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Helping out . . . Anglican Care South Canterbury Advocacy Group members, led by social justice advocate Ruth Swale (second from left, in red) met for a recent meeting to discuss their recent advocacy work. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

The Anglican Care South Canterbury Advocacy Group is dealing with “more and more” employment issues, its spokeswoman says.

Anglican Care’s social justice advocate, Ruth Swale, who runs the group of volunteer advocates, said they often provided support for Work and Income meetings, employment disputes or other issues someone might require a support person.

She said the aim of the group was for the members to be a support person but they were not there to take charge of settling a dispute, nor were they there to always get the result a person wanted.

“[We are about] supporting but not endorsing people.”

The group’s members are all volunteers, except for Ms Swale, who is funded by Anglican Care South Canterbury to co-ordinate the members.

Some have connections to a variety of social organisations, including Community Trust Mid & South Canterbury, while others had a background in helping people settle claims, including one member who had moved from Christchurch recently and had helped residents with EQC earthquake settlements.

The aim of the advocates was to support people in issues for which they needed advocacy, as well as developing the person’s skills to self-advocate.

justice on behalf of Anglican Care South Canterbury began in mid-2014, when she was employed to write a report on “‘Significant Social Justice Issues in South Canterbury”.

This work evolved into the advocacy group, which now runs one-on-one support, as well as a variety of workshops around Timaru and the wider district.

The group will host a session with lawyer Julia Yoo tomorrow, concerning privacy and enduring power of attorney, on behalf of Community Law Canterbury.

The workshop will be held at the South Canterbury Women’s Wellness Centre from 11am to 1pm and people who are interested in attending can contact Ms Swale.

Advocacy Group member and counsellor Alexia Bensemann is also involved with other workshops, covering topics including mental health and loneliness.

For more information on the Anglican Care South Canterbury Advocacy Group visit www.anglicancare.org.nz/social-justice or phone Ruth Swale on 021 134-0307.