Learn more about volunteering

Hi, I'm Linda, a volunteer advocate. I'm here to tell you how you can join me as a Volunteer.

All it takes is a warm and friendly personality.  You’ll like people and have a desire to support them to get their voices heard. You probably already have some skills from other parts of your life, caring for a family member, having experience of filling out forms or claiming benefits.

But none of this is essential as you will receive training in the values, principles and skills of advocacy from our own in house trainer and you will be supported until you are ready to work alone. Lots of our clients lack confidence, are learning disabled or have some difficulty in speaking or writing for themselves.

So what can you expect?   In addition to gaining new skills or developing the ones you have, you will:

  • Receive three days of training
  • Joining a really friendly and very experienced team of advocates and volunteers
  • Receive supervision on a 1:1 basis and in groups
  • Opportunities to attend volunteer network groups to share knowledge and experience
  • Be giving a very valuable resource to the community by helping our clients to be heard so they can continue to take part in their own lives.

So will you join me?

Getting Heard Logo


** We are currently looking for new Volunteer Advocates**

At Getting Heard we believe everyone has the right to be heard on important issues impacting their lives. This can be particularly difficult when someone is facing these issues alone and has other factors impacting their lives.

We are currently seeking volunteers for our ongoing Community Advocacy service and also for a pilot advocacy scheme based in Barton.

Our Appointment Buddy service is for a Barton residents aged 65+ without friends or family available to support them to access primary health care. Impaired mobility, memory problems and loss of confidence can have a particular impact on an older person’s ability to arrange, attend and act on advice given at appointments.  In the absence of friends or family to support, these challenges can then present significant barriers to accessing primary health care services for socially isolated older people. Appointment Buddies attend premary medical appointments with their clients.

Our Community Advocacy service matches clients with trained volunteer Community Advocates for 3-6 months to support clients to get their voices heard on issues of importance.

If you think you would like to become a volunteer advocate whether as a Community Advocate or as an Appointment Buddy and you are available for our next 3-day training which will be held in March (23rd, 24th and 31st, full day training), please fill in and submit our online application form as soon as possible.

If you are unable to attend this training but you would still like to become a volunteer for Getting Heard, our next training is scheduled for the end of June 2017.

Advocate Role

Appointment Buddys are volunteers from the local community who are trained and supervised to work in partnership with their clients. Getting older with a health condition isn’t always easy, particularly if you live on your own and need to attend appointments at your local NHS Health Centre.  Our specially trained volunteer Appointment Buddies are there to support clients with these appointments and can assist with:

  • Making appointments
  • Preparing what clients' want to say
  • Remembering appointments
  • Support clients to get to appointments
  • Waiting with clients
  • Supporting clients to say what they need & to ask questions
  • Collecting prescriptions
  • Reflect with clients on appointments that have happened and explore what they want to do next

Community Advocates are volunteers from the local community who are trained and supervised to work in partnership with their clients on a 1:1 basis. The service they offer is free, independent, non-judgemental, confidential, and supportive. Our Community Advocates:

  • Give time and listen
  • Offer support and understanding
  • Help clients to research their options
  • Support clients to read and write letters
  • Assist in making telephone calls
  • Help clients to communicate using other methods (e.g. text)
  • Accompany clients to meetings; taking notes and asking questions if helpful
  • Reflect with clients on meetings that have happened and explore what they want to do next

Advocate Requirements


  • Able to attend 3 days initial training
  • Available 1-2 hours day-time per week (with flexibility to your needs) to support clients
  • Willing to attend 1 hour of supervision every 3-6 months
  • Willing to join volunteer network meetings every 6 weeks
  • Responsive to preferred method of communication (e.g. phone or email)
  • Can offer a volunteering commitment for up to 2 years
  • Lives in Oxfordshire
  • Flexibility to travel up to 15 miles from home location (if Community Advocate or to attend appointmetns in Barton as an Appoinment Buddy)
  • Basic IT skills (e.g. Microsoft Word and Outlook)

Personal qualities

  • Excellent listening and communication skills
  • Sensitive and respectful of other people’s views
  • Able to keep personal boundaries
  • Punctual and reliable
  • Robust communication skills
  • Calm under pressure
  • Committed to maintaining confidentiality
  • Self-reflective with a willingness to learn

Ability to work independently

  • Able to do research and access information from other agencies and/or online
  • Maintains complete and confidential records about the case
  • Strong literacy skills (e.g. confidence writing formal letters)

Ability to work in a team

  • Forms constructive working relationships with a variety of stakeholders
  • Able to flex engagement style depending on the person they are speaking with
  • Willing to attend volunteer network meetings to reflect collaboratively on learning



** We are currently looking for new trustees**

  • Are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
  • Do you want to give something back to your local community?
  • Can you spare 1-2 hours per month?

If yes - then do get in touch.  Getting Heard (formerly Oxfordshire Advocacy) is an Oxfordshire charity established 30+ years ago to empower disadvantaged adults to get their voices heard on matters of importance to them.  Imagine facing a life impacting decision without friends or family to support.  That’s when our independent advocates get involved.

Having grown in size and complexity in recent years we are looking for two new Trustees to join our existing Board of 5 Trustees.  This is an exciting time to join and applications are particularly welcome from people with experience of one or more of the following:

  • Adult social care
  • Monitoring & evaluation
  • Governance
  • Fundraising

Previous Trustee experience is not required and successful candidates will be offered training.  We particularly welcome applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, who are currently under represented on our Board.

Trustee Terms of Reference