Jackie Bruder, manager of the Surrey Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service (SAAVS), blogs about the importance of volunteers and what being an Appropriate Adult entails.
I think most would agree that the Church is an organisation that relies very heavily on volunteers. In 2016, the communities engagement team had nearly 350 volunteers involved in community-based projects - and that is in addition to the thousands of volunteers attached to parishes in our diocese!
Therefore, Volunteers Week (1-7 June 2017) is of great importance to those working in the communities engagement team and parishes. We want to celebrate the amazing contribution that volunteers make every week in the life of their parish church and their communities across the diocese; and to tell others about the wonderful things our volunteers do in the name of loving their neighbour and serving Christ.
"We want to celebrate the amazing contribution that volunteers make every week in the life of their parish church and their communities across the diocese"
Volunteers Week is also a useful time to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and to rally more troops to serve – either as volunteers for individual churches or across the diocese through one of the many communities engagement projects and initiatives.
One such diocesan scheme is the Surrey Appropriate Adult Volunteer Service (SAAVS), which supports children, young people (under 18s) and vulnerable adults whilst they are detained in custody.
Since the scheme’s inception in 1995, SAAVS has supported a considerable number of people through the custodial process, ensuring sure they fully understand what is happening and the processes involved.
"Being an Appropriate Adult (AA) is a fulfilling, often rewarding but sometimes challenging role, offering support to those who need it most when they need it most."
Being an Appropriate Adult (AA) is a fulfilling, often rewarding but sometimes challenging role, offering support to those who need it most when they need it most.
To be an AA you do not require any previous knowledge of legal procedures or social work and are not expected to offer any legal advice – you just need to be confident, self-assured and sympathetic to the person you are supporting.
AAs are very well trained prior to going into custody. Mentoring and regular ongoing training ensure that our AAs remain confident and well-skilled.
There are a few practical requirements of an AA. They must have access to a computer for emails and report writing, and have their own transport or be able to attend a local custody suite within a short timeframe. There are times when they need to commit to a shift of 6-8 hours or more. Additionally, all AAs must undertake a DBS check.
If you think you would like to volunteer for the SAAVS scheme, or for further information, please contact me on 07802 526769 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website www.saavs.org.
To learn more about other diocesan communities engagement projects and different opportunities for volunteering with our projects, see the CET pages of the website.