My name is Paul McInneny and I am the Volunteer Coordinator for AdvoCard.
I would like to take some time out in Volunteer’s Week to personally thank every one of our amazing Volunteer Advocacy Workers (VAWs.)
Our VAWs are an integral part of our service and allow us to deliver greater reach and support in our service provision.
With their involvement, we are able to provide Advocacy Support to anyone in Edinburgh who is a user of Mental Health Services. We can assist them with a much greater range of issues that affect their day to day lives than just those that fall under our core funding.
We have a diverse group of people from many backgrounds. From people with lived experience, retired professionals, people in work, people on benefits and people at College or University. All bring unique perspectives, learning and shared experiences to our service.
Whether it is going to a GP appointment with someone because their GP doesn’t listen to them, attending a Psychiatrist appointment to take notes so that they can remember everything that was said, helping them draft a complaint to the Council because of how they have been treated or attending a Children’s Hearing with a parent to make sure their voice was heard amongst the professionals. Our Volunteers provide a Community based Advocacy Support Service that is much in need and delivered with care, dedication and enthusiasm.
Due to Covid 19, they are currently unable to provide this service but this has not stopped them from continuing to be interested in how our service is adapting and as a resource for consulting about how we move our service forward in difficult times.
They are a great bunch of people that I thoroughly enjoy working with. As I started off my career with AdvoCard as one of the volunteer team, I can honestly say that they are as important members of staff as any of my paid colleagues. Indeed 8 of my current colleagues started off as AdvoCard Volunteers so we take them very seriously!
You guys are great! I can’t wait until we can all work and meet up again!
(Former Volunteer Advocacy Worker.)