Volunteers are the life blood of sport. Without volunteers sporting opportunities for disabled people would not exist.
EFDS is committed to getting more disabled people involved in sport and physical activity as participants and volunteers. Even if you can only spare a few hours, it really does make all the difference.
What will I be doing?
Your role as a volunteer will change from club to club and from day to day but as a volunteer you are required to support and motivate disabled people in accessing sport and physical activity. You will not need any knowledge of any specific sport,although an interest in health fitness is useful. You will also not be required to create any personal fitness routines or training programmes for disabled people. On a personal level you will need to be patient, motivated and open minded. Above all you will want to help people!
How much time will I be expected to give?
You only need to give as much time as you can; even if this is only 2 or 3 hours a month. The time you give, however should be regular and reliable. People will become reliant on your support so only give whatever time you can afford.
Do I need to know how to work with disabled people?
There is a ‘fear factor’ when working with disabled people but this is certainly unfounded. Training should be provided by the club or organisation you are wanting to volunteer with but as a rule be patient and prepared to use various forms of communication if your point is not being understood. Volunteering with disabled people can sometimes be challenging but is certainly rewarding.
Will I be treated well?
You deserve to be treated as well as any other employee although you may not have the same rights that an employee would have. The organisation that you volunteer with should have a volunteer policy in place which will define their responsibilities towards their volunteers. Policies which include health and safety and risk assessment, Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks and expense claims. You should discuss these policies with the organisation prior to accepting your placement to ensure that both parties are happy to proceed.
Will I be out of pocket?
As mentioned above most organisations will have a expenses policy in place. Please discuss this with them prior to accepting your placement. Ensure you save your travel receipts, it would also be helpful to complete an expenses claim form to enable you both to keep a record of out of pocket expenses claimed.
Am I allowed to volunteer?
If you are on state benefit you are certainly able to volunteer. You are also still able to claim expenses provided that the money you receive does not exceed the amount you have spent. If on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) you are still able to volunteer but must still be activity seeking employment.
Asylum seekers are also able to volunteer, even while waiting for your case to be heard.
School age children are able to volunteer but their hours of volunteering should fall between 7am and 7pm and is not allowed during school hours.
It is recommended that volunteers keep all records of their hours should any of your work be brought into question by the authorities.