"In February 2016 I was looking to help out in my local community and came across Advocacy Focus on the internet. I called and spoke to the Volunteer Manager, Lauren, and she told me all about the programme and different volunteer roles as well as asking me what my aspirations were. I was really impressed by the variety of shadowing opportunities available and the varied training programme as I knew it would provide me with experience in various different types of advocacy.

Following my application and interview I was accepted onto the programme and started my volunteer training. As well as completing training sessions with Lauren, I also started ‘on-the-job’ training with an Independent Advocate to learn how to complete drop-ins and triage patients on local mental health hospital wards. Later when I was more confident I managed my own drop-ins, giving patients the opportunity to learn more about their rights, how advocacy can help and taking referrals for the service. I also accompanied Independent Advocates on various home visits.

When a position became available for a full time Independent Advocate all the volunteers were informed and Lauren encouraged me to apply for the role due to my experience. I was successful in my application and a year later I am loving my role. I have recently been awarded the Advocacy Focus 'Above and Beyond the Call of Duty' accolade for working on a new project relating to the Care Act and the provision of independent advocacy in prisons.

Volunteering at Advocacy Focus was highly enjoyable and the Volunteer Manager was very supportive of my individual needs throughout the experience. I found the initial shadowing programme highly nurturing and geared up for my individual learning needs. I enjoyed helping people from a wide range in society, so much so that I now do it for a living."

If you would like to find out more about our award-winning volunteering program, please visit:

Volunteer opportunities