SUPPORT & ADVOCACY*
We are dedicated to neurodivergent Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Small Business Owners
When we are neurodivergent, we struggle with our Executive Function including emotional regulation. This can play havoc with our professional and personal lives! It's not a measure of how bright we are, it doesn't negate how highly capable in other areas of our lives we might be, but it CAN lead to horrible stress, shame and a reduction in our capacity to undertake daily tasks, which is what a Support Worker and Advocate can support you with.
Please note that our service has been designed especially for professionals and students without a Learning Disability and therefore people who would not attract DWP, social services or charitable support
ABOUT OUR SUPPORT & ADVOCACY WORKERS
When we recruit Support & Advocacy workers, we choose people from social work, teaching, support work or similar backgrounds.
Our team are all ages and from many different backgrounds. We have all studied Information, Advice and Guidance Level 2, as well as undertaking our in-house bespoke Advocacy training.
Our unique "Support Worker in your pocket" service is an 20/80 split of support:
80% = Personal Support and Advocacy - eg. helping structure your day, planning leisure time, body doubling during home or personal tasks, reminders re.personal care, shopping, professional befriending, helping you to communicate with professionals respnsible for your health and wellbeing. Speaking to utility companies, the DWP and consumer rights organisations on your behalf.
20% = Non personal admin - eg. job search, planning and booking skills training, preparing to go into work or self-employment. Communicating with the DWP, social services, GPs and Practice Managers. Supporting you with complaints processes, seeing your MP etc.
what can we help with?
✅ Accompanying you to formal appointments, virtually
✅ Reminders, accountability and helping you prioritise
✅ 'Downloading' to us & organising your thoughts
✅ Body doubling for 'life admin'
✅ Making and/or taking calls for you. Being your voice.
✅ Job searches and preparing for employment
✅ Personal care reminders
✅ Planning leisure time
✅ Neutral sounding board
✅ Processing your Access to Work claims
OUR PROMISE TO YOU
The Support and Advocacy service exists so neurodivergent people can have support with 'adulting and life admin' as our clients affectionately refer to it.
A feature of this is you can download to us on WhatsApp 24/7 and we can help you organise your thoughts.
You can leave us task lists, brainstorm with us, share frustrations, ask for body doubling and other strategies for daily difficulties.
Whether you want us to come shopping virtually, to visit your new home, go to a doctor's appointment or to your PIP assessment we can be really flexible, being a relatable and convenient 'service in your pocket'.
Crucially, you are never bothering us or being 'too much'!!
* A note on 'Advocacy'. Our company does not work in debt management or anything financially oriented. Nor are we legally trained. We perform the kind of 'informal advocacy' that any support worker does as part and parcel of being in their role, supporting people with a communication difficulty (for reasons of processing speed, language, memory, caetextia, alexyithymia etc.) This is also the same as a relative or friend or employer advocating informally. However, because statutory services and charities are not funded to support professionals and students who do not have an intellectual impairment or legal status of vulnerability, we offer this service for people who are in need of support to help with the load on them and their mental health. For any questions about this innovative service please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (We do not take commission for the work we do).
If you are looking for a Support Worker but need a visual, take a look at our process chart:
Our Quotation Template is for those who need it for Access to Work or their Employer. We only have one hourly rate, regardless of how many hours are needed.
If there is anything that is unclear, please contact us.
Q&A WITH SARA-LOUISE ACKRILL
ON OUR SUPPORT & ADVOCACY SERVICE
1) Sara, why did you start the Support and Advocacy Service?
I used to work as a disability specialist for the government Work Programme and I became aware of the high percentage of people who are house bound. There are lots of services available but they are modelled on meeting away from the home, which can create huge anxiety and tension.
In house services are seen as a carers, and social services criteria would mean professionals or people in higher education wouldn’t be able to access the service.
It was when I needed to go for a regular smear test in a new location, without my former advocate being there to come with me in person, that I realised I could do with someone coming with me virtually… and that was when it dawned on me that everyone should be able to access virtual support.
PAYING FOR OUR SERVICES
Many of our clients pay direct, but if you are planning to pay for the Support & Advocacy service with an Access to Work grant please speak to Julie our Coordinator.
ATW Support Workers are required to support the client in their existing work or self-employment. However we can add in Support and Advocacy where it is related to your work situation and within the remit of the grants purposes. Some of our clients work with several members of our team for more traditional VA support, some Support and Access to Work or other benefits help. We try to tailor things where we can.
Do also look into: funding from the Disabled Students Allowance; applying for and using the Personal Independence Payment; social services payments; small grants from your local Parish or the Turn2Us grantfinder. Many people put the invoices through their books where they are self-employed as a Reasonable Expense for a Disability (speak to your Accountant about this)
NON PAYMENT OF INVOICES
Grant recipients are legally responsible for the payment of their invoices. We do accept payment in arrears from the DWP.
Handover and induction time needs to be paid for as it would be for anyone in a paid professional role.
Overseas clients may be required to pay a month in advance. This is because the cost of chasing unpaid invoices when clients are based overseas is prohibitive but we do not want to deny support where we can provide it.
Wired Differently holds full Professional Indemnity Insurance with Policy Bee (Hiscox).
For the Support Service there is no minimum number of weekly hours as long as you keep us updated in advance and your Support Worker is able to work adhoc if needed.
If you need to put things on pause though then please give us a minimum of 14 days notice.
A few points to note based on our experience as a VA provider:
We accept payment by bank transfer, Stripe/ bank card, Go Cardless Direct Debit mandate and PayPal.
We all have our ups and downs...
We have had the odd instance where clients have harassed our team, shouted at us, sworn at us, withheld payment or acted inappropriately for the context of a professional relationship. We will never tolerate this.
Where we deem we are not a good fit for a client, or vice versa, we will take swift action to terminate the relationship.
RSD and emotional dysregulation affect all of us but this is not an excuse to treat our team without the respect they deserve.
Psychological safety is a priority in all we do.
Wired Differently is a registered Data Handler with the Information Commissioner's Office and our Virtual Assistants are Data Processors.
Please note that all Support clients must be over 18. Please ask us about support for under 18s who are in education.
If more than 20% of your needs are directly work related then please ask about our Virtual Assistant service.
DBS CHECKS Our Virtual Assistant and Support & Advocacy Workers are not in a DBS role, unless a specific client is legally defined as Vulnerable under the Care Act 2014 (UK). It is a criminal offence to attempt to DBS check someone who is not both in a DBS appropriate role and working with someone coming under this definition. For more information, please visit the GOV UK website
"Professional, on it, warm, strong in his approach but discrete. Yes, I feel well supported by Larry thank you", LM, Devon
"I want to thank Theresa for all the help and follow up that she has put into my ATW grant this past 6 months. Without her there is no way I would have gotten any use out of my grant" YR, Scotland
"I don't know how and your team do it but I am really impressed with what you've put together in terms of wrap around support. And it's even more special knowing you've done this all virtually!" WC, Suffolk
"Noria is excellent with emotional support. She has been brilliant", AZ, Midlands
"I feel safe going into a PIP tribunal with you there. I might get upset and I don't want to blow my chances. But most of all I know I have you afterwards, when I have ups and downs wondering if I got it or not". MP, Chester
Wired Differently by Sara-Louise Ackrill Limited
Company no. 13224578 Vat Registration no. 430 6885 87
Based in the UK and internationally focused