What people have said about us....
I am a mother of three beautiful children. 14 years ago I was diagnosed with an illness called Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis which is an Auto Immune Connective Tissue Disorder.
Two of my children have recently been diagnosed with both health conditions and Autism. I Have known Ionie Willis for over 12 years. We first met in the year of 2000, when I had to flee domestic violence and lived in a refuge for a short while with my children. At that time Ms Willis was working for an organisation called NACAAP (Newham African Carribean & Asian Advocacy Project).
Her worked has been quite extensive in providing advice, advocacy and counselling services for both me and my children. This was a very difficult period for me in my life and the support that I received from Miss Willis was irreplaceable. She was very supportive and shared with me information about other support networks and how to go about receiving such services from the local authority for the children.
Ms Willis is very professional in the way in how she implements her work, she has the confidence, experience and understands the importance in handling very sensitive and difficult core issues surrounding children and families. Through a client and parent partnership she is able to, with the trust of the parent, to share information with other professionals to build better and sustaining relationships between the family and local authorities and can act as a go between at times of difficulties.
More recently Ionie Willis is the co-founder and proprietor of Tips4chioces providing a similar service however this time to include young people, the elderly and individuals. The special and unique technique used in her advocacy service provides individuals with a voice to ensure that their needs and wishes are made known, that their views are respected, and that their rights are protected. Most of the time young people, parents and individuals can feel threatened or even persecuted when sharing the needs of there family with professionals. Advocacy can be used as a means to dampen the situation and to make it a more comfortable place for individuals.
Sometimes it can seem a bit daunting and the presence of an advocate can at times ease the pressure. A person, for whatever reason may not be able to make themselves heard, understood or accepted. They may not for whatever reason be able to communicate their needs or wishes. Nor might they know what options are open to them or understand the decisions being made for them. An advocate can act as a voice for a person, champion their rights and present their needs and wishes. An advocate can also act as enabler and support a person in speaking up for themselves.
Advocacy for me was a strong theme and one of the things that I and my family have been supported by Ms Willis and her team at Tips4chioces.
I would like to take this great opportunity to thank Ionie for all her support and collaboration over the years. I strongly recommend others both children and parents to get in contact with Tips4chioces.co.uk for the latest in Advice, Advocacy, Counselling and Training.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.
My name is David. I am Kevin’s main carer. Kevin has 4 rib cerebral palsy with restrictive expression. I got to know Ionie Willis in October 2011 when I started working with Kevin through my employer Mrs Agnes. Mrs Agnes had spoken well of her even before I personally met her and realised what an indispensable help her services are.
In October 2011 we were instructed by Kevin's Social Worker and manager in the presence of Ionie to accompany him to a respite accommodation they had arranged for two weeks while they adopt his room according to his needs. When we arrived there on a Saturday a lot changed within a short time. Out of panic Kevin bit his finger and we had to take him to the hospital. When we retuned, we were informed that there was no prior arrangements made with Social Service that we would be assisting with Kevin's personal care and feeding as we were previously instructed by his Social Worker.
On Monday we later heard from the Social Worker that there had been allegations made against us that we had abuse Kevin. There were meeting after meeting held with safe guarding team, complaint department and Social Worker. Ionie was with us and the family all the time. She explained to us what our rights were, requested us to write a report of what happened which she took along with her to all the meetings.
She was able to identify what was missed from the Social Service side like feeding guidance and care support plan which were never sent to the respite accommodation prior to Kevin's arrival. It was due to her intervention that Social Services agreed to listen to our report. It was Ionie who constantly spoke with Shaw Trust to manage the release our salaries which were not paid to us for 3 months.
I have seen her work tirelessly to assist Mrs Agnes’ family and this is without any pay. It shows that she has places her customers' use value over her cash value. Such services like hers are needed in Newham.
David M G.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I have a disabled young adult called Kevin who suffers from 4 rib cerebral palsy and restrictive expression. I also live with my sons Michael and Paul. My son Paul has an issue with temper and behaviour.
Ionie Willis was referred to me by my two younger sons' social worker by the name of Forbio because they believed that her service would help me through the many problems I was going through. I was living in a neglected and uninhabitable house in Forest Gate, the council and social workers and housing officers were doing nothing to either change my accommodation or force the owner to repair his property. My two sons Michael and Paul were put onto the Child Protection register, under neglect.
When Ionie met me I was emotionally drained, socially excluded, felt dejected and depression and high blood pressure due to being frustrated and ignored by Newham social service social workers. Ionie pick my life's broken pieces one by one and with her kind service replaced what the social workers were meant to do and help But did not. She called and spoke with the allocation team and other departments concerning my overdue alternative accommodation need and managed a successful view and offer. She arranged our moving and organised a grant to make up the new house which we now live in.
She attended all the meetings that were organised by social services children's department and at times represented me when I could not attend due to ill-health issues. She found a solicitor and an advocate my sons.
I September 2011, my son Paul who has a behaviour problem was excluded from Bounventure primary School. I had to stay with him at home because other schools could not admit him. Paul's social worker did nothing to look for an alternative school for him. All they did was to threaten me that they will take me to court. But Ionie explained to me rightly what my legal rights were and supported me. It was Ionie who called about and around, took me to places and finally secured an admission for Paul at another School. Ionie stayed with me until the last child protection review meeting whem the department's manager dismissed and closed the case because they were doing nothing but to stress and accuse me unjustly.
In october 2011 Ionie assisted me with my disables son Kevin in a great measure. His social worker and manager organised that he should go to a respite accommodation while they adopt his room according to his needs. Ionie was present when they arranged that Kevin's Personal Assistants should go with him and show the respite worker how Kevin is and to ensure that he get the necessary service. But when he arrived at the respite, everything changed. Kevin's carers were accused by the respite carers that they had abused him. They did not have any feeding guidance or care plan sent to them by Kevin's social worker. The respite management said that they were not aware that Kevin's carers were accompanying him.
When the social worker intervened he brought a further damaging report that my son did not want to see any of our family members. This was not true. We began meetings after meetings with Kevin's workers, social services and safe guarding team to try to establish the truth. Ionie was with me every time. Sometimes I had to call her at night when I felt so depressed by the situation. After two weeks Kevin refuced to eat and wanted to come home at our address.
Ionie stayed with me through out the whole time of the case which stretched to February 2012. At this time Kevin's workers were not being paid. Ionie took their reports spoke with **** Trust and argued in their favour. She has continued her support even to to date. When the carers payments are delayed for whatever reason Ionie has been talking with Kevin's social worker and **** Trust.
She has been with me although the social services refused to pay her for the time she has been with me. They referred her to help me but refused to pay her not even a penny. Her service is so needed by people like me. If it was not for her committed service I would not have moved to my present address; my son Paul would never have found a school, my health would have deteriorated to the worst and I know my son kevin would have been unjustly taken away from me.
My name is Henrietta; I came to Tips4choices when I was having problems with Social Services. This was concerning my eldest daughter.
Ionie gave me advice and helped me to become a better parent in understanding and meeting the needs of my children without the need for physical punishment as my culture dictated. Within my culture I was taught to hit and then ask questions later. Ionie gave me a better understanding of combining my culture with the British culture in obtaining and understanding the laws and how it works and also by going to parenting classes to retraining myself and mind set.
The parenting classes had taught me how to communicate with each of my children and how to spend special time with each of them. We now have family meetings when there is a problem. The problem would be discussed and solutions found in which we are all happy with.
Utilizing Tips4choices’s support has enabled me to recognise the value of this organisation in the community. I decided to give my support to the organisation by volunteering to work with them. I have gained experience in office duties and my people’s skill has advanced.