Are you passionate about ensuring everyone's voice is heard in a system that doesn't feel built for everyone?
We have an exciting opportunity for four advocacy volunteers to support young people and parents/carers with getting their voice heard on issues such as SEND, mental health, education and healthcare needs on our Drop the Pressure Project. This could be an ideal position for you if you are a passionate and empathetic person with a strong sense of social justice and a few hours to spare to make a real difference each week on this vital service.
We know that young people and their families can often feel lost in a very complex and bureaucratic statutory system, and need to have somewhere they can access specialist advocacy around SEND and SEMH issues for education, social, and healthcare needs. This advocacy project enables young people and parents/carers with specialist needs to get their voices heard on issues that really matter like the care they receive, or being able to access better support at school. This has substantial implications for better outcomes with services and opportunities, meaning being better able to thrive at school and reduced risk of social isolation. Being empowered to gain equal opportunities improves chances of better care which also brings about improved mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
This service sits within our ‘Glow’ projects that were created to meet the demand for imaginative expert support for children and young people and their families who are impacted by mental health needs which often correlate with SEN and disabilities. Due to the level of demand we are experiencing, we are now looking to expand the service to incorporate a specialist signposting helpline so we can help even more young people and parents/carers.
A Bit About Us
Leading Lights is a not-for-profit that works with children, young people and families impacted by social, emotional and mental health. It offers imaginative expert support for children and young people at both primary and secondary school age, and their families who are disadvantaged because of social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. We run a range of specialist services and projects to support children and young people who might be feeling anxious, stressed or suffering in silence. These range from small group therapeutic projects to mentoring to advice and advocacy. Our approach is holistic and is about sensitive joined up working where we really listen to what the young people need.
We work with children and young people at both primary and secondary school age who are disadvantaged because of social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. They often have a diagnosed mental health condition or are waiting for a diagnosis, and it is often correlated with a history of trauma or psychological distress, or another disability, learning need, or physical illness. Many of the children we work with are also affected by issues such as domestic violence, abuse, identity issues, bullying and many are young carers.
Whilst each child is affected differently, common issues that we see are: Problems accessing school either through non-attendance, or difficulty focusing and thriving at school, difficulties making friends leading to significant social isolation, issues with confidence and self-esteem which can lead to difficulties leaving the house or even their rooms for days at a time, panic attacks, suicidal attempts or ideation, self-harm, and difficulties accessing support and help from statutory services.
We want to make three key differences:
Your volunteer responsibilities will include:
Ideally you will have:
We require 1 shift per week (3-4hrs) based out of our 'Glow' children's hub in Stokes Croft, Bristol. This time may include a briefing meeting with the team, any admin and support/advice to clients, as well as follow-up care or appropriate escalation to the team. The Drop the Pressure Advocacy session currently takes place weekly on Tuesdays 12-3pm. This may also include an additional hour per week for relevant follow up work, including attending meetings or other forums with your client where they need the assistance of an advocate. The successful applicant must be able to regularly commit to these hours. However, if you are not able to do this but love the sound of the role, then please do let us know as we have other roles available and will go out of way to find opportunities that can work as long as it also meets the children’s needs!
What you will gain:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short paragraph on why you are interested in the role, and any relevant/related experience and we'll go from there! Thank you so much in advance for being amazing and wanting to do this - it's so kind and so much appreciated that you want to give your time and help others!
We are committed to equality of opportunity and welcome applicants from under-represented groups and diverse backgrounds and those who do not always get their voices heard.