We are one of the newest additions to the Priory Street Centre, moving in just over a year ago. Set up in 2001, Older Citizens Advocacy York provide advocacy support to anybody in York over the age of 50 – over 300 people a year. Practically, this means attending appointments and meetings, assisting with form-filling and rights to benefits, helping people access support, procuring information and signposting. There are three of us who ‘live’ in the office, Ruth, our charity manager, Dan, the lead advocate, and myself, Jonah, the project support officer. We, together with our excellent team of volunteers and trustees are responsible for OCAY. We have daily enquiries from people seeking assistance in some area of their lives. We invite them to come to Priory Street for a conversation with Dan, or if they can’t make it then Dan goes to them. Dan and the client have a conversation about what they’re looking for, and if we can help then we add them to our waiting list. If we can’t offer the support, we ensure that they are appropriately signposted (probably to one of you reading this!). It’s rarely more than two weeks before one of our volunteers says that they have the skills necessary to advocate for this person. From here, with the support of the staff team, the volunteer advocate does what is necessary to make sure the client’s voice is heard!

We recently achieved something we are very proud of – our Investing in Volunteers award. The assessor who examined us said that OCAY “shows a strong commitment to involving volunteers from all backgrounds and its volunteer team is reflective of the communities in which it works . . . Volunteers interviewed feel very valued by OCAY and all said they felt appreciated by both staff and the people they support”. We received the award in August, and as Rachel Totton, our chair of trustees says: “The award shows that anyone joining us as a volunteer can expect that OCAY will take great care to give them a good experience of volunteering”. On this note, if you or anybody you know is looking for a challenging, thought-provoking volunteer role with no minimum time commitment we are currently recruiting volunteers and our training begins on the 11th October! Alongside this we are hoping to expand our trustee team, so if you’re more interested in helping develop and manage a small charity then get in touch! Let me know and I can send you more information on either.

jonah@ocay.org.uk | www.oldercitizensadvocacy.org.uk | 01904 676200