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 can 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 do for you.
Please note that our service has been designed especially for people without Learning Disability.
ABOUT OUR SUPPORT WORKERS
When we look for Support & Advocacy workers, we choose people from social work, teaching and support work or similar backgrounds.
Our team are all ages and are from all backgrounds and walks of life. 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 (helping structure your day, planning leisure time, body doubling during home or personal tasks, reminders re.personal care, shopping, professional befriending)
20% = Non personal admin (job searches, skills training, preparing to go into or back to self-employment)
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, to visit your new home, go to a doctor's appointment or to your PIP assessment we can be really flexible, being a 'service in your pocket'.
Crucially, you are never bothering us or being 'too much'!!
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 claim Access to Work grants or Social Services direct payments
A Virtual Assistant is referred to by the DWP as a 'Specialist Support Worker (neurodiversity) - admin support across all business functions'.
If you would like a quote to put in with your Access to Work application then please download our free quotation template.
Once you have your grant we can set up a meet and greet. We will then arrange a second meeting to introduce you to the most appropriate VA/VAs for your needs.
Direct paying clients can claim our services back as a reasonable expense through their Accountant. Please speak to them for details.
Access to Work claimants booking with the promise of paying with their Access to Work grant are respectfully asked to sign and post their paperwork in the SAE provided promptly each month.
It takes 3-7 weeks for us to receive payment each time so your promptness is appreciated. We are unable to claim more than the hours you have used each month. eg. If you award is for 10 hours a week but you have used 3, we can only claim for 3.
We cannot claim extra and keep the funds in reserve for you. We are here to help you get the most out of your grant so never hesitate to ask about this. Thank you for your understanding.
NON PAYMENT OF INVOICES
If an Access to Work claimant does not sign and post the paperwork, therefore obstructing the payment of their invoice with a public sector funded grant, then Wired Differently has no choice but to report the claimant to the DWP and take the client, who is ultimately responsible for paying the invoice, to the small claims court.
We agree to the DWP paying us directly under the assumption that every hour worked will be paid for. Thank you.
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.
Wired Differently holds full Professional Indemnity Insurance with Policy Bee (Hiscox).
Clients must commit to a minimum of 3 hours of VA work a week. For the Support Service there is no minimum number of hours as long as you keep us updated in advance.
If you need to put things on pause then please give us a minimum of 14 days notice.
A few points to note based on our experience as a VA provider:
We support neurodivergent people with their admin tasks at admin assistant level.
The client is ultimately responsible for the correct spending of their Access to Work Grant and the payment of their invoices, although we do accept direct payment from the DWP.
We accept payment by bank transfer, Stripe/ bank card, Go Cardless Direct Debit mandate and PayPal.
We all have our ups and downs...
The VA service is insured for admin and not holistic work although we know, more than most, that offloading a bit can really help ND people with our emotional regulation at times!
We can also liaise with advocates and holistic support workers where a client has other support organised / accessibility needs.
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.
Sara-Louise Ackrill, our Founding CEO, is an Approved Member of the Society of Virtual Assistants UK Wired Differently is a registered Data Handler with the Information Commissioner's Office and our Virtual Assistants are Data Processors. Please note that all VA clients must be over 18 with an active trading business or the intention of creating one.
If more than 20% of your needs are non-work related then please ask about our new Support & Advocacy 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
"Support from Sara has been life changing"
- NG, Cheshire -
"Austin is something of a God-send!"
- NC, Suffolk -
"I'm so much more productive since I've had you working with me"
- LH, Hampshire -
"I need an ARMY of Rachels in my life. She is brilliant"
- AS, London -
Wired Differently BY SARA-LOUISE ACKRILL LIMITED Company no. 13224578 Vat Registration no. 430 6885 87
email@example.com | London, UK