17 of our fabulous volunteer team had a get-together today today at our office in Poundbury, which was hosted by Emily Brown, our Volunteer Manager. As well as being a great way to meet other volunteers and share some lunch, the team heard about many important improvements and updates going on at Dorset Advocacy HQ.

We are carrying out a significant update to our database next week, which will affect all staff and volunteers. Mike Pochin, CEO demonstrated the new site, which is more user-friendly, works on any browser or mobile device, and has increased security features.  The database helps us to manage and report on thousands of Advocacy cases every year, making it an essential part of our organisation.

The new GDPR regulations were also presented, along with the impact on volunteering. As Mike said at the meeting;

“Our good name rests on how we use and look after personal information about the people we help”.

We are carrying out a significant amount of work to ensure the we are fully compliant with these new data regulations by the time they come into force in May of this year. The main change will be the format of the agreements we  make with our clients at the point we start to work with them, although other aspects of our work will be involved, eg. fundraising.

Clare Tarling updated volunteers about our work around social media and fundraising. Volunteers can help in a number of ways, for instance by writing articles, sharing posts on their Facebook accounts and flagging up advocacy cases where the person involved would be happy to tell their story for publicity purposes. We want to shout about the amazing work that our staff and volunteers do, to encourage more volunteering and reach more people who could benefit from Advocacy.

One of the team highlighted the rewarding and fulfilling nature of a volunteer role which supports our IMCA team. Where someone is “deprived of their liberty”, and have no-one else to represent them, they are entitled to regular visits from an advocate who will check that they continue to be happy with the arrangement, and that their freedom is not being unnecessarily restricted. The visits are most often to care homes and hospitals, and is are an important part of Dorset Advocacy’s work.

If you are interested in volunteering for us, please contact Emily Brown, who will be happy to talk to you about the various roles we have available. There is also more information on our volunteering page.