Tel: 020 7723 1216   Email: info@onewestminster.org.uk

Befriending and Mentoring Adults with Learning Disabilities

Would you like to make a big difference to the life of someone who has a learning disability? One Westminster is recruiting volunteers who can spare two hours a week supporting adults with learning disabilities in Westminster. This is a new and exciting befriending and mentoring scheme funded by the Big Lottery Fund. All you need to start this role is enthusiasm and the skills you already have.

Apply here

Apply here

For further information about volunteering with us or to request an Application Pack, please email the Learning Disabilities Coordinator or call on 0207 535 0484.

Down on the farm

Down on the farm

For this year’s summer outing we decided to do something completely different and visit a working city farm, Surrey Docks City Farm near Rotherhithe in east London. Around 10 of us duly set off by minibus – and as very few people had been to a farm before we weren’t quite sure what we were going see and do. There was no need to worry. On arrival we were given a brilliant tour by project manager Tracey of all the animals – from sheep and goats to pigs and donkeys. We  particularly enjoyed feeding the sheep and goats. We also got the chance to make butter from cream and saw all around the fruit orchards and vegetable plots. It's amazing how much is produced by the farm - and all in the heart of London.

The one downside was that it poured down with rain the whole day – but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. And we were served a lovely lunch. 

Your role

Your role

As a volunteer befriender/mentor, you will be carefully matched with someone with a learning disability, providing him or her with the one-to-one support needed to help develop a new skill or ability. Depending on the individual’s needs and interests, these can involve:

  • Life skills: helping them with everyday travel, shopping, comparing prices, budgeting, and planning meals.
  • Social skills: improving their interpersonal skills and widening their social network, as well as enabling them to engage with services in the community.
  • Employability skills: identifying transferable or job-related skills that can assist their path to volunteering or paid work (e.g. access to training, CV writing, job searching and application, decision-making skills, team work).

This is an inspiring volunteering opportunity, where you will play a central role in developing someone’s potential, thereby helping them achieve their goals and aspirations, as well as enabling them to lead happier and more independent lives.

Your commitment and expenses

Your commitment and expenses

You will meet your client weekly, at times and locations mutually agreed. Meetings might take place in the individual’s home and/or out in the community. We ask our volunteers to commit to a minimum of two hours a week for six months, so as to ensure continuity and consistency.

You will need to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This is a legal requirement. It’s free and we will set this up and process it.

Your travel and refreshment expenses will be reimbursed, so you won’t be out of pocket.

Who we are looking for

Who we are looking for

We welcome people of all backgrounds and ages (18 plus). Experience in social work or as a carer is not essential as full training and supervision is provided. You will, however, need to have the following qualities:

  • Ability to work using own initiative within the organisation’s guidelines.
  • Commitment and reliability.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to motivate and encourage others to improve.
  • Maturity, patience and sensitivity, and a non-judgemental approach.
  • Ability to follow relevant policies and procedures (e.g. confidentiality, safeguarding).
  • Willingness to participate in project monitoring.
  • Empathy with people with learning difficulties (PWLD).

A joyful journey

A joyful journey

Having had no prior experience of an individual with a severe learning disability, I anticipated many challenges when I volunteered. However, it has been nothing but a joyful journey and I have gained a host of skills. The lady I befriended was certainly able to understand conversations, take part in group activities and learn new things. I will always remember the countless times she surprised me with her general knowledge, her spontaneous questions and random bursts of joyful laughter. I believe she has learned things with me and I have most certainly learned from her too. Her punctuality and excitement at meeting up every week has made this an unforgettable experience.”

Mai, student, volunteer befriender for eight months

How volunteering benefitted me

How volunteering benefitted me

Becoming a volunteer befriender has probably been one of the most challenging things I've had to do to date.  I was extremely lucky in being matched with the young person that I befriended. She was so full of life and we did so much together. I have taken away two main things from my experience. First, to try not to make assumptions about people I meet, to know that there is always more to everyone. Second, to try harder in everything I do because there are others who may not be able to have the same opportunities as I do, so I will never take anything for granted."

Thahura Miah – student, a volunteer befriender for more than one year

Supporting people with learning disabilities

Supporting people with learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities (PWLD) are among the most vulnerable members of society. Our experience and independent research has demonstrated that PWLD face social isolation, lack the skills and confidence to cope with daily tasks, and lack opportunities to integrate into and participate in the community.

We aim to reduce their isolation and increase their ability to participate in their community. We do this by helping them develop new skills and abilities through a personal befriending and mentoring tailored to their needs and interests. PWLD within this scheme are adults (18 plus) with a moderate or less than moderate learning disability, living in Westminster, and who want support to overcome isolation and develop skills.

Support and benefits for volunteers

Support and benefits for volunteers

We support volunteers throughout their time with us, and want to make this experience worthwhile for everyone involved.

  • You will be given an induction course and relevant training.
  • You will also benefit from supervision sessions in our bi-monthly group meetings, where volunteers can share and learn from others’ experiences.
  • You will be given a reference letter for work/employment purposes.

Whatever your motivation, you will be helping transform someone’s life!

Here's our newsletter

Here's our newsletter

We pleased to say that we've just launched a newsletter that explains what our volunteers do. The newsletter was written and edited by Leo Radomir (pictured right) who also took some of the photographs. You can print the newsletter out, or read it on your computer. Click on the blue box, below right, called LD NEWSLETTER