Volunteering Matters: Using the skills of our older volunteers
Volunteering Matters develops and delivers high impact volunteer-led solutions to some of the most difficult challenges facing individuals and their communities today. We engage more than 30,000 volunteers and 90,000 beneficiaries every year through 180 active programmes across the UK.
We believe that everyone can play a role in their community and should have the chance to participate; we build projects and programmes to reflect this. We focus on the needs of four distinct communities; young people, disabled people, families and older people.
Building on our experience offering a full time volunteering opportunity for 18 to 35 years olds, we wanted to create a meaningful full-time volunteering opportunity for older people and address some of the challenges faced by young disabled people.
Our work as part of the Give More Get More fund
Our project with Give More Get More will match older volunteers to a disabled young person and their family and draw on their experience, talent, networks and local knowledge to work with the young person to help them plan their next steps after education.
We want to make sure that these young people have the same life chances as non-disabled youngsters. We’re going to focus on young disabled people who are no longer eligible for any continuing support from professionals (social care or health care professionals) once they leave education.
With changes to eligibility criteria and budgets being tightened, an increasing number of disabled young people are finding themselves without this support
At the same time, we know there to be a number of skilled assets in the community; older people with life experience and an inclination to contribute their time meaningfully and over a long period of time. What happens if we pair these older people with young disabled people in their communities?
This programme builds on the work that Volunteering Matters is already doing with young disabled people, and the work we are doing on inter-generational mentoring.
Our older volunteers will sit down with a young person and their family and create a 'Person Centred Plan' – identifying their support networks, and helping to figure out what they want to do and which could be the right courses for them.
At the same time, we hope the programme will help build and strengthen relationships in the community that might not have existed previously.
Our hopes for the new volunteering services
We’ll be working with the National Development Team for Inclusion and partners in Essex, Hackney, Suffolk and Coventry to pilot this innovative model and hope to replicate it in other areas, giving all disabled young people access to support in planning for their futures and raising their aspirations.
To find out more, visit www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk
Photo Credit: Volunteering Matters