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Children and young people's buddy - Sense

Closing date: 12 September 2020


For everyone living with complex disabilities. For everyone who is deafblind. Sense is here to offer personalised support to help people communicate and experience the world. We believe that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential. Our experts offer support that’s tailored to the individual needs of each person, whether that’s at our centres, through our holidays and short breaks, or in people’s own homes. 

Role description: 

Volunteer today and you can support children and young people with complex communication needs to get involved with activities in the local community and make the most of their free time.

Each volunteer in the Sense Buddying Service is matched with just one buddy, so you can concentrate on building a friendship that is truly special. You could escort the participant to activities and take part in swimming, bowling, sensory storytelling or visiting museums and parks. Whatever activities you choose together, you will deeply impact your buddy’s life.

Since the Buddying Service was founded, we have seen young people blossom thanks to the support of their volunteers. Many of our buddies have few opportunities to make friends and access activities outside of home and school, so their buddying sessions give them the chance to develop their independence, boost their confidence, discover new passions and most importantly, have fun!

Skills, attributes, experience and qualifications

  • Age 18+
  • Volunteers who understand the value of giving a person choice, independence and dignity
  • Willingness to develop skills or learn new ones in order to best support one particular young person
  • Reliability and good communication skills
  • A sense of fun and adventure!

No prior experience working with children/young people required! Whatever your skills or background, we will provide you with the support you need to be a fantastic volunteer.

What this role offers the volunteer

  • Learn new skills; we work with young people with a range of needs, including sensory impairments, complex medical conditions, autism and learning disabilities - you could learn anything from signing skills to sensory play to support your buddy.
  • Meet like-minded people and make new friends
  • Full training and support provided
  • We can complete detailed references after six months volunteering.

Other information: 

Support for volunteers

  • Induction
  • Volunteer handbook
  • Named supervisor
  • Training - We provide all our volunteers with compulsory training, this is one Saturday a month before buddying starts and the training runs from 10:00-16:00. In this training our buddies have the opportunity to learn about key aspects of the role and meet other volunteers. Lunch is also provided.
  • Support for volunteers with additional needs: We will always do our upmost to support those with additional needs and work alongside our buddies to find out the best way we can support them and putting it into practice.

Recruitment process

The recruitment process involves:

  • Online application form
  • An informal interview
  • DBS check 
  • Reference checks (one professional and one personal known for one year) 
  • Ten year address history
  • The recruitment process takes about four weeks
We need volunteers to commit to sixteen hours a month (generally three/four hours a week) on weekends/evenings. We hope that volunteers will commit to at least six months. The volunteering would take place at the participant’s home and in/around Redbridge. Travel expenses are covered, and an activity budget is provided.
Expenses: Travel and subsistence

Type of activity: 

London Borough of RedbridgeNHS Redbridge Clinical Commissioing GroupCity of LondonLondon CouncilsMayor of LondonSkills Funding Agency  Big Lottery