volunteer


Get involved

 

Are you interested in doing something worthwhile and fulfilling? If the answer is yes then why not volunteer with Ability West, an organisation that provides services and supports to people with an intellectual disability and autism? Read on to learn more.

What does it take to become a Volunteer?

Volunteers should be reliable and patient to the needs of others and most importantly, willing to have a little fun. No specific skills are required to participate in our Volunteer Programme as training is provided. Volunteers are matched to a suitable placement according to their preferences and availability and sometimes through ‘hidden’ talents such as art skills, drama experience, etc. 

What’s in it for me?

Most volunteers find the experience extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

Volunteering is a wonderful way of meeting new people, building on personal skills, learning about others (and yourself) and doing something special with your free time.  There is a feel good factor in getting involved, knowing that you have made a difference to the life of another person or to some aspect of your own community is rewarding.

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Befriending

Some volunteers decide to befriend a person with an intellectual disability or autism thereby affording more social opportunities such as going bowling, to the cinema, and shopping.  Service users benefit from Person Centred Planning (PCP) which tailors work and leisure activities to suit individual needs and preferences.  Volunteers can play an important part in making these choices possible.

David Finnerty, Volunteer Testimonial "Sometimes you don’t know how to react to some of the things people with intellectual disability do, so I was kind of self-conscious going in.  But you treat a person with intellectual disability as you treat anyone else, it’s a fulfilling job and every time you volunteer you feel a little bit better about yourself.  This might be because of what someone says to you or something someone might give to you, they accept you for who you are."

David Finnerty, Volunteer Testimonial

"Sometimes you don’t know how to react to some of the things people with intellectual disability do, so I was kind of self-conscious going in.  But you treat a person with intellectual disability as you treat anyone else, it’s a fulfilling job and every time you volunteer you feel a little bit better about yourself.  This might be because of what someone says to you or something someone might give to you, they accept you for who you are."

Best Buddies

Ability West operates a Best Buddies College Programme which pairs students from NUIG and GMIT in fun, enriching, one to one friendships with their peer who has an intellectual disability or autism. Through these wonderful friendships, Best Buddies volunteers gain a greater understanding of themselves and those with intellectual disabilities and autism. Best Buddies helps break down the existing barriers which may prevent students from meeting and getting involved in the life of a peer who has an intellectual disability or is on the autism spectrum. This programme supports people with an intellectual disability and autism to make life changing friendships.

If you are a student interested in making a change in your life and making a difference to the life of a person with an intellectual disability or autism, why not contact us today to find out more!  “Changing lives, one friendship at a time”

What Support Will I Receive?

The Volunteer Programme Manager provides ongoing support to the volunteer and is always available to meet volunteers to discuss any issues which may arise from the volunteering experience.

Training

Training is provided for all volunteers and is tailored according to placement.  Some modules covered in the training include:

  • Attitudes towards people with an intellectual disability and autism

  • Awareness and understanding of intellectual disability and autism
  • Client protection training

Why not contact the Volunteer Department today and see what difference you can make!

Please contact the Volunteer Programme Manager, on 091 540923 or 087 9971558 or by emailing linda.keane@abilitywest.ie