Vocal provides personalised supported volunteering opportunities for individuals with a learning disability. Volunteering enables people to access new environments and activities they may not have had the chance to do, and supports them to be more independent. We provide support by matching individuals to trained support volunteers/mentors .
Prior to being referred to Volunteering Matters, many individuals with learning disabilities 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 difficulty to become involved in locally based activities that are of interest to them, and to enable them to play a real and active part in the life of their own community. Volunteering 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.
Vocal hopes to achieve the following:
- Enable people to integrate into and contribute to their own community through volunteering
- Enable people to be the givers rather than the receivers of care
- Enable people to access training in order to develop skills to enable them to volunteer in their own communities and to become as independent as possible
- Reduce dependency on services specifically set up to support people with learning difficulties (including Volunteering Matters)
- To develop volunteering roles of genuine benefit to the local community
To maximize integration, Vocal recruits local people to act as Support Volunteers. The Support Volunteers work with those people unable to volunteer without support. They assist with training and have a general befriending role, to give potential volunteers the skills and confidence they need to become volunteers themselves.
Opportunities are tailored to the needs of the individual. Volunteers work in local playgroups, schools, elderly people’s homes, shops, café projects, conservation groups, farms and museums. Individuals also volunteer on allotments, and support local disabled and elderly people by gardening, socialising, and dog walking.
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