Disabled people of any age often do not have the same access as those who are not disabled to jobs, general services and many other opportunities. Government authorities are often able to help the disabled but may also fall short of resources. Volunteering one’s time and abilities can help in the task of aiding the disabled much easier.
Volunteering can also give the disabled feelings of hope, that there are individual people who care about them and want to help them. When volunteers give of themselves to the disabled they make a difference which provides its own physical and mental rewards. Focusing on someone other than yourself can interrupt patterns that produce tension and promote feelings of joy and optimism which can strengthen the immune system and make one healthier.
Scope is an organisation in the United Kingdom that focuses on providing many services for the disabled. Volunteers help Scope in its many services for the disabled. Scope provides information on how to finance the additional costs of a disability; how to get support for finding a job; how one can live independently in the community; how to find how to find accessible leisure activities and sports clubs; and information for drivers who are disabled.
The Disabilities Trust is a leading charity in the UK that provides support for people with complex needs and disabilities. Disabilities Lifestyles is one of the groups in the Trust which provides specialist services for people with physical disabilities including muscular dystrophy, stroke, arthritis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and disabilities as the result of accidents. Physical care is provided and people’s individual needs are assessed so that care meets the specific needs of the disabled person, resulting in a feeling of independence and control over their lives. Volunteers are trained in particular areas so they can be of best service to the clients of the charity.
The Leonard Cheshire Disability is another charity in the UK that uses the services of over 5,000 people every year to improve the lives of disabled people. Volunteers help in the various services which the charity provides. These include accommodation services such as helping in support living and registered care in people’s homes and specialist acquired brain injury rehabilitation services. Volunteers also help with social, education and leisure services that include community outreach services, day support and respite support. In addition, working in the shops of the charity and assisting with campaigning and fundraising are activities in which volunteers get involved.
Those who volunteer with Action for Children primarily focus on supporting the most vulnerable children, young people and families in the UK. The charity uses its volunteers to help little ones learn about the world through play activities, support parents and caregivers who are struggling to get by and mentor a young person who has little contact with their family or support parents. Volunteers are also needed for more support-related roles such as assisting with administrative needs, such as fundraising and planning events, or driving young disabled people to activities and programs.
The Whizz-Kidz also works with disabled children to support them so they gain the confidence they need to become independent young adults. Volunteers for this charity help in the delivery of its services, help to raise awareness of issues with regards to mobility and help in fundraising efforts.
Volunteers can also become buddies, in a one-to-one support role helping out a young person at the charity’s youth clubs where those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids get together on a regular basis or design and run sessions at Camp Whizz-Kidz, the residential camps of the charity.