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? 

  • Can you spare at least two hours a week for at least six months?
  • Are you enthusiastic?
  • Do you have empathy?
  • Could you support someone to develop their skills?

Our exciting befriending and mentoring project is looking for more volunteers!

  • No experience needed
  • We provide full comprehensive training and ongoing support.
  • For further information please email Learning Disabilities Project Coordinator Joel Hylton or call him on 020 7535 0484.

Support and benefits for volunteers

Support and benefits for volunteers

This project provides full support to volunteers throughout their time with us. This includes:

  • Full induction and training
  • Travel and refreshments will be reimbursed and Time Credits awarded.
  • Bi-monthly support sessions allow volunteers to share and learn from others’ experiences.

Please see the full role description below and a recent volunteers' newsletter. 

We really appreciate you coming forward and wanting to make a difference.

VOLUNTEER ROLE DESCRIPTION & NEWSLETTER

Referrals from organisations & self referrals

Referrals from organisations & self referrals

Just as we reach out to people with learning disabilities in Westminster, so we also encourage other organisations to reach out to us. If you would like to refer someone to this project please fill in the form below and attach it in an email to us.

Similarly, if you live in Westminster and have a learning disability, or care for someone who does, you can also refer yourself/the person you care for by downloading and completing the self referral form below, then attaching it in an email to us.

VOLUNTEER INTERVIEWS

VOLUNTEER INTERVIEWS

We always like to get our project members involved in our work. All our volunteers are interviewed before they are matched with a suitable person, so project co-ordinator Joel and Leo (who’s a long-standing project member) recently got together to interview a would-be volunteer for the project. Says Joel: “It was just like a job interview in that we took it in turns to explain the volunteering role, ask questions, take notes and generally explain how the process worked. It was a great opportunity for Leo to develop  communications skills and practise the art of interviewing.”

 

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. 

Issues faced by people with a learning disability

Issues faced by people with a learning disability

People living with a learning disability are some of the most vulnerable members of society. They:

  • Face social isolation as there is a lack of opportunity to integrate into society
  • Lack confidence
  • May attract social stigma
  • May have a lack of social awareness

Befriending and mentoring project for people with learning difficulties project overview

What we offer people with learning disabilities

What we offer people with learning disabilities

We work in partnership with other community organisations ensuring that our clients:

  • Build skills and confidence
  • Improve their quality of life
  • Benefit from change and opportunities
  • Can participate in group activities, such as trips and Christmas parties

See left for an overview of our project and also a flow chart on how we work to change people's lives for the better.

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

Here's our newsletter

Here's our newsletter

We pleased to say that we've launched a newsletter that explains what we do. Leo Radomir (pictured right) contributes a lot to the newsletter and also takes some of the photographs. You can print the newsletter out, or read it on your computer. Click on the blue box, below right, called Our Autumn 2017 newsletter.

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