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.
This time, Hannah McClure, a Lead Advocate for our Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) team shares her story. She talks about her journey from being a volunteer with lived experience of using mental health services to becoming a valued member of our staff team.

What got you into volunteering with Advonet?

I have lived experience of mental health and mental health services and wanted to help people voice their views to ensure their rights are being upheld. I was at a position in my life where I felt well enough to help people challenge decisions and support people in accessing services.

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

I got a lot of support and supervision both from management and other employees. I always felt I could ask for help and learnt a lot about the advocacy approach, different services in Leeds and got specific autism training that was really well facilitated.

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

I was volunteering a couple of days a week, doing mental health advocacy and I got experience managing a case load of clients. I got good feedback from the people I was working with and applied for an Assistant Advocate.
I am now a Lead Advocate doing IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocacy) work – working with people who are detained on a section of the Mental Health Act.

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

There are lots of opportunities for training and working with different communities of people. You will get the support, learn lots and will be constantly kept busy with new challenges.