Disabled people

Whether you’re interested in supporting a young disabled person, fancy Riding for the Disabled, or want to use your sign language skills then volunteering offers the answer. Everyone’s understanding of disabilities is different which means that everyone’s motivation for volunteering with disabled people is different too. So we’re not claiming to be experts in this area – it’s impossible to tell you about all the charities that do fantastic work to support disabled people that you can volunteer with. But here are a few.

These national charities might be a good way to start:

  • As a volunteer with Leonard Cheshire Disability, the largest voluntary sector provider of care and support for disabled people across the UK, there are a whole host of ways you can help. You can provide friendship and practical support to a disabled person so they can access education or training. You can escort and drive disabled people or help out with the gardening or decorating. Leonard Cheshire also always needs help fundraising and organising social events. Or you could get involved in campaigning to try and change people’s attitudes to disability.
  • Mencap - is a major national charity that supports people with learning difficulties and their families and carers. You can choose from a range of volunteering, from befriending or general helping out at one of their local drop in centres or youth clubs. Or develop your professional skills by sharing your teaching skills to help someone read or your coaching skills to assist with sports activities in one of the many local sports clubs the charity runs. Mencap also often needs drivers to help transport people to and from the local sports and activities clubs. Being a trustee is always a great way to develop professional skills. Or you could volunteer at a National Mencap Sport event.
  • With Royal National Institute of Deaf People (RNID) you can help with the various care services they provide in the residential homes they run, supported housing schemes or in people’s own homes or you could help a deaf person find a job through the charity’s employment training and skills service. Or you could even volunteer through work if your company gives you time off to volunteer. They have specific projects for employees of companies to volunteer together on team challenges or for individuals who want to do some ongoing volunteering to develop their personal and professional skills.
  • At Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) you don’t need to be able to read braille to support people with a sight problem. You can volunteer from home, at an RNIB office or in the community, and there are longterm as well as one-off opportunities.Some of the things you could do if you want to work directly with blind people include one-to-one befriending, helping someone access the computer, or helping out at one of the social groups that are run across the country. Or you could help at one of the many support groups, or even over the telephone where you could be a telephone group facilitator. You can offer invaluable support by recording books and other written materials onto audio and CD in one of their studios in Tarporley, Glasgow, Peterborough or Ivybridge, or help with Braille transcribing. They also have HR and admin roles in their offices in Peterborough and London. Just search for current volunteering roles by region.
  • Most volunteer opportunities at the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) require you to have some level of British Sign Language. So this is a great charity to volunteer with if you are interested in practicing and developing your sign language skills. Be a group leader at a sports day or help out at a youth deaf club. Or you could be a Communication Support Worker on one of their residential projects. You don’t have to commit to volunteering every week or even every month there are one day events too. There are lots of charities that exist to raise awareness and support people who have a particular disability. Try googling the disability or condition and contact the relevant organisation directly about volunteering.

Want more ideas or advice?

Local councils run services and advice for people with physical and learning disabilities, including transport, employment and care so they are a good place to go to for information on what disability services are local to you that may need volunteers.

See also the sections on volunteering on holiday, volunteering with animals and volunteering from home.


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