History of BIAS
BIAS was formed as a pilot project in 1995 with support from Scottish Borders Council and the Community Care Forum.
We were initially based in Kelso and worked mainly with individuals with community care and/or health related complaints or concerns.
This generic form of advocacy was delivered by a dedicated team of volunteer advocates. Over the years, the project expanded to offer Citizen Advocacy for isolated, vulnerable people in our community and we developed an outreach project working with older people in residential care.
In 2005, changes in legislation made it a right for individuals being treated under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act to have access to independent advocacy. We were contracted by Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders to provide specialist advocacy to individuals with mental health related issues and to work with people with learning disabilities.
As more staff were employed, the organisation changed its status and became a Company Limited by Guarantee, as well as being a Scottish Registered Charity.
We continue to develop innovative projects aimed at supporting as many vulnerable and disempowered individuals in our community as possible.
Since we started, we have been fortunate in securing funding from a variety of sources (both statutory and charitable).
In the past, these funders have included Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders, The Big Lottery, The Tudor Trust, Comic Relief, Lloyds TSB Foundation and The Lintel Trust.
As with any independent voluntary sector organisation, BIAS would be unable to offer the breadth of services currently available were it not for the generosity of other agencies and individuals.
Was good to have someone to help me remember things at the meeting.
I finally felt that someone was on my side.
Advocacy enabled me to challenge my diagnosis.
I feel more confident knowing I am able to question my care.
I was able to participate in the process.