Expert event - volunteers' week (1 - 7 June) - Mencap


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Expert event - volunteers' week (1 - 7 June)

Sarah_Mencap profile image

1 - 7 June 2020 was volunteers' week and we wanted to hear any stories, or questions, you had about volunteering.

This topic is now closed, but please do read the amazing posts for advice and information for anything to do with volunteering.

Throughout this week we had people from our Volunteering team around to answer questions about volunteering, and to share some of the positive stories.

Best wishes


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17 Replies


i have been volunteer for 21 years i work round people who have a round

people who have a learning disability in 2018 i want a award from the mayor of london

long service award

sedley wilson

Well done Sedley

That's fantastic! Thanks for your amazing contribution!

We have a lot of volunteers with learning disabilities, particularly in our retail shops, as it helps them gain valuable experience for finding work and gives them the chance to make new friends.

Hello Trent

I can’t do my normal volunteering role at the moment (with a local learning disability group). Do you know of any online courses I do that might help me improve my skills whist I have more spare time? I am interested in anything that improves my knowledge about learning disability, communicating better with people, or ideas about activities we could do. Also interested in any courses about well-being.Thanks

Hiya! That's a really good question. As you can imagine, a lot of our volunteering has changed in the past few months, so we have a lot of volunteers in a similar situation to yourself.

We are currently updating our training to be available online and delivered via webinar or via recorded training. Unfortunately, that is something that is happening a bit slower than we'd like so its not available just yet. As soon as it is, your Volunteer Manager should be in touch with how to take part.

Hope that helps! Thanks again for volunteering with us and for your continued support!


To get us started for Volunteers' week here is a post from Andy about his friendship with Michael.

"Here is my story about the volunteering work I do with my friend Michael with the great Mencap Team in Sheffield.

I am now in my third year of volunteering with the Sheffield Mencap Team. A shared love for Sheffield United football team, the Blades, brought Michael and me together. Initially I volunteered to go with Michael each home game to watch Sheffield United. Despite a disastrous start on the football pitch (when United failed to win for the first three matches we went to!!) Michael and I enjoyed our time together and loved reminiscing about the Blades.

Over the weeks and months our friendship has developed. We discovered a shared tasted in music and have been to a number of music gigs together including The Proclaimers; ELO; Johnny Cash & Queen. Michael has also introduced me to his excellent local coffee shop where we enjoy meeting up to share a latte and discuss the Blades or a new Superhero film.

We enjoy spending time together and share lots of laughs so it has been very hard not being able to meet up during Lockdown. We are still able to phone each other and catch up but we have also tried to find other ways to keep in touch and maintain our friendship during these challenging times

I have tried a few things such as sending over some CDs & DVDs for Michael. I created a couple of playlists for Michael on Spotify and sent these to his support workers, who have been excellent during the Lockdown, so they can play them for Michael when they visit. One was my favourite rock playlist and the other was a Blades playlist with music they play at our football ground before the matches.

I have also made my first home videos for Michael! The first one was a funny one to wish him a very happy ‘Sheffield United’ birthday and tell him how much we were missing seeing him.

I have also created a Music Quiz Video for Michael – he knowledge of Classic Rock songs is brilliant and he knew all the answers.

Michael has also been working hard to keep in touch with me and to keep me positive in this difficult time! He has created his own music playlist for me and send me some videos, via Mencap, telling me how he is doing & wishing me a Happy VE Day! I love seeing how well he is doing despite being stuck in his flat – he has been so positive.

I have really missed seeing Michael over the last few weeks – but it has been great sharing video messages with my friend! I have also missed seeing Michael’s friends from his flats and the great guys from Mencap who provide support at the service.

We both miss our football and are looking forward to returning to watch Sheffield United in the future. But I am really looking forward to meet Michael again face to face and going to his local coffee shop for a latte – it will be the best latte ever! "

I hope this has got your juices flowing and feeling inspired. Please do post any questions you have about volunteering here.



Hi. I was going to be a volunteer cheerer at the London marathon in April. Sad it didn't go ahead (fingers crossed for October). I though cheering was a great way to support Mencap and have a great day too. I can't commit to volunteering regularly so this suited me much better. I love being part of something bigger. It also helps me feel more confident. I don't go to London often do it was going to be a big adventure. 😃

Hiya Freddy! Thanks for signing up to cheer with the London Marathon and sorry it didn't go ahead. The world is a very unpredictable place at the moment and we were also really disappointed to see the event postponed.

We have other volunteering opportunities that might just be a one off event. They might be working with fundraising or helping out at events at a service. The best way to find out about them is to email and ask about events that are scheduled in your area so we can let you know! Of course, we don't have many of these events at the moment with the current pandemic, but we're hopefully going to have more in in the next few months to watch out for!

Hi All! I just wanted to quickly answer a question that has come up several times in the past with regards to volunteering at Mencap. The question is:

Can you volunteer at Mencap if you have a Learning Disability?

The answer is, of course! We have several volunteer roles that are specifically designed for people with a learning disability, such as helping us to shape policy and being ambassadors and guest speakers, we try to include the people that we support in as many ways as possible.

