Approved advocacy training, accredited by the Scottish Credit
Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 7.
We were mentioned in the Christie Commission on the future delivery of public services (2011 p31)
We structured the award based on the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010 and using the PANEL Principals with our lived experience of representing ourselves, friends, and family.
We received SQA approval of the advocacy practice award in 2013, we then decided to work with the SQA to obtain accredited training centre status, so we could put individuals through SQA accredited awards, this was achieved in 2015.
As a group we thought that securing funding would be straightforward but we soon realised that this was not the case and that funders/commissioners fund a problem not the person, this is known as the charity/needs approach to funding. As we were rights based, we were constantly refused funding we were informed that we did not fit with the major funders strategy.
This must change for a Human Rights Based Approach LaRC was self-funded from 2010-2017 we received support from family and friends to continue during this time. We passionately believed in the idea and vision of education and training utilising representation, rights, and responsibilities. In 2016 we met with Professor James Mitchell, Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh Professor Mitchell was a member of the Christie Commission on the Delivery of Public Service We discussed our vision and the difficulty of securing funding.
Professor Mitchell wrote Orphan Problems regarding us.
We were fortunate to secure funding from the Big Lottery in 2017, which enabled us to be the first dedicated rights-based advocacy service for substance use & mental health and we also delivered the SQA advocacy award to local individuals.
In March 2018 we went into partnership with Scottish Recovery Consortium (SRC) to train individuals/family members with lived experience directly or indirectly of substance use disorder this project is titled National Recovery Advocacy Network (NRAN) In 2019 we trained 5 individuals in Argyll & Bute in partnership with Lomond Argyll Advocacy Service (LASS) Argyll & Bute Alcohol & Drug partnership (ADP) and SRC.
In 2019 we trained 5 individuals in Argyll & Bute in partnership with Lomond Argyll Advocacy Service (LASS) Argyll & Bute Alcohol & Drug partnership (ADP) and SRC.
In March 2020 we trained 9 individuals with South Ayrshire ADP and SRC.
In April 2020 we were fortunate to obtain funding from CORRA foundation to hire 2 new staff to help with the SQA advocacy training and accredited centre status.
We are delighted to report that in October 2020 the first group of rights-based advocates from the Argyll & Bute locality and in Partnership with LASS have secured funding to have a rights
based advocacy service for substance use & mental health. We are hopeful this will happen in South Aryshire with local servicies.
This can be replicated in every locality with REACH’s advocacy training and support from funders and commissioners.
In December 2020, 7 candidates from the South Ayrshire group completed their awards.