Volunteer Manager Lauren joined Advocacy Focus as an IMCA in April 2015 and was appointed to the role of Volunteer Manager in August 2015. “I really enjoy my role as Volunteer Manager, recruiting, mentoring and training volunteers to support vulnerable people across the whole of Lancashire. Before joining Advocacy Focus I completed over 1000 hours of volunteering with charities such as Home Start as a Family Support worker, Night Safe supporting homeless young people and Lifeline – a young person’s substance misuse service. This has allowed me to gain insight into what our volunteers may need and want during their time on our Volunteer programme. “While at Lifeline I worked my way up from volunteer to Substance Misuse Practitioner and Domestic Abuse Lead to Volunteer Coordinator. For me, all my hours of volunteering really paid off as it allowed me to gain confidence and experience in different areas of work, make a wide range of contacts and get a clearer idea of where I wanted my career to go. Volunteering is really important to Advocacy Focus and our volunteers have wide range of skill sets and complete a wide range of tasks. Our volunteers add extra value to our service and allow us to provide a wider package of support to people who use our service. “ What does your role involve? My role as Volunteer Manager involves recruiting volunteers, matching them to roles, providing and sourcing training and offering 1:1 support and supervision. I also measure the effectiveness and outcomes from our volunteer strategy. We were recently awarded Selnet’s ‘Excellence in Training and Mentoring Award’ for our Volunteer programme. 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. Our volunteers receive full training to complete their roles but can also access additional training so that they have a broad understanding of the support we provide.” What type of people volunteer? Our volunteers are from all backgrounds and ages and volunteer for us for a variety of reasons. This includes those starting their careers, those who want work experience alongside studying, those who want to give back to their community and those who want to share their lived experiences to help others.