We are celebrating Volunteers Week, which runs between the 1st and 7th June this year. To mark this special week, we will be publishing a blog post every day from one of our staff members who started out as a volunteer with Advonet.
Paul Wade, Volunteer Coordinator for Leep1, discusses how he got involved as a student before becoming a key part of their team.

What got you into volunteering with Advonet?

I first volunteered for Advonet in 2012 where I was studying Health and Social Care at the University of Bradford. In order for me to pass my course, I had to go out and gain some work experience, therefore I chose Advonet to learn about what advocacy is.

How did you feel about volunteering and what did you learn?

As I had not supported adults with learning disabilities before, I felt nervous but as weeks passed, my confidence to support people with a learning disability went from strength to strength.
During my time volunteering with Advonet, I learned about what self-advocacy is and why it is important for people with a learning disability to speak up for themselves and get their voice heard.
I also became a citizen advocate, where I made sure that the person’s rights were understood and respected. I have now been doing this for over five years.

How did you move from volunteering into a paid role with Advonet?

When I finished my last day of work experience at Advonet, I was asked if I would like a job and continue the supported role as a paid member of staff. I happily agreed to this offer and I have been working at the organisation ever since.

What would you say to someone who wants to volunteer with Advonet?

Advonet is a fantastic organisation to volunteer for because volunteers get a good insight in to how the organisation works. They offer so many different services to meet the needs of clients and you can help to make a difference to someone’s life.