We are looking for volunteers to join Leeds Autism AIM’s Peer Support programme. The Autism Peer Support volunteers are an integral part of our innovative service.
The time, expertise, knowledge, and skills that you give, will help to make it easier for people to change Leeds for the better. We also know that it will help you to gain experience, learn new skills, meet new friends, or develop new interests.
We require reliable people who have a patient and empowering approach. We welcome applications from Autistic people who want to share their life experience in a one-to-one setting with another Autistic person who wants to learn about themselves and strategies to manage their day-to-day lives.
You need to have the ability to accept people as they are but also be able to motivate, think creatively and show persistence in helping people address barriers to living the life they choose. You will also need to have the ability to help plan clearly and to work on your own initiative in the community.
- You will be matched to an autistic person who is wanting Peer Support.
- To meet an autistic adult regularly for six months, either at the Lovell Park Autism Hub, The Advonet Group Office, in the client’s home or remotely via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or phone.
- Commit to meet your match for one hour a week, fortnight or month during weekdays between 9am–7pm.
- Able to be flexible when working with your match, working at your match’s pace.
- Get to know your match and use listening skills to make them feel heard.
- Work in a time-limited but well-structured way, to best use the time you have with your match, building a plan based on what your match would like to achieve.
- Develop and maintain trust with your match.
- Adapt and tailor your approach and be person centred to your match.
- Help to overcome any barriers to achieving these goals with the client.
- Provide information to help the client make choices and help to build confidence.
- Help to identify your matches strengths, staying focused on them, keeping in mind your match’s goals.
- Support your match to work on resilience.
- Provide support to develop strategies to manage independently day-to-day.
- Working in a trauma-informed approach in which you are mindful of the person’s experiences and differences and will do your best to make sure they feel safe, and they are not re-exposed to potential triggers which could negatively impact them.
- To support the completion of personalised and self-advocacy resources.
Volunteering with AIM
As part of your role as a Peer Support Volunteer, you will receive an initial induction as well as three days’ training in autism awareness and peer support.
We highly value our volunteers and will enable you to build and use your individual skills and the opportunity to gain experience to work towards a career in peer support.
After full training and the induction, we will support you in initial introductions with your match and then you will be able to arrange times and days and locations/forms of communication that suit you both and you can start your peer support journey together. We will provide ongoing support as you need it, and regular supervision support for an hour every two months. As well as access to additional training, all expenses are covered by the organisation.
We have an inclusive volunteering policy; we have successfully worked alongside autistic volunteers across all aspects of the AIM service who have co-led on many aspects and this has greatly enhanced our service.
We aim to build on this in future and have autistic adults leading our training delivery. We also welcome applications all adults of any age group or from people with lived experience of physical disability, mental illness, being LGBTQ+ and/or being POC/BAME. This role does require you to be Autistic, as this is a peer support role.
Interested people are invited to contact us for more information. You will then be invited to a Volunteer Information Event or an informal meeting, where you will be issued with an application pack.
Once we receive your application form, we apply for references and a DBS check. A DBS check is required for anyone volunteering, or paid, to work with vulnerable people. We ask that you are open and honest with us from the very beginning and talk to us about any concerns you might have. We make no blanket rules about whether you can undertake a role if you have any information on your DBS.
Each case is taken on an individual basis and we are committed to making sure volunteering is accessible. Once this is completed, your induction can begin.
If you have a skill that you would like to offer us and that you think would benefit our organisation, even though it may not match any of the roles outlined below, then we are always happy to talk to you about it. There are also opportunities to be involved in other areas of this project and access to wider opportunities within The Advonet Group.
Our next training sessions:
- Working With Autistic Adults Training – TBC (5 hours)
- Peer Support Training Part 1 – Saturday 9th March (3 hours)
- Peer Support Training Part 2 – TBC (3 hours)
- (OR Peer Support over 5/6 hours in one day)
- Induction – Online, date TBC (2.5 hours)
Free lunch will be provided during weekend training sessions.
Beth MacDonald – Autism Volunteer Co-ordinator