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“Volunteers don’t just do the work, they make it work” commented one volunteer at a recent DIAL-OP Helpline training session and never a truer word was said.

Volunteering

OUR VOLUNTEERS  

Volunteers are the lifeline of the work we do at Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS) and have been integral to our small organisation being held in such high regard in the local community.

The reasons why people volunteer can be very individual.  They may feel they want to do something useful, that some people are not being treated fairly and want to do something about it and they may also feel that they would like to change direction in their career and perhaps a volunteer role with Dundee Independent Advocacy Support will give them a taste of working with our client groups.  These are all valid reasons.

We currently have a number of volunteers at DIAS who carry out a variety of roles to support the work we do in Dundee and we are always on the look-out for additional volunteers to join our organisation.  These are:

  1. Citizen Advocates are ordinary members of the community.  They receive induction training and then ongoing support from paid staff.  The advocate gives freely of his or her time and energy to support a vulnerable person on a one to one basis, listening to their point of view, respecting their wishes and helping them to speak up for themselves.  The qualities we look for are; communication skills, assertiveness; ability to work independently; commitment; freedom from prejudice and the ability to bring your own life experiences.
  2. Short term Advocates similar to Citizen Advocacy with the main difference being they offer support on a short term basis to deal with specific issues and may work with more than one person.  The relationship is more flexible than Citizen where you work until the issue is resolved (sometimes called Issue Based Advocacy).
  3. Peer Advocates is when an individual shares significant life experiences and may also share age, gender, ethnicity, diagnosis or issues.  Peer Advocates are volunteers from the community who want to use their knowledge and experience of a disability to help someone with the same disability.  The Peer Advocates get to know their advocacy partners and through getting to know each other, will come to understand what their partners’ needs, wishes and feelings are and put them forward as if they were their own.
  4. Board Members/Trustees who provide their time and expertise willingly.  Trustees provide the strategic direction and ensure compliance with charitable governance to ensure the long-term sustainability of DIAS.  They usually meet every 2 months but also provide support to the Manager and staff in the form of short-term working groups around issues such as business development, new projects and funding streams.

What you can expect from DIAS

DIAS provides training to all its volunteers, paid staff and Board Members and any new volunteer is welcome to join in.  Some of the topics covered have included Adults with Incapacity Act (Scotland) 2000, Endings Training and Makaton, to name a few. We also hold regular Social Forums for Citizen Advocates, Short Term Advocates and Peer Advocates where any training issues are discussed, the opportunity to share practice, learning points and successes is encouraged, plus you have the on-going support of a named member of the DIAS Team.

Visits to our advocacy partners are on a regular basis and we look for approx. 2 hours every fortnight from our Citizen and Peer Advocates, sometimes slightly more from our Crisis Advocates.

This may all sound very serious but we also try to have a bit of fun, hence why we encourage volunteers to come along to our training sessions and Social Forums.

We also pay expenses to our volunteers in terms of travel within the Dundee City Council boundary, reasonable out of pocket expenses, such as meetings with an advocacy partner in a mutually agreeable location.

References and PVG Scheme

All volunteers are expected to supply details of 2 referees.  Please talk to the Volunteer Co-ordinator if you have any problems with this.

All volunteers will have to complete a PVG application form. This checks if volunteers (and staff) have a criminal record which may prevent them from working with vulnerable individuals.  It does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to volunteer if you do.  If you are worried, then please do speak with the Volunteer Co-ordinator.

In the first instance, to apply for one of our Volunteer roles, please complete the Volunteer Application form and forward to:

Veronica Harris (Veronica@diasdundee.org) for Citizen/Short Term or Peer Advocacy

Susan Ross office@diasdundee.org  to arrange an informal chat on becoming a member of the Board.

Volunteer Application Form.doc

 

A copy of the latest DIAS volunteer newsletter for Spring 2015 can be found here.

Volunteer Spring Newsletter 2015



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