Volunteers are integral to our work at Advocacy Focus and our volunteering team is made up of people with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences, old and young, and from right across our community in Lancashire.
We want you to get as much out of volunteering with us as you give, and as a volunteer you will be trained and well supported by our volunteer coordinator who will work closely with you to ensure that you benefit just as much as our staff team do.
We need people with different skills including marketing, fundraising, event organising and, not forgetting, the volunteers who directly support our advocates in their work to support the most vulnerable people in our society to help them to get their voice heard. Spreading the word about the work we do and how advocacy can help members of our communities is also key to being a volunteer at Advocacy Focus.
We look for passionate and confident individuals who can empower others. These individuals will help our service users to express their views and needs regardless of their own opinions and experiences.
Can you spare a minimum of four hours per week?
In return for your time as a volunteer Advocacy Focus can provide the following:
- Ongoing internal training.
- The sourcing of external training.
- Regular supervisions and a person centred approach for all volunteers, enabling you to work towards what it is that YOU want from your time with us.
- Out of pocket expenses.
- Celebration events to recognise the achievements of our volunteer team and their dedication to Advocacy Focus and our client base.
- A rewarding experience.
- The chance to be part of a highly motivated, friendly and inclusive team.
What our volunteers think…
‘If through my actions I have been able to make the slightest change in the system that will benefit others, or if just by being there to listen and knowing that by doing so I have made a difference to someone, then it makes it all worthwhile.’
‘I love being a volunteer advocate. The role can be demanding and sometimes heart-breaking but it’s also rewarding and uplifting.’
‘I find being a volunteer enjoyable, empowering, educational and humbling’
‘One of the best things in my life.’
“Voluntary work has given me a greater self confidence and a sense of having made a difference. It’s helped me to learn new skills and meet amazing people.”
“Being a volunteer advocate has enabled me to gain confidence in myself.”
Meet some of our volunteer team…
Lauren Lovelace – Volunteer Manager
Lauren Lovelace joined Advocacy Focus as an IMCA in April 2015 and was appointed to the newly created role of Volunteer Coordinator in August 2015. [read more]
“I’m really excited to be taking on the role of Volunteer Coordinator and helping to steer a new strategy for volunteer involvement at Advocacy Focus in the coming months. Before joining Advocacy Focus I gained lots of experience in volunteering, delivering over 1000 hours for Home Start as a Family Support worker, for Night Safe working with homeless young people and also as a volunteer at Lifeline – a young person’s drug and alcohol organisation.Read more
“While at Lifeline I was seconded to the Blackburn YJS (Youth Justice Service) and also worked my way up from volunteer to practitioner as a drugs worker and Domestic Abuse Lead and then to Volunteer Coordinator. I have also worked with young people at Blackburn College, providing Additional Learning Support.
For me, all my hours of volunteering really paid off as it has allowed me to gain confidence and experience of different types of work, make a wide range of new contacts and also to get a clearer idea of where I wanted my career to go.
Volunteering is really important to Advocacy Focus and our volunteers are integrated across the business, with different skill sets from IT and administration, to fundraising, to marketing and promotion as well as working alongside the advocates, providing signposting for service users to the kind of support they are able to access and, where appropriate, referring service users to direct advocacy support.”
What does your role involve?
My role as Volunteer Coordinator involves recruiting the right volunteers, matching the roles we need with the right people, providing internal training and sourcing appropriate external training.
I see volunteering very much as a two way street which needs to benefit the volunteers as well as Advocacy Focus and the community they serve, so each volunteer receives a one day induction training course and can access the same training as advocates as it’s important that all our volunteers have a broad understanding of the support that advocacy can provide.”
What type of people volunteer?
“Our volunteers are from all backgrounds and all ages, from those people just starting their careers, to retired people who want to give something back and who are looking for a rewarding and inspiring new challenge. We are even looking for specialist language skills in our volunteers to reflect the communities we work in and increase accessibility and reach of our clients.
We are always looking for ways to improve our service and to increase the impact that volunteers have on the local community and in my new role I will be responsible for measuring effectiveness and outcomes from our volunteer strategy and to measure the social return on investment. We will also be working towards the Investors in Volunteers Award.”
Our Volunteer Coordinator Lauren Lovelace has been very busy over the last few months conducting outreach presentations to further our service promotion and source volunteer enquiries. Advocacy Focus has recently had stands at Burnley College Fresher’s Fair, Pendle Women’s Forum, Blackburn College’s Volunteer Fair and The University of Central Lancashire’s ‘Making a Difference Fair’. The Read more