In the latest of our series of blog posts to celebrate Volunteers Week 2019, we’re interviewing some of our longest-serving volunteers across our many projects. In each interview, they talk about their role, what it involves and what they gain from it.
This time, we speak to Hazel Woodcock, a volunteer with our Leeds Autism AIM project and member of Advonet’s Board of Trustees. Hazel speaks about her role with AIM and what she gets from it. 

How long have you been volunteering with Advonet for?
I have been volunteering with Leeds Autism AIM for around seven years
Why did you first decide to become a volunteer?
Personal experience of an autism diagnosis, and wanting to make a difference where I can.
What do your role(s) involve?
Being with, and listening to autistic people who need support and trying to lobby for improvements in awareness and formal support networks.
What do you feel you get out of volunteering?
Feeling that I can, and hopefully, have been able to contribute to making a difference for vulnerable autistic adults in Leeds.
What have the people you support achieved since you started volunteering with Advonet?
Amazing improvements in providing information, support networks, and signposting to appropriate services. Hopefully, this is helping to make a big difference for autistic people when they need support.
Since volunteering as part of the Leeds Autism AIM project, what would you say has changed over the years?
Leeds Autism AIM has made massive inroads into improving the support for vulnerable autistic adults. Thanks to the amazing dedicated work and commitment of the AIM team there is now a much greater profile within Leeds about the need to provide better support networks across the city.
What would you say to anyone considering becoming a volunteer?
Don’t just think about – just do it! You CAN make a difference – and there are some great people to help you do it.

If you would like to become a volunteer like Hazel, please visit our Volunteering page for more information, including our Volunteering application form and a video about the benefits of becoming a volunteer with Advonet.