Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation. Thanks to them, the people who use our services can enjoy better social lives and be part of their own community.
We will offer flexible opportunities to fit with people’s time commitments and skills to enable us to grow our volunteering supporter base significantly from around 3,000 to 10,000.
Opening Doors is a volunteering programme that started in the East of England in 2015.
Financed by the Big Lottery Fund, it helps disabled people access social and leisure opportunities through volunteer support. We’re able to support disabled people to access a broad choice of group and individual events and activities on a regular basis.
By offering people access to cultural and sporting activities, as well as skills development, the programme not only enables people to enjoy a hobby, it also helps reduce social isolation.
The scheme works by matching the people who want support with people who want to offer some of their time to support others.
Since we started, applications to volunteer have been flooding in — from people like Richard. Richard, 46, is both a volunteer and ambassador for our project.
The father of three is a former detective and marathon runner, before he suffered a brain stem stroke in 2012 and became ‘locked in’. Richard has tackled his challenges head on by inspiring others to overcome their difficulties.
He’s been volunteering for our programme at St David’s Church, in Holmbridge, West Yorkshire, by offering a variety of activities to meet the needs and abilities of the other participants.
‘This is a really important project for me. I want to help inspire people who may be feeling lonely or isolated, or simply that they feel they don’t fit in.
‘I want to encourage them to get out, and that’s why I’ve put myself forward into the spotlight to demonstrate that, with support, it is possible to overcome fears and difficulties, and find worthwhile activities.’
As a young man, Barry McGuigan got behind the wheel of his car after drinking and crashed at a high speed. At just 22 years old Barry sustained a brain injury following his accident. After six weeks in a coma, Barry was left paralysed, unable to walk, talk or feed himself.
He lives at Cheshire Mews in Lurgan in Northern Ireland and 10 years on, Barry is now learning to talk again and has found a new purpose in his life.
He has been honoured by the Justice Minister and his local council for the efforts he makes in his voluntary work talking to other young people about what happened to him to encourage them not to make the same mistake.
‘I have been able to live my life as independently as possible thanks to all the staff at Cheshire Mews.
‘They have made a difference in my day to day life — their floating support service help me move from nursing care into my own home, I would not have been able to do this without Leonard Cheshire Disability.’