Volunteering outreach 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 Making a Difference Fair was attended by multiple third sector organisations in order to educate the students around the benefits of working and volunteering for ‘not for profit’ organisations. At this event we received over 40 enquiries in regards to volunteering for Advocacy Focus! Lauren is now in talks with UCLan to organise a volunteer information session with these prospective volunteers so that they can learn more about the service and what we have to offer our volunteers. Delegate feedback Not only do we promote our service and volunteer opportunities at these events, but we also invite delegates to interact with our outreach stand by offering their views around topics and adding these to our display board. We did this around World Mental Health Day and invited attendees to add their thoughts and comments in regards to ‘how we can ensure that those with mental health issues continue to be treated with dignity’. We got some really insightful responses from our delegates who put their comments on the board:– ‘Respect’ ‘Realise we are the same inside’ ‘Raise awareness in all aspects’ ‘Make sure staff are trained properly’ ‘Address their needs in a respectful manner’ ‘Listen to them’ ‘Support them in their own homes in the way they would choose’ ‘Stop demoralising them in media on and the TV’ ‘Recognise mental health issues in the LGBT communities’ ‘Raise awareness of services’ ‘It can happen to any one of us at any time – respect those that are affected by it’ ‘Challenge stigma’ ‘Awareness around services and support available to individuals’ ‘Check that people are doing their jobs properly on wards/in hospitals’ These events also help us to network with partnership agencies to ensure that we can provide the best service to our clients and signpost them to additional support services when and if necessary. We have been working hard to increase our community presence and will continue to do so. If you would like Advocacy Focus to conduct a stand at your event please contact Lauren Lovelace on 0300 323 0965.