Skill promotes opportunities to empower young people
and adults with any kind of disability to realise their potential in
further, continuing and higher education, training and employment throughout
the United Kingdom.
We work by providing information and advice to individuals,
promoting good practice and influencing policy in partnership with disabled
people, service providers and policy makers.
Raising awareness about the benefits disabled volunteers with disabilities
bring to the workplace is another one of our key functions.
Whether you're a seasoned volunteer or fresher
- or an organisation working with disabled volunteers or not - we hope
you will find our web pages informative, interesting and most of all
Read about Skills Volunteering Project
Volunteering opportunities with RNIB
RNIB has launched a new volunteer section of their website. Check the link for volunteering opportunities around the UK with RNIB.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Front row Peter, Pablo, Tim; back row Jackie and Jason
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
boasts over 2,000 active volunteers across five hospital sites, 60 of
who have a disability.
Disabled volunteers Peter, Pablo, Jason and Tim
have served over 10 years between them. Volunteer Services Manager,
Jackie Knowles is responsible for the strategic development of volunteering.
Her role includes trying to convince wards and department
managers of the benefits and of taking on a volunteer, something she
has mastered with some success.
She explains how. Read or
Pablo Mortby -
“The health service works for all sorts of people with different abilities
Pablo was encouraged to join the volunteering
team two years ago by a disabled friend who was also a volunteer at
the hospital. Find out what he gets up to as a volunteer. Read
Jason Chadburn -
“Since I’ve been here it [Sheffield Great Northern Hospital] has improved
a lot with better sign posting and for people to read like myself.”
Jason has been a volunteer at the trust for 4 years. He started out as a Hospital Welcomer, before helping to set a newsletter for disabled volunteers.
Peter Watling -
"I actually treat volunteering like therapy. The hospital is a safe
environment for me.”
Three years ago Peter Watling suffered a stroke
and spent fourteen weeks on a hospital ward.
A keen sportsman he was unable to play his
beloved golf as actively as he once did or would have liked.
As well as developing an interest in computers,
he has also fallen for volunteering in a big way too! Read more.
One-to-One Enfield - fully inclusive!
One-to-One Enfield was set up 12 years ago to support
people who would normally be excluded from their communities into mainstream
Through its Community Inclusion Project it builds
relationships between people from different backgrounds together.
“We are very much an organisation that works
with people with learning disabilities,” explains Andrew Wilson, the
projects Volunteer Co-ordinator. “But the ethos of the organisation
is to treat everyone as equal”
Andrew’s role is to train and support volunteers
so that they can fulfil the many volunteering opportunities involved
at the organisation.
He currently works with a group of over 45
volunteers who carry out a range of roles from assisting in arts and
crafts sessions to getting involved in the various committee meetings.
Before starting their placements all volunteers
must attend a training course designed to help them get a better understanding
of their role as a volunteer.
Andrew explains the approach to the sessions
Committed volunteers- Bill and Sheila Barry.
Sheila and Bill
Sheila and Bill Barry have been married for
12 years and began volunteering with Enfield 1-2-1 over six years ago.
Bill sits on the fundraising committee that makes decisions on ways
of raising funds for the organisation.
Sheila began as an advisor on the management
committee and has since been voted in as a director. Read or
listen to Bill and Sheila’s very first volunteering assignment.
Working with Words - empowering lives!
Everyday events such as attending meetings at
the benefits office or a visit to the doctor’s surgery can often be
quite a daunting experience for people with learning difficulties.
Working with Words, a small company based in
Greenwich helps individuals to take control of these situations by using
picture and video images to make information more accessible.
As well as providing work experience placements,
the organisation also has a trusted team of volunteers.
Denise Brown - From pen and paper to computers!
Denise at Computer
After a spell in hospital Denise Brown, 52,
was encouraged to take up volunteering by her support worker.
“I’d always wanted to work with computers and
develop my typing skills,” she says.
“I’d never used computers before, when I was
growing up we used pen and paper to write letters!
I still find working on the computers difficult
at times as my hands are not so steady but it has really has given me
more confidence with reading and writing.”
After three years with the organisation Denise
has no doubts about the benefits voluntary work has brought to her life.
“When I came out of hospital I really wanted to get back on my feet
volunteering has helped me get into a routine.
It’s given me a chance to meet other people
and gives me something to look forward to.”
The organisation has not only enabled individuals
to develop new skills and broaden social networks but also shaped the
lives in other ways too.
Katherine Bone - Growing independent
For Katherine Bowen, 21, who joined the team
two years ago - after completing a computer course at college - it has
meant getting used to a new travel arrangements.
“When I was at college I always relied on mum
and dad to give me a lift to college but I now I can get a taxi to and
from my volunteering placement on my own.”
Despite her independence there is one small
matter Katherine has yet to get used too. “I have to get up early to
so I can get to my placement on time - I’m not very good at that yet!"
Skill Interview - Alan Eagle
Eagle is the manager of Abbey Charitable Trust. He has many years experience
working with volunteers with additional support needs in the voluntary
sector and was instrumental in setting up Abbey plc disabled mentoring
pilot scheme for staff with disabilities. The companys other volunteering
projects include working with local school pupils through e/face-to-mentoring
and supporting charities using their business expertise, both are open
to all employees.
What we try and do is pair people up on the
basis of their disability so that if someone has a visual impairment
we would try and find a mentor who has experience of visual impairment,
Alan explained when he spoke to Skill via telephone from his office
in Milton Keynes.
Find out why he set up the scheme, the role
of the mentor and the incentive to Abbey. Read
to the interview.
Skill Interview - Dr Mike Nussbaum
Dr Mike Nussbaum is the Chair of Volunteering England
and former Chair of the now defunct Consortium for Opportunities in
Volunteering. He has an extensive CV working in the field of community
development for local authorities and in the voluntary sector.
I have always been involved in and with the
voluntary sector - as a volunteer literally since my teens, Mike explained
When I retired I got involved with Volunteer Connection, the local
Volunteer Bureau in Milton Keynes that inevitably got me involved almost
Dr Mike Nussbaum talks about the new organisation
he Chairs, his volunteering experience, his role in the Guide Dogs Access
for all Campaign and his views on the changing image of volunteering.
The interview was conducted via telephone from his home in Milton Keynes.
Welcome to the Forum
Got an opinion on the subject of volunteering?
Good or bad let us know about it by visiting our discussion
forum. Anecdotes, funny or otherwise, are
welcome - so long as they fall within the realms of decency!
all other queries contact our information team - email or call our free
helpline - 0800 328 5050
[Updated 17th September 2005]