30 May 2006
Two leading disability organizations in the UK today launched a major new guide ahead of national Volunteers Week aimed at ensuring young disabled people have access to volunteering opportunities.
Charity staff from Scope and Leonard Cheshire are hoping to mark Volunteers Week, 1-7 June, by breaking down a range of barriers preventing young disabled people from giving their time to help others.
The new guide, which was produced with funding from the UK's Home Office, has been created with the help of a group of young disabled people and includes practical advice on involving and recruiting disabled volunteers.
Charity chiefs decided to create the advice booklet after research commissioned by Scope found one in three disabled people had been discouraged from volunteering because of their impairment.
Researchers found discrimination, lack of financial support and accessibility issues are just some of the barriers faced by disabled people when looking for volunteering opportunities.
Danielle Moore, youth volunteering officer at Scope, said: "This project has been a great opportunity for Scope to work collaboratively with Leonard Cheshire and young disabled volunteers.
"Despite having a lot to offer, young disabled people are clearly under-represented within volunteering and we hope that by providing realistic, practical advice to volunteer managers, this guide will help to address this."
David Bourroughs, a young disabled volunteer who was involved in the development of the guide, said: "We wanted the guide to focus on what young disabled people can do, not what they can't do."
Celya Maxted, volunteer manager at Barnardo's, added: "Organizations do want to involve young disabled people, but need guidance. We welcome this toolkit and hope that it goes a long way to break down preconceptions of young disabled people."
Scope is a national disability organization whose focus is cerebral palsy. Its aim is that disabled people achieve equality, a society in which they are as valued and have the same human and civil rights as everyone else.
Leonard Cheshire exists to change attitudes to disability and to serve disabled people around the world. It has been supporting disabled people for almost 60 years and is active in 55 countries. and directly supports over 21,000 disabled people in the UK.