Learning disability charity Mencap has launched a new advocacy service amid a significant increase in calls to its advice line from people looking for support services.

Mencap’s new service, Empower me, is designed to provide people with a learning disability with information to help them understand their rights and to secure their entitlements. Mencap advocates will help them speak up and will give them support to make informed choices in their life, from finding out about the services they receive, accessing different services or raising concerns when things are not working out. The launch comes after calls to Mencap Direct, the charity’s national telephone service, increased by 67% in January, compared to December 2011. Empower me will be delivered across England and advocates can respond to one-off requests for advocacy support. Advocates can also provide support to groups as well as individuals.

Simon Parkinson, Mencap operation director, said: “Empower me will help to ensure that people with a learning disability get the best possible support to become more involved in decisions that affect their lives. “In times of economic uncertainty it is even more important that people with a learning disability are supported.” For more information go to www.mencap.org.uk/empowerme