Active Volunteering Essex is a project operating in South and West Essex to support individuals with a learning disability who want to volunteer, but feel anxious about volunteering completely independently.
With increased pressures on social care services, and with people with a learning disability sometimes feeling lonely and dependent, it was apparent there was a need for a project that could engage people in the community while supporting them to build on their skills and confidence.
Social teams and other professionals refer people with a learning disability who require support and who wish to volunteer, but are feeling anxious about the new start and new faces and need a helping hand to build their self-confidence and self-esteem. The project provides one-to-one support in a number of ways:
- Supporting individuals in their homes for up to six weeks, visiting them for 2 hours weekly, helping with odd jobs about the house in a way to allow them to do the task independently in the future
- Supporting individuals to attend their place of work until they make friends and feel confident travelling and working alone
- Supporting individuals for the first few weeks at their education facility, enabling them to feel confident and safe when going alone in the future
- Supporting at a local social group, or at a new hobby group in their area
- Supporting development of social skills whilst attending an activity eg. bowling, trampolining
- Supporting an individual in travel training on a specified route chosen by the beneficiary
Each activity is tailored to the individual needs of the person requiring support and is based on what they wish to improve, whether that be employability or social skills.
We need volunteers who have a couple of hours a week to give who live in and around Harlow; Brentwood; Basildon; Rochford and Castle Point areas.
By improving self-esteem, confidence and well-being Active Volunteering Essex Community Mentors are helping to reduce isolation, increase independence and lessen reliance on social care services. The beneficiaries in turn have a feeling of well-being and by taking part in activities are keeping well and happy reducing visits to GP’s and hospital facilities. Volunteers say they feel happy and proud with what they are achieving with their beneficiaries every week.