We also open our volunteer roles to people with a learning disability, with a good chunk of our retail volunteers being from this group. This can be part of a plan to help them into paid employment or to help them expand their social circles and gain confidence.

Volunteering has many benefits for everyone, and that includes people with a learning disability.

Sarah_Mencap profile image

Hey Volunteering_Mencap

There is a lovely post here from Hidden -

How cool is that!



Sarah_Mencap profile image

Hello again Volunteering_Mencap

Here is another lovely post about Dennis the volunteer pony! -


Hello again

Here is another lovely post from one of our amazing volunteers.

“I am Emily and I have been a visitor for Mencap’s Visiting Service for 4 ½ years. I was introduced to Ben in November 2015. We hit it off immediately and are now firm friends. Every 2 months, Ben and I go out for the day, usually for lunch and shopping, but we’ve also had some special outings including seeing Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat twice, and going on a Stadium Tour at Nottingham Forest Football Club for Ben’s 50th – Ben is a huge fan because his Dad was once goal-keeper for the club.

I know Ben really looks forward to our trips out (as do I) and I didn’t want him to feel abandoned during the lockdown. We had an update from MVS suggesting we write or send small gifts to our friend. I started sending Ben regular letters with some bits of news about what my family and I are doing, photographs, and other things like craft ideas or a print-out of attractions like zoos he and his friends could visit on-line. I sent him a DVD he wanted for Easter (as Ben doesn’t think chocolate is healthy!), and I am trying to find the football stickers he collects so I can pop a packet of those in with his next letter. His keyworker sent me a photo so I get the right ones!

Ben always loves sharing photographs and I usually take a photo of us each time we meet up. He has one of the photos in his room. One day during the lockdown I saw an advertisement for a company who would make a good-quality Ravensburger jigsaw from your own photograph. Ben always has a jigsaw on the go, and often I have a cup of tea with him and we do a bit of his current puzzle together before we go out, so I thought this would be a perfect gift. I ordered it for delivery direct to Ben, so I’m waiting for an excited phone call when it is delivered.

Ben’s keyworker told me that Ben enjoyed getting my letters so much that he wanted to reply, and I have had a couple of lovely letters with photos of Ben doing things at home like an Easter egg hunt, playing lawn darts, making pompoms and weaving. Ben has also started writing to other friends and family members and his keyworker says this has helped keep his spirits up.

My friendship with Ben is really important to me. Spending time with him is so rewarding as he is always so happy to see me and enjoys our outings so much. He always asks after my husband and my dogs, and likes hearing about them and seeing their photos. I love planning

surprises and outings for Ben, and I’ve learned that he needs lots of time to get used to new ideas before we do things! At the moment, we are thinking about going cycling on adapted bikes, but it might take a while before we actually do it, especially because of lockdown. As soon as it’s safe, I’m looking forward to visiting Ben, getting a big hug and a kiss from him, and catching up on all his news. "

Please share any volunteering stories you have. We would love to hear from you. I'll also do my best to answer any questions you have.

Hi Trent. My son is at university (or he was, now back home). Are there any opportunities for him to volunteer whilst he is home as it looks like it is going to be for a while. Also when he physically goes back could he transfer to volunteer nearer to universities.

We would both be interested in cheering at the marathon if that goes ahead. I know some of your original volunteers might not be able to make it then or might not fancy it anymore.



Hi Jo,

That's great to hear that both of you would be interested in volunteering with Mencap at the marathon. We're still planning for it to go ahead but of course we're being as flexible as possible. Your best bet to find out more would be to contact to register your interest in volunteering at the marathon.

We are just about to roll out some new distance volunteering opportunities in the next few weeks that might be a perfect fit for your son! One would involve sending letters to services with people we support and potentially gifts and care packages. All intended to brighten up people's day after many have been stuck in their homes for so long! Again, if he contacts with more information about his local area (both at home and at uni) we can double check what might be available more locally going forward.



Sarah_Mencap profile image


We are getting towards the end of our focus on volunteering. Thank you for all your lovely posts.

There has been a lot of chatter about volunteering on social media all week. Here are a couple of my favourites:

> Hear from Mencap's ambassador George Webster - you may have seen George if you volunteered to be a cheerer at the London Marathon as he sent emails in his capacity as Chief Cheerer!

> - Martha tell us what she loves about volunteering with Gig Buddies!

Best wishes


Hi Sarah,

I have volunteered in this pandemic to teach my son in the autistic spectrum and his cousin who have similar disabilities in learning about life skills and confidence. I have set up various zoom classes throughout the month of Ramadhan to teach about our religion, life skills and so on. Please check his YouTube account Ridwan chowdhury 123. Thank you.

Hi everyone!

Thanks so much for having us here with you during Volunteers' Week 2020! Its been really good to chat to some of you and answer your questions. Plus its been nice to share some of the good stories we've had in volunteering over the past few months.

As we draw the week to a close, I just want to say thank you again to everyone who has volunteered with us. We can't deliver the services that we do without the time and energy that you share with us.

If you have any questions about volunteering with Mencap or would like to get involved yourself, email to get in touch with a member of our team who can help.

Thanks again!


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