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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Keith Maloney

May 10 2012
Reader Donald Ramsay pays tribute to the retiring coordinator of mental health organisation CAPS


Pavement reader Donald Ramsay pays tribute to Keith Maloney, Coordinator of Edinburgh’s Consultancy and Advocacy Promotion Service (CAPS), who has just retired after 15 committed years with the Edinburgh-based mental health organisation.

Keith Maloney’s devotion to the advocacy in his job at CAPS is obvious as soon as we met - a day when ferocious winds batter the capital, Ramsay writes.

Whilst most of the city’s office workers were taking an early cut, Maloney was sticking it out. “I’m here until the roof blows off!” He chuckled. However, it was clear that the business of CAPS is a very serious matter for Maloney and his dedicated team of office staff and community volunteers.

The service works with people with mental health problems in need of support - including many people who have become homeless along the way.

“Advocacy is a means of enabling some particularly vulnerable members of society, including the homeless, to have a voice,” explains Maloney. “Those with mental health problems often need support, and advocacy is how we represent their views to local authorities and health services.”

CAPS gained independent status in 1998, shortly after Maloney joined the organisation.

Maloney is encouraged with the progress that has been made in the delivery of mental health services in and around Edinburgh since that time. He describes the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 as a “ground breaker that helped to give people affected a real voice in their treatment.”

But he also leaves his post with concerns for the future in the current financial climate. “There’s a real danger that the drive for efficiency savings will result in fewer advocacy service providers, and the concern from that is that people will become disempowered and marginalized,” he says.

Despite his retirement, Maloney isn’t about to disappear off the radar: “I’m looking at ways of staying connected to the movement nationally,” he says firmly. For Keith Maloney, and his many colleagues who share his passion for the service, advocacy has always been more than a job - it’s a vocation.

• CAPS: 5 Cadzow Place, Edinburgh 0131 538 7177