My name is John McLaren and I was referred to Ceartas back in 2008 by my advocacy worker from another project. At that time I was in respite with a clear idea of what my goals and ambitions for the future were but lacked the right support to help me address them.
I got a call from Andy at Ceartas who introduced himself as the advocacy worker who would now be working with me. Right from the start Andy supported me to prepare for and attend meetings – we talked things through and we wrote things down. Andy offered me a voice when I found it difficult to get my points across on my own.
The support I received from Andy enabled me to get onto the Housing Register and into Local Authority Housing.
Andy also provided me with information on the benefits that I may have been entitled to and arranged for me to go along to the Citizens Advice Bureau for more information on these benefits which I now receive.
Over a period of time Andy and his continued support have given me self-esteem and confidence to become my own advocate in situations. Andy’s help has had a positive effect on my life which I felt was chaos; he has been a constant support and a good listener and I am happy that he has been on this journey with me.
I am now involved with Ceartas’ Still Game group and help with planning and presentations which I really enjoy.