Buddying: the best way to volunteer with disabled people

Buddying is a fantastic way to volunteer in your local community while making a real difference to disabled people facing social isolation. Here’s how.

What is Buddying?  

Sense matches volunteers in London and Manchester with disabled young people in your local area, to spend a morning, afternoon or evening together.  

The programme is designed for people to create great connections. We’ll match you with someone who has similar interests to make sure you have a great time, and you can decide what activities you’d like to do with your buddy.  

So far, Sense buddies have spent thousands of hours together and they’ve formed fantastic friendships. 

If you don’t live in London or Manchester, check out Virtual Buddying – it’s the best way to volunteer remotely. 

Why’s it important?  

The pandemic and recent lockdowns have worsened social isolation and loneliness – especially for disabled people.  

Shielding vulnerable people often comes at the cost of social interaction, which is a crucial part of wellbeing and mental health. 

Saihan, one of the participants on the Buddying programme, explains what buddying means to him: 

“I have had a few Sense buddies over the years, which I’ve loved. I always enjoy the sessions. We usually go out into the community and do all sorts of cool activities.”

A young man in a white poloshirt leaning on a table

How does it work?  

  1. Express your interest using the link below to receive an application form  
  2. Sense will set up some time to speak with you, so we can learn about you and your interests so we can find the right match
  3. You’ll receive some e-learning courses and a training induction package to prepare you before you start  

We’ll also need you to complete a DBS check – we’ll help with the process and we’ll pay for it.  

And that’s it! You’re ready for your first buddying session.  

Sense will be right by your side throughout – with one-to-one support and top-up training as you continue on the project. We’ll also provide a budget to pay for activities and travel expenses. 

Now, time to think about all the fun activities you want to do and the new skills you’d like to learn with your buddy.  

What can you do with your buddy?  

What can’t you do!  

If you’d like to pick up some new skills, you can request materials or budget from Sense. Want to go to the London Eye? A zoo? Learn Tai Chi? We’ve got you covered! 

If you want to see what other people get up to, check our Instagram page.

Being a volunteer buddy put things in life into perspective – especially during COVID. It shifted perspective away from myself and about someone else.

Emily, who volunteers with Kayden as a Sense buddy

How can you get involved?

Click the button below to fill in a short registration form. Sense will call or email you and then send you what you need to get started. We can’t wait to hear from you!

We’re looking for people across Manchester and London. We also have a particular demand for people in East London at the moment, so if you live there don’t hesitate to reach out!