Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and get the services they need

South West Advocacy Network (SWAN) is a charity specialising in delivering independent advocacy and are commissioned by Dorset Council to provide advocacy to unpaid carers.

SWAN have developed a model which ensures everyone, including the most vulnerable members of our communities, have the same rights and opportunities as their fellow citizens.

What is a Carers Advocate?

Carers Advocates are specialist independent advocates who work in partnership with the carer and the cared-for person to ensure they are supported to have their needs met and their rights respected and upheld.

Who can be supported by a SWAN Carers Advocate?

All carers aged 16+ who care for individuals, who may or may not be known to Adult Social Care, but who are residents of the pan Dorset area.

What support is available?

The Carers Advocate can support and represent you, and the person you care for, during:

  • Care and Support assessments, planning and reviews
  • Carers assessments

Your advocate can also provide general, issue based advocacy to express your needs and wishes, ensure your rights and interests are represented, and to ensure you are able to obtain support and access services.

How to get support

You can refer yourself to SWAN’s Carers Advocacy Service or ask someone else to do it on your behalf.

If SWAN receive a referral from someone other than yourself, they will seek your consent before they begin to work on your case.

How will my advocate support me?

Your advocate is there to make sure you are fully involved in decisions that are being made for the cared-for person.

They will make sure you have meetings where you would like to have them, and on a day and time that suits you. Your advocate will help you decide if you want anyone else to be involved.

They can help you to understand your choices, make decisions and ensure your views are heard.

Your advocate can help you to challenge decisions made by your Adult Social Care team.

They speak for you without judging you or giving you their views and opinions.

Contact SWAN

Find out more about SWAN at


Tel: 03333 447928

If the person you care for would like an advocate to speak on their behalf contact Dorset Council on 01305 221016.