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 28 years from a tiny organisation supporting just a few dozen people, to an employer of 30 staff, which now helps around 2500 people every year.


Clare Tarling (Service Development Manager)

Clare Tarling joined the Leadership Team in November 2015. Her background is in supporting people with Learning Disabilities, and she has a special interest in accessibility, communication, engagement and designing Easy Read information.

Clare has a keen interest in not-for-profit organisations generally, their strategy and governance, and how they can be configured to deliver great projects which benefit the most vulnerable people in our society. Clare achieved a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2019, which included courses in entrepreneurship, finance, management, strategy and human resources. Clare’s ambitions are to support Dorset Advocacy to be:

  • A great place to work
  • Strong and sustainable
  • 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

Practice Lead

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.