Volunteering to Help People with Learning Difficulties

Those with learning difficulties or disabilities often find doing daily tasks a challenge and may be prevented from doing more creative activities as well. Those who volunteer to help people with learning difficulties can make an enormous difference in their lives and change their lives for the better. Volunteers provide a great deal of support to such people but also gain a great deal from the experience as well.

FitzRoy is a national charity in the United Kingdom that helps people with learning difficulties to lead a more independent life. The charity supports people in their homes and outside in the community so that they are able to make their own choices and be more successful. FitzRoy provides a variety of services and programmes that can be tailored to the needs, wants and desires of an individual so that they can live in a comfortable environment, take up new challenges and play a valuable role in the community.

The fundraising efforts of FitzRoy go towards specific items that enable people with learning difficulties to live as independently as possible so as to become more confident and improve their sense of well-being. These items can include computer suites, sensory rooms and gardens, day trips and holiday, tracking hoists, assistive technology around the home and tools and equipment for environmental projects and gardening. In addition, the charity raises money to refurbish existing homes or build new ones for the learning disabled. Volunteers are used by the charity to provide support and assistance in their local communities and enrich the lives of the people they serve.

Community Service Volunteers or CSV is another major charity in the United Kingdom that plays an active role in helping people with learning difficulties to lead independent lives. CSV enables those with learning difficulties to get supplemental support and added value to the services offered by professional healthcare individuals. CSV volunteers can help with and encourage the development of new skills, support integration into the community, promote independence by reducing dependence on traditional services and give individuals more control and choices in their everyday lives.

The Conservation Volunteers is an organisation that works to reclaim green places in the United Kingdom and has been doing so since 1959. The group looks upon maintaining green spaces as not only good for nature but good for people as well as they can be used as playgrounds, a gym or a classroom. But, in addition to their work with the recovery of green spaces, they run a group for adults with learning difficulties and use volunteers to help them with their projects. These can include growing food, gardening, cooking and craft sessions and going on trips to see different nature reserves and gardens.

People in Action provides opportunities for volunteers to meet, become friends with and support people with learning difficulties on a regular basis. With the support of volunteers, the clients of the charity are able to achieve their personal interests and desires through their own individual abilities. The organisation has services for youth who are between 18 and 25 years of age and adults who are over 18 years of age with some overlap in these services so young people can access them up to the age of 25.

Services for young people include personalised support, community- based learning, play and recreation and transitional support which can include applying for college, finding work, health and relationship problems, money, housing and emotional support. Some of the adult services include evening programmes of music or sports; day trips; sessions to learn positive ways to parent, build relationships and develop methods of discipline and behaviour; and a drama programme to develop acting skills and build confidence and team working skills.

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