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 can be 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, the Care Act and much more. All of our advocates are either working towards, or have achieved, the IAQ qualification in independent advocacy.


We have a range of people who have responsibility for:

  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Administration and HR
  • Development

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.


Clare Tarling: Development Manager

Clare Tarling joined the Leadership Team in November 2015. Her responsibilities as Business Development Manager include fundraising, 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; Dorset Forum, 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. Clare holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Open University and is on track to achieve her MBA in November 2019.  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.

Sheryl Seeley

Advocacy Project Manager

Prior to joining Dorset Advocacy in 2004, Sheryl worked as a volunteer advocate supporting parents with Learning Disabilities who were going through child custody processes.

Sheryl was one of our first IMCAs, and now manages a team of 9 professional, highly skilled and knowledgeable advocates. Sheryl’s aim is to support the project and its’ staff to continue to grow and continue to be a leading example within this field.

My high sense of injustice and belief that everyone should be treated the same led me into volunteering and this continues to be at the heart of all that I do.

Sheryl was also part of the initial development of Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Advocacy in Dorset and now manages this project. The staff team of 3 all have specialist knowledge of CHC, as well as the personal skills which enable them to support people during emotional and distressing situations.

When I am not working I continue to actively support my children even though they are all grown up now. I also enjoy travelling and meeting up with friends. Mostly in my free time I like to indulge in my passion for drawing and painting.