Volunteer Story: Jon
Since September 2015, Jon has been volunteering with Adoption UK in a variety guises but primarily as an Adopter Voice Champion.
He has run several online and face-to-face forums for several local authorities - and their adopters - covering subjects like family finding, education, multi-agency service providers working together and life story work.
The objective of the Adopter Voice Forum according to Jon is "to really give adoption community a chance to voice concerns, share experiences and ideas to influence future policy." He adds, "too often adopters are left on their own to navigate the myriad of support, funding and legal options available themselves. Hopefully, the forum will give adoptive families a chance to make professionals listen and improve their services to adopters".
Through running the forums, Jon says "I've learned a great deal about things I otherwise wouldn't have been aware of such as the pupil premium, adoption support fund, CAMHS and other services available to adopters so it really has broadened my knowledge".
Jon has also been involved in helping the charity to formulate their Digital Research Strategy in both a professional and personal capacity as a volunteer and adoptive father. Jon hopes "this will help put not only Adoption UK on the digital map but will really help and support the adoptive community have a greater online and digital presence and educate/inform wider society who might not know much about adoption".
Jon lives with his wife and adopted son - who is nearly 2 - and is "really loving the challenges (good and bad) that fatherhood brings". He adds, "it's certainly more challenging and rewarding than work!".
Finally, Jon has this message for anyone considering volunteering, “do it in a heartbeat”, he says encouragingly. He adds, “one of the main motivations for me in getting involved in Adoption UK was to help with the frustration of waiting nearly two years for a match. By getting involved in Adoption UK, you realise you’re not alone and can help give something back as well as build up your own skills and awareness - irrespective of your status or what little time you have – it all adds up”.