SHEP has been involved in advocacy since the year 2000 and was to the forefront in the development of advocacy for older people through a project called Cork Older People’s Advocacy Service. A defining feature of SHEP’s model of advocacy has been pioneering the training and deployment of advocates in both volunteer and contracted capacities from the context and experience of active involvement in this work.

We participated very successfully in the pilot Advocacy Project for People with Disabilities which was funded by the Citizen Information Board (CIB). This allowed SHEP to offer a high level of representative advocacy through a full-time professional advocate between 2008 and 2010

Since 2010 SHEP Advocates have been deployed to support people facing the challenges of de-congregation (the closing of larger institutions and the shift to supported living in the community). SHEP has also deployed  advocates to provide advocacy for older people in residential settings consisting of regular visits to Nursing Homes providing them with group and individual advocacy.

Our intentions in 2021 are to:

  1. develop our SHEP Advocacy Project Team
  2. re-establish and extend our work in facilitating independent advocacy groups in residential and community settings with disabled adults
  3. develop training opportunities in advocacy to include, self, peer, group and representative advocacy.

Currently the SHEP Advocacy Project consists of a small team of advocates who have completed the SHEP Introduction to Advocacy course. Consideration is also given to prior learning and experience where people are interested in this work and who have not yet completed the SHEP Introduction to Advocacy course.

The work can include:

  • Involvement in particular advocacy activities e.g. The ‘Our Rights and Medication’ Advocacy Group, the Independent Advocacy Gathering.
  • Independent Group Advocacy Facilitation in residential and community settings that serve adults with disabilities including older people in nursing homes and people using mental health services.
  • The development and co-facilitation of courses and workshops that focus on all elements of advocacy e.g. self, peer, group and representative advocacy.
  • Attending SHEP Advocacy Project team meetings where we meet regularly to share learning and develop the work of the project.
  • Helping out with the administrative tasks of the Advocacy Project
  • Some one to one independent advocacy support may also be provided to disabled people who are struggling to get their voice heard and the rights respected with signposting to other independent advocacy services where necessary.

To support the Advocacy team SHEP provides supervision, garda clearance, and on-going support and guidance from SHEP’s Advocacy Co-ordinator. If you would like to know more about the SHEP Advocacy team please contact