Me2 Club is an inclusion charity which aims to tackle the isolation and exclusion which can impact children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. We do this by training specialist volunteers, pairing them with a child or young adult to support them during leisure activities they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to enjoy. We’re proud to say that our volunteers help to give vulnerable children the opportunity to make friends, grow in confidence and experience independence – something all children need and deserve.
Like most charities, our volunteers are so important to us; their altruism, generosity of spirit and passion for what they do is instrumental to our services. The voice of our volunteers is so important, and today we wanted to shine a spotlight on the volunteer stories of a handful of the wonderful people who make Me2 Club what it is.
“My own sister struggles to attend mainstream activities without someone else’s assistance, and having that personal experience is partly what drove me to volunteer with Me2 Club. I’ve been partnered with Alex, who I support at ninja gymnastics. It’s inspiring to see him try so hard every week to learn new skills and interact with his peers and teacher, and his incredible persistence has been rewarded with the certificates and awards he’s earned.
I’m proud to know that I’ve played a small part in helping Alex become less dependent on his family and more comfortable being around new people. I’m also happy to know that the time I volunteer gives the family a little respite break.
Volunteering with Me2 Club isn’t just a one-way street; yes, it makes an impact on the young person you will work with – but the volunteer also benefits, becoming more patient and developing soft skills. Creating a relationship with my young person and seeing it develop over the sessions has been a gift and is something that I definitely recommend to others.”
“For me, the best part of volunteering has been getting to know and support a fantastic boy called Buster and his amazing family. Each week I help him go swimming at the local pool, repeating instructions, demonstrating activities, helping him be more social and assisting him when things are a little tricky for him. Over the last year we’ve built a really strong bond and its lovely seeing him every week.
I would 100% recommend volunteering! It’s so rewarding seeing Buster improve week on week. And it’s helped me too, teaching me to be more confident talking to new people; I’ve really seen my confidence and communication skills improve as I adapt to help my young person in the best way. I now understand better how to explain and convey information, which will help me in my future. I’ve also learned the importance of inclusion for everyone.
I’m so glad I found Me2 Club and get to help a fantastic child on a personal level. It’s amazing fun, the Me2 Club team are fabulous, and I’ve always felt so supported.”
“I’ve always been involved in volunteering and was initially attracted to Me2 Club because I loved the idea of supporting inclusivity by enabling children to join in mainstream activities and making a real difference to one child. I support Max at Cubs and am here to help him engage in the activities, encourage him when he struggles or loses interest and, maybe most importantly, support him making friends.
Taking this role has really opened my eyes to the importance of inclusivity, of play, of friendship and it’s a big impact on how I interact in people more broadly.
It’s a hugely rewarding role. Seeing Max thriving at his activity, building social skills, trying new things and getting more confident is lovely, and the thought that I’m playing a small part in this makes me so happy. I feel very lucky to be able to build a bond with this lovely, smart and caring young man, and hope that knowing that I’m here to support him also takes a little of the pressure and worry away from his mum.”
“Volunteering with Me2 Club you are building relationships, not just with your young person but also with their family, which is important because often they need emotional support too.
Doing this has helped me improve my social skills, get me out of the house and talk to people who from different age groups to me. I think the biggest personal benefit is that my experience with Me2 Club has made me more employable: when I was applying for support worker positions over summer, having the role on my CV was helpful in interviews and it’s also been useful to prepare me for a career in psychology.
I feel like there is a misconception that people think they don’t have enough time for volunteering, but what surprised me about helping Me2 Club is that volunteering has required a smaller time investment than I initially thought; for just 2 hours a week I’m making a difference – and certainly getting more out of the time than I would have otherwise.
My advice to those looking to volunteer is find something you have some kind of connection to. Then it never feels like a chore and is always enjoyable. Personally, I think it is a great experience and everyone could dedicate an hour or two hours out of their week for volunteering!”
To learn more about Me2 Club and our volunteering opportunities, we’d love you to visit our website and follow our social channels for all our latest updates:
Visit our website: me2club.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @me2club
Like us on Facebook: @me2clubcharity
Follow us on Instagram: @me2club