Aims, Activities & Outcomes The Need We Meet Many children, young people and adults with learning disabilities are socially isolated, with few opportunities and low levels of confidence, wellbeing and social skills. We address this through volunteer befriending: creating real and equal friendships that also provide respite for carers. Friendships are essential for human happiness and our volunteers are often the only people in member’s lives purely out of choice. This has an enormous impact on wellbeing and self-esteem, and carers can enjoy the time for themselves because they know the person they care for is having fun with friends in a safe environment How Our Service Works 1:1 links Members are matched with volunteers who share their interests, are of a similar age and can meet them regularly.  Because of the nature of learning disabilities, relationships can take some time to establish, so we aim for sustainable links which last at least 6 months. Activities take place in the community, for example going to the cinema, local events, walks, shopping, coffee, arts & crafts, golf, swimming or football.  Activities usually last around 3 hours and can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. We aim to link most children and young people with our young volunteers, who are mainly in the 15-18 age range. 1:1 links have a very special quality because the volunteer is often the only person in the member’s life who is there purely out of choice. Befriending Groups We currently run 20 befriending groups, ranging in size from 6 to 16 people, usually with equal numbers of members and volunteers. Most meet every fortnight in the evening, but the Caledonian and Coldstream groups meet monthly. One group is intergenerational, but the others cater for specific ages: children’s groups for 8-16 year olds have an emphasis on play, the young people’s groups for 16-25 year olds involve more personal development, and our adult groups use arts, crafts, cooking and drama to build close bonds and friendships. The aim is for the groups to be as much like mainstream youth and adult social groups as possible. They do the same range of activities (including overnight trips), and ideally the distinction between those with learning disabilities and volunteers get forgotten as relationships develop. Outcomes In our most recent Impact Report: 93% of children, young people and adults with learning disabilities said we had helped make them happier. 96% reported their confidence had improved 89% had greater self-esteem 86% said their lifeskills had developed 68% had greater physical wellbeing. 72% of family carers told us they had improved wellbeing, had more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role and were better able to sustain that role. 92% of our volunteers said they were now more aware of learning disabilities, and more confident in forming relationships with people with learning disabilities.
Aims, Activities & Outcomes The Need We Meet Many children, young people and adults with learning disabilities are socially isolated, with few opportunities and low levels of confidence, wellbeing and social skills. We address this through volunteer befriending: creating real and equal friendships that also provide respite for carers. Friendships are essential for human happiness and our volunteers are often the only people in member’s lives purely out of choice. This has an enormous impact on wellbeing and self-esteem, and carers can enjoy the time for themselves because they know the person they care for is having fun with friends in a safe environment How Our Service Works 1:1 links Members are matched with volunteers who share their interests, are of a similar age and can meet them regularly.  Because of the nature of learning disabilities, relationships can take some time to establish, so we aim for sustainable links which last at least 6 months. Activities take place in the community, for example going to the cinema, local events, walks, shopping, coffee, arts & crafts, golf, swimming or football.  Activities usually last around 3 hours and can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. We aim to link most children and young people with our young volunteers, who are mainly in the 15-18 age range. 1:1 links have a very special quality because the volunteer is often the only person in the member’s life who is there purely out of choice. Befriending Groups We currently run 20 befriending groups, ranging in size from 6 to 16 people, usually with equal numbers of members and volunteers. Most meet every fortnight in the evening, but the Caledonian and Coldstream groups meet monthly. One group is intergenerational, but the others cater for specific ages: children’s groups for 8-16 year olds have an emphasis on play, the young people’s groups for 16-25 year olds involve more personal development, and our adult groups use arts, crafts, cooking and drama to build close bonds and friendships. The aim is for the groups to be as much like mainstream youth and adult social groups as possible. They do the same range of activities (including overnight trips), and ideally the distinction between those with learning disabilities and volunteers get forgotten as relationships develop. Outcomes In our most recent Impact Report: 93% of children, young people and adults with learning disabilities said we had helped make them happier. 96% reported their confidence had improved 89% had greater self-esteem 86% said their lifeskills had developed 68% had greater physical wellbeing. 72% of family carers told us they had improved wellbeing, had more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role and were better able to sustain that role. 92% of our volunteers said they were now more aware of learning disabilities, and more confident in forming relationships with people with learning disabilities.