Match and Mentor provides personalised supported volunteering opportunities and other community based activities, for individuals with a learning disability, or additional support needs. Having the opportunity to access new environments and activities they may not have had the chance to do, supports individuals to be more independent and to integrate into the community.
Prior to being referred to Volunteering Matters, many individuals with learning disabilities, or additional support needs, in the area were being transported some distance from their home each day for services. This meant that many had few roots in their local community along with few opportunities to meet people who lived nearby, and likewise, their local community saw little of them.
The scheme was developed to enable individuals with a learning disability or additional support needs to become involved in locally based activities that are of interest to them, and to enable them to play an active part in the life of their own community. Having access to the local community gives individuals the chance to contribute and give something back to their community whilst meeting new people and learning new skills that can be used in many areas of their lives.
Match and Mentor’s overall aims are:
To recruit, train, support and enable volunteers to support adults with learning disabilities and other vulnerable adults and young people with additional support needs to:
- Enable individuals to become the best version of themselves
- Enable individuals to become independent
- Increase an individual’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Enable integration into the local community
- Enable individuals to have a voice.
To maximize integration, Match and Mentor recruits local people to act as Support Volunteers. The Support Volunteers work with those people unable to access the local community without support. They assist with training and have a general mentoring role, to give individuals the skills and confidence they need to become an active member of the local community.
Opportunities are tailored to the needs of the individual. Individuals can volunteer in local playgroups, schools, elderly people’s homes, shops, café projects, conservation groups, farms and museums. .
Individuals can also access travel training, social activities and independent living skills training and work experience.