Many people in our society face special problems; they include those with
particular physical or mental disadvantages.
There are many specialist organisations
helping people with these particular disadvantages;
others provide help to specific groups like youth or older
people, families and individuals and those with particular health
Most of these organisations use
volunteers on a regular or occasional basis. You can also be
an informal carer for friends or family members who have problems of this
Much of the work involves
basic activities like home visits, driving and befriending, though
there is also scope for volunteers in special counselling and advisory
services. Other activities in which volunteers often
participate include fund raising and administration.
British Dyslexia Association www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk/
Disabled Living Foundation www.dlf.org.uk/
Royal National Institute for Deaf People www.rnid.org.uk/
Royal National Institute for the Blind www.rnib.org.uk/
SCOPE (Spastics Association) www.scope.org.uk/
See also the organisations listed under
The British Deaf News
Find a local group or club
that covers the type of disadvantaged people that you want to help
(see organisations above).
See if your local group
offers introductory sessions or events. Take a class or course
relevant to the type of disadvantage at your local adult education
Consult books or magazines
on different types of disadvantage and how to cope with them.
Check in your local
library/paper or volunteer centre for more information.
Skills and people
People of all ages and
both sexes can volunteer to help others who are disadvantaged.
There is no need to have special skills or knowledge but many groups
offer volunteers training in caring and giving advice.
Obviously, in order to help
the disadvantaged, you need to be in contact with people
with one or more of these special problems.
You can find the people who
need help either by contacting the specialist organisations or through
your own friends and family.
Equipment or clothing
As a volunteer you don't need to have any special equipment, though
volunteer drivers often use their own cars, and volunteer administrators
may have their own computers and/or office equipment.
Some organisations like you to
wear badges or clothing to identify yourself.
A place or facilities
You can help people with special problems in their own homes, by taking/driving people where they
want to go, or by working in a social centre or residential home.
Fund raising and administration will generally involve activities locally,
with some work at home.