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DAS - A volunteer's story

Here is the story of one of Derbyshire Advocacy Service's volunteer advocates. He shares his story and his experience as an advocate with us.

Anyways, why did I join? 

‘I came to discover the work Advocacy does whilst working in a position of trust and responsibility within a private organisation. The role was spiralling out of control causing me to both question myself and the systems put in place to safeguard individuals. As I grew increasingly worried about the safety of my clients a referral was made to the Derbyshire Advocacy Service from a outside body. From there a representative from the organisation came into ours and it wasn't very long before I quickly realised this organisation had some substance to it.

Advocacy is one of very few organisations that I have come across that is not only able, but is also interested in helping individuals. In the meantime in my work place I felt further and further compromised by one person or another and that was when it dawned on me, the only way I was going to resolve these issues, was to leave this financially driven unit and go work for an organisation that has ideals and more importantly the ability to put things right. Derbyshire Advocacy Service is not an organisation whose sole concern is the bottom line but instead has a history based on morals and a sense of decency.

Fulfilment

The sense of fulfilment I receive from working with my clients in a care role on a daily basis gives me a sense of worth, but the work I do with Advocacy gives me a sense of achievement. Most of the cases I worked on, once my mentor thought I was able, revolved around working with people in crisis but this is where the role comes into its own. Volunteers are guided and encouraged by a mentor in a concise way until both parties feel the volunteer can confidently deal with a situation professionally, calmly and non-judgementally either as a team or alone. You do have to work in a fashion that is expected from the charity and there are some frustrations that come with the role but these again will be worked through with your mentor.

In my previous role in the private sector I only got to see one side of the care story, i.e. I was only taught how society wants to deal with or keep people who fall within the learning disabilities spectrum. Sadly it was only until I widened my perspective and experiences through the work done with Advocacy that I saw how individuals, families, groups and carers really wanted to live and care for themselves or their loved ones.

Opportunity

Initially I had lots of spare time to give DAS as I had left my unworkable position. Eventually I found new suitable paid employment (with great help from Advocacy and my mentor) and I slipped into a smaller role on an "as and when" basis. This again was consulted and agreed on with both my mentor and the support and understanding of management at Advocacy.

Basically, working with Advocacy is something I am proud of and always will be. You are given the opportunity to work with people who are regularly overlooked and not listened to by the majority. However, if you decide to take on this role, you are given the opportunity to possibly make a difference in these people's lives. You will receive all the support, guidance and assistance required and don’t fret if you have no experience as there will be someone there to help you all the way.’

Volunteering

If you feel you would like to donate some of your time to volunteer for Derbyshire Advocacy Service please look at our Become an Advocate page and then telephone 01332 206505 for further details.