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Sanford House

Address: Swindon Advocacy Movement,
Sanford House,

Phone: 01793 542 575

For the IMCA &IMHA service
Phone: 01793 616 562
Fax: 01793 423 124

The Shop

Address: Swindon Advocacy Movement,
The Shop,
37 Regent Street,

Phone: 01793 542266

For the IMCA &IMHA service
Phone: 01793 616 562
Fax: 01793 423 124

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SAM - A Brief History

In 2015 Swindon Advocacy Movement (SAM) proudly celebrated its 20th birthday.   Playing a key part in supporting people with learning disabilities and Autism living in Swindon, over the years SAM has enabled many hundreds of people to have a voice who would otherwise not be heard.   As a user led charity we have always had the needs of our members close to our hearts and central to all of our activities.

SAM started off providing volunteer ‘citizen advocates’ enabling people to live independently in the community on leaving long – stay hospitals. Our services then developed over the years to include specialist advocacy services for parents with learning disabilities, young people, people with high support needs and people with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism.

Our advocacy service for young people with disabilities ran from 2007 to 2015 and in that time made a difference to the lives of over 55 young people. As a development of that work we bid for and were awarded the contract to run the Swindon Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service for Young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families as the go through the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process

We have also worked directly with members to develop our self advocacy projects gathering the views of people living in Swindon and sending user representatives to inform local statutory service delivery and planning at the Swindon Learning Disability Partnership Board. We have run successful peer advocacy courses informing people with learning disabilities of their rights and empowering them to speak out and enable others to get help when needed, maintain independence and keep safe from harm. This work led to us developing ‘Walk in My Shoes’ learning disability awareness training run by trainers with learning difficulties and delivered to over 60 local care staff.

In January 2015 SAM services expanded to include statutory Care Act Advocacy, Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) and IMCA DoLs (Deprivation of Liberty). We have successfully transformed from a small local non-statutory advocacy service to providing a statutory advocacy service across a range of clients with care and support needs and this has been endorced by SAM achieving the Quality Performance Mark for Advocacy in April 2016.


Swindon Advocacy Movement (SAM) is a grass roots organisation that oozes empowerment and involvement. SAM has retained a friendly and open atmosphere and ethos whilst enthusiastically getting on board with the professionalism and inevitable bureaucracy that advocacy entails. They have recently expanded with several new contracts and have done well to have done so, so quickly.’ Swindon Advocacy Movement QPM Assessment Report.     

Advocacy Open Day

‘I just wanted to comment that it was a great way to find out more about your services, everyone we spoke with was so very friendly and helpful and we learnt so much from them.

If you do more sessions in the future I would definitely encourage colleagues to go along. Many thanks.

Swindon Borough Council Financial Assessment and Benefit Team

‘It was most informative. Thank you’   Senior Social Worker

IMHA Service

 A very caring team committed to providing an excellent service.Senior Practitioner

Care Act Advocacy

 ‘Sarah is a brilliant advocate she kept me informed throughout the process. She was also very professional and helped the service user to remain at home as per his wishes.’                                                                                                          Social worker


‘I would like to thank you for your support with S.

Under the Care Act it was good to have the opportunity to refer for an advocate for this gentleman (who does not lack capacity or have a mental health diagnosis). This gave him the opportunity to be listened to at a pace that enabled him to build a rapport and trust with the advocate. This helped him go over his options and ask questions to other professionals about his health, medication, rehab potential, future therapy and to be given honest answers by those who could answer his questions. He was able to be visited by the advocate as many times as it took him to understand, be supported to talk openly about his feeling and to make decisions about his future.

I believe this gave S the opportunity to take control of his life and gave him the confidence to air his feelings whereas before he was clearly not being listened to. S appears to be a different person since having advocacy support and I believe it has helped his family to understand his needs more and to build a closer relationship with his children.

As a professional it has helped me with my assessment.’     Social Worker

‘My experience with SAM has always been positive and I believe that staff truly have the best interests of the service user at heart. It is always a pleasure to work with advocates from SAM.Social Worker

 IMCA Service

 ‘Angie has been excellent. Her input has been invaluable. I look forward to working with her again in the future.’                                                                 Decision maker.

 ‘The IMCA took his role seriously and showed great empathy with the service users plight and circumstances.’ Decision Maker

 We have found Craig to be a great asset to W. He has taken time to find out about W’s interests and discusses things very focused on W’s interests.’ Decision Maker

‘Timely, professional service which put the service user at the heart of the procedure’. Decision maker

‘I feel that it helped that Ian had worked with carers before as he showed a genuine understanding for the carer’s situation as the first Best Interest meeting was quite an emotional one. It also helped that Ian attended the first and second Best Interest meetings as there was consistency in understanding of the issues.’ Decision Maker

 ‘All interaction I have with SAM is positive, open and professional’ Home Manager

 Learning Disability Advocacy

 Very happy with Rachel and what she did for me.   P

 Rachel is a very understanding and patient young lady. Have always found SAM to be very helpful. Carer

She helped me understand more things clearly and helped me find more things to do.J 

‘Excellent advocate, professional and friendly. ‘This service is vital to all the people who use our day service’   Deputy Service Manager

 Most of the legal words we did not understand. Anything we could not do Rachel was there to help. She is amazing J Thank you.’   L







Funders / Sponsers



Short Term Independent Advocacy

Community Mental Health Advocacy


Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Independent Care Act Advocacy

Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service