Rhianydd, 18, is a volunteer with the SAFE project and has been volunteering since 2017. 

‘I first heard about Volunteering Matters at a roadshow. I was not involved in any extracurricular activates at this point as I didn’t feel very confident, but I completed the application form, and the Volunteer Manager was very supportive. I didn’t feel qualified enough to go into part time work after my GCSEs, and I was also concerned that I would lose focus on my studies in college. I felt that volunteering would help me stand out when I eventually do look for employment, though I was still nervous since I wanted to do my best.

I have autism but this wasn’t an issue, as I didn’t feel there were any barriers in my way – I need things to be clear and simple and the SAFE project seemed a worthwhile project that could make a difference. It will also give me skills and experience that I can put on my CV.

I think I am a good candidate to volunteer on this project for those with learning disabilities – as another disabled person I am their peer and they engage with me as I understand. I was quite nervous about talking in front of people, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s been really good and we have had fun.

I also helped my Volunteer Manager make a video on young person’s rights, and spoke about disabled people’s rights to a sexual life, as there is a lot of stigma around this. I have learnt a lot also, and my friends are aware of the volunteering that I do and come to me for advice on healthy relationships!

The team with Volunteering Matters are a wonderful bunch to work with and helped me gain more confidence. I wouldn’t change a thing about my time here, I’ve had so much fun! Now I hope that I can keep volunteering and helping out whenever I can’.

If Rhianydd’s story has inspired you to find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering, go to the SAFE project page, or to find out more about our other peer support projects running in Wales visit the links below:

Sex Matters Too

Mind Matters