VOCAL - Torbay support group that can be your voice

Group shot of charity volunteers

VOCAL group at one of its meetings - Credit: Submitted

Do you have a neighbour, or a friend, or even a family member, who has a learning disability, and struggles to cope with some of the life’s day-to-day issues and decisions?
Perhaps you, yourself, have a learning disability, and find it hard to express yourself in words, or on paper, when you need to get something done.
It could be that you, or your friend, need to complain to the council, or fill in a complicated benefit form, or, simply need to make people listen to you.
If any of these things apply to you, or to someone you know, then Vocal Advocacy may be able to help.
Vocal is a small, friendly, charity which is based in Dartington, but works throughout Torbay and South Devon.  
Advocacy, is a posh word which means “supporting people to make their own decisions and helping them to speak up about what they have decided”, and its services are free.
VOCAL won’t tell you what to do…..it will help you do what you want to do!  
This help will be given in total confidence, and no-one will know that you received VOCAL’s support unless you want them to.

Website group shot of charity volunteers

The VOCAL volunteers - Credit: Submitted


Vocal’s staff get involved in all sorts of things….Here are just a few of them.
People ask VOCAL for help if they need to move from unsuitable   accommodation, or are getting bullied at work, but don’t know how to tell their boss.
People tell VOCAL that they are lonely, and that they want to make friends, or want to join a group with interests like their own.
Perhaps they, or their children, are subject to a Care Order which they now feel is unnecessary. 
Many of us, in times of trouble, go to our families for support and advice, but some people don’t have a family close by, or maybe don’t have one at all!
If you are one of those unlucky ones, VOCAL is here for you!
Vocal is a membership group which anyone, who uses our services, can join.
It has regular “get-togethers”, and even weekly “family” meetings on Zoom. 
At meetings like these, everyone can chat about whatever they like, and VOCAL   helps its members with the technology to join in, if they want to.
Of course, VOCAL receives funding for its contract work with the Devon Advocacy Consortium, but its work in the local community is funded solely by donations, and its own fund raising efforts.
I, myself, have volunteered as an advocate for VOCAL, for seventeen years now, and have enjoyed every moment of it!        
VOCAL are always seeking volunteers to act as its advocates, working directly with the public, or as its trustees, who meet 6-8 times a year, and who use their skills to guide the organisation to further successes.
I wonder if any readers are considering volunteering in either role.
Short term training is provided, and, take it from me, you won’t believe just what a friendly organisation you are joining!
As a volunteer myself, I can commit just however much time I choose. 
I can go away on holiday without letting anyone down, and pick and choose my jobs!
All sorts of people volunteer, for all sorts of reasons. 
Some like to make new friends, some want to add to their C.V., and others want to see if it leads to career options…….but, for me, I volunteer for selfish reasons!
If, instead of watching television for an hour, I can pop round to help someone to write a letter, I am very happy to do so! Why?
Because, in return, I get a cup of coffee, make a friend, and then probably receive a note to say “Thanks so much for making such a difference to my life!” 
If that isn’t selfish, what is?? 

Contact VOCAL on 01803 868300
                        Or at
 vocaladvocacy@btconnect.com