I’ve been volunteering here for three years and my initial interest in the group was supporting adults with Learning Disabilities, which was a background that I already had in working with older teenagers with LD and enabling them to become independent learners and look after themselves when they no longer had the support of the school or social services.
I don’t think it’s essential to have that background for volunteers here, but a passion for helping people with LD is necessary.
I absolutely love volunteering here. I’m very much in favour of trying to make people as independent and self-sufficient as possible, even if they have LD. Allowing them to see how that’s possible and enabling them to do it whilst appreciating the constraints of their own lifestyles is so important.
I’m most proud of the work we do with the food sessions. They came not able to do very much, but now they’re enthusiastic, they have all the basic skills, they understand about healthy eating, they’ve made changes to their own lifestyles, they follow up what we’ve done, they shop more wisely and the people with diabetes have really improved their lifestyles. Listening to how they could do that in going to the shops and looking at possible alternatives has really helped them.
I’m just proud at how independent and accomplished the group I’ve worked with have become. They’re now able to stand in a field of people at Northfield carnival and without any help run a stall where they have to sell to the public, handle money and handle food. They’ve just come on leaps and bounds and it’s fabulous to see.
I started in October, so I’ve been here for 4 months. I was looking for a work placement for university and Becky emailed me back straight away. I came in and she spoke to me, showed me around and I felt it was the perfect opportunity for me because it was a longer period of time rather than just doing it in a block, as many of my uni friends have, which means there is a lot more pressure.
I worked as a support worker before for people with Learning Disabilities. It’s something I’m really passionate about and I’ve decided I’d like to carry on with it afterwards. I was working for a year and a bit as a support worker and it was one of the best things I ever did because it really opens your eyes to the things that people go through and you don’t have a clue about. The same has happened here, even in such a short period of time. That makes you so grateful for the things we take for granted that a lot of people don’t have.
Most recently, we’ve been doing parliament sessions, teaching the ambassadors about parliament to help them make a more informed choice when they go out to vote. A lot of them didn’t have a clue and they weren’t voting at all, because they didn’t even think they could. I actually ran part of the session yesterday, which was scary, but really good – it went well.
I would 100% recommend volunteering at CASBA because I enjoy coming here so much and I haven’t heard that from any of the other students at uni. They’re all stressed about it, saying: “Oh god, I’ve got placement”, whereas I can’t wait to come here!
I’ve been volunteering here for about a year. I came looking to volunteer and support my placement at university. I looked at loads of placements and ruled out loads. I went to various ones; some I couldn’t get into, some I didn’t like, but I also wanted to do something where you actually felt like you were making a difference.
At CASBA, that opportunity was there to come in and be involved in different aspects, whereas from a studying point of view, a lot of people are just involved for a certain number of weeks doing certain things. I wanted to be here for a longer, so I could get to see more and experience more things rather than just getting a snapshot.
I’ve enjoyed the groupwork most, whether that’s the courses or development group. It’s great to see how people come on, like when we were going to do a presentation and we went from people not being confident enough to stand up to read with just us there to then going and being able to present in a church hall. As well as that, I think people open up to you and start talking to you, which they don’t do with everybody on other placements.
I have already recommended volunteering here to other people because it’s such an open place and you are invited in and you can be as involved as you want to. You get to work with everybody, which is great.
I’d just come out of education after 16 years being a mentor and doing safeguarding, then I bumped into Alyson when I came here to do weightwatchers. I only came to get weighed and ended up volunteering for CASBA for over a year now having signed up to help with safeguarding sessions.
They were setting up a group to help people with keeping safe as vulnerable adults and I’ve got quite a bit of expertise in that with young people. I was able to provide some support there, but it was completely new to me because I hadn’t worked with adults with Learning Disabilities before. That was a new thing but also really interesting in terms of seeing whether the principles were the same in terms of learning ability and seeing a different side to things when you’re putting it all together and having to pick people’s brains to use their expertise.
I really enjoyed helping to create that workshop and that course, but then also actually working with adults with LD was something new. I’m quite a chatty person and it was nice to just be able to fit in.
I would definitely recommend volunteering here. I haven’t done much volunteering elsewhere, but this team that I’ve worked with makes you feel very welcome and part of a nice team, which always helps. Plus there’s always coffee on the table!