NCVO Volunteering Consultant, Helen Tourle, and Ian Pritchard, Chief Officer at Alternative Futures Group, discuss making volunteering accessible for the people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions.
Why is volunteer accessibility important?
NCVO’s recent Time Well Spent (2023) shows the positive impact volunteering has for the individual taking part, with 75% of respondents in 2023 agreeing their volunteering improved their mental health and wellbeing.
Volunteers also report they feel like they’re making a difference, they gain a sense of personal achievement, and it gives them a chance to meet new people, through an enjoyable activity.
72% also agree that volunteering gives them new skills and experience.
We know it’s key to facilitate these opportunities for the people we support in our mental health and learning disability divisions – so what are the best ways to approach this?
Improving approaches for volunteers
Make it easy to get involved
Working with local organisations to understand their volunteer recruitment processes and how these might be made more accessible. This can include things such as:
information or application forms being provided in other formats such as Easy Read
support workers attending interviews with the person they support
By having conversations with local volunteer-involving organisations we can help them identify these barriers in the volunteer recruitment experience and offer our expertise to help them make adjustments.