With the start of the new academic year about to commence, you may be looking for opportunities alongside your studies to learn new skills, gain experience and make new friends – volunteering is the perfect answer to this!
Our volunteers play a central role in supporting Disabled people to live the life they choose. Our befriending service offers 1:1 support, where our Befrienders support socially isolated children, taking them out for activities to enjoy shared interests, whilst also giving parents and carers the opportunity to take a break from caring responsibilities.
As well as being a hugely rewarding role, volunteering also offers a unique opportunity for personal growth and skill development, is highly valued on a CV, whilst also being a fun, enjoyable way to make a difference to a young person’s life and make a positive impact in your local community.
We interview Cleis, WECIL’s Befriending and Groups Coordinator about the role and why volunteering is so important to our organisation
Why is volunteering crucial for WECIL, and what role does it play in achieving your mission and goals?
Without our amazing volunteers we wouldn’t be able to offer our befriending service. We rely on incredible people like Cress to give up their time to support young Disabled children.
At WECIL we are focused on the social model of disability. Volunteers help to breakdown barriers between society and disabled people.
What volunteering roles can you do at WECIL?
We have several volunteering roles at WECIL. We run our befriending service, where we offer 1:1 face-to-face support for Disabled young people and we also have the telephone befriending service where we link a volunteer with a Disabled adult to speak to over the telephone.
How volunteers made an impact on WECIL and your users?
Our volunteers are fantastic. When a volunteer makes a connection with the young person and their family it is truly wonderful to see the difference that it makes. I think the volunteers sometimes forget the impact they have, not only to the young person that they are linked with but also to the family. Giving that family time to spend 1:1 with another sibling for example can be life changing.
Can you tell us a success story from a volunteer and their young person?
We have another wonderful volunteer who has been linked with her young person for 5 years. When they were first linked the young person was quite and shy. She took some time to engage with the volunteer. The volunteer remained patient and turned up every week. Eventually the young person started to feel comfortable spending some time with the volunteer and week by week their relationship grew stronger. The young person has just turned 18 and the volunteer was able to be there to celebrate that milestone with the family.
What support is available to volunteers?
The coordinators are always on hand if the volunteers require support. The coordinator will regularly check in with the linked volunteers to make sure everything is going well.
Training is mandatory within our recruitment process, we also offer in house safeguarding training.
What’s one thing you would say to someone who is thinking of becoming a volunteer?
Being a volunteer a truly rewarding role. They make a huge difference to the family and the young people they support. They feel valued from seeing the impact they have made. They gain empathy and understanding. And there is the “Ripple” effect of Disability Awareness in community. If you are able to offer the time please consider volunteering for us at WECIL.
So, if you’re ready to make a positive and lasting impact on both Disabled young people and their families, as well as gaining valuable skills and experience, sign up today!
You can apply via our application form or email us at: [email protected] for more information.