Meet the Team

Advocacy Team

We have a committed and very talented team of over 30 advocates, who work throughout Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. Their role is to be on the side of the person they are supporting, representing their interests and making sure that their rights are respected. It is complex and technical work, always with a meaningful and respectful relationship at its’ heart. No two advocacy relationships are ever the same. Our advocacy team has an exceptional working knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act, Deprivation of Liberty safeguards, NHS Complaints procedures, the Care Act and much more. All of our advocates are either working towards, or have achieved, the IAQ qualification in independent advocacy.

Leadership Team

We have a leadership team of 7 people who have responsibility for:

  • Operations
  • Advocacy projects and staff team
  • Volunteering
  • Administration and HR
  • Business development and communications

Mike Pochin (CEO)

Mike Pochin has been working for Dorset Advocacy since it started operations in 1993, and before being appointed CEO was our Operations Director.

He says:

I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Dorset Advocacy through the next stage of its development. The idea behind advocacy is so simple but so strong – one person listening to and supporting another, to help them to sort out problems and have more control over their life. This is the idea that has seen Dorset Advocacy develop over the past 23 years from a tiny organisation supporting just a few dozen people, to an employer of 40 staff and 60 volunteers, which now helps around 4000 people every year.

Mike is working with the Leadership Team to ensure that Dorset Advocacy continues to be a centre of innovation, influence and excellence well beyond the organisation’s 25th anniversary in 2018.  This means managing unprecedented levels of demand on our existing services, whilst working with communities and partner agencies to deliver new forms of advocacy that respond to need in ever more cost effective ways.  Raising funds from new sources will be a key part of our strategy.


Emily Brown: Volunteer Manager

Emily Brown is our Volunteer Manager. She started working for Dorset Advocacy as a volunteer in 2012, after re-locating to Dorset.  Her background was working with people with Learning Disabilities in Day Services. When she moved, she wanted to work within an organisation that was truly person-led. The independence and values of Dorset Advocacy enabled Emily to work in this way.

Emily has worked on the telephone “Gateway” and NHS complaints team, as an IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate), and is now in the post of Volunteer Manager.

I have come full circle to volunteering again, where I feel really blessed. It is a real privilege to work alongside people who choose to offer their skills, experience and precious time to support others in their communities. Dorset Advocacy’s volunteers are not a bonus, they are a necessity, as number of our projects simply couldn’t function without them and the time they give. It is my role to ensure that volunteers feel well supported, have opportunities to develop their skills and feel valued as part of Dorset Advocacy.

Find out more about volunteering for Dorset Advocacy.

Clare Tarling: Business Development Manager

Clare Tarling joined the Leadership Team in November 2015. Her responsibilities as Business Development Manager include income generation, business strategy, website development, social media (here is our Facebook page) and marketing. Clare’s background is in funding and delivering Learning Disability-specific projects; Total Communication, Easy Read information, Quality Checking, improvised music (Lifemusic) and developing self-advocacy with people who have Learning Disabilities in Dorset.

Clare has a keen interest in not-for-profit organisations generally, their strategy and governance, and how they can be best used to deliver great projects which benefit the most vulnerable people in our society. She has recently completed the first year of an MBA with the Open University to pursue this interest further.  Clare’s ambitions are to support Dorset Advocacy to be:

  • Strong and sustainable for many years ahead
  • Very responsive to the needs of people in Dorset
  • A vibrant, thriving and well-known charity that local people are confident about turning to for help.

In her spare time Clare plays the violin, and enjoys running, swimming and generally messing about with her 2 children.