Volunteering on a Sense holiday

Volunteers with holidaymakers in a canoe

Looking for a holiday experience where you get to try new things, meet new people and help others do the same?  Then get involved in one of our Sense Holidays.

Each year, Sense supports up to 300 deafblind people of all ages, on our unique programme of holidays, short breaks and leisure clubs.

Sense Holidays provide opportunities for holiday makers - deafblind children, young people and adults - to have fun, try new things and meet new people.  Many families never have the chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities. Our holidays also give families a break from caring, and enables them to focus on their own health and wellbeing.

Our enthusiastic volunteers use their great interpersonal skills, willingness to learn, team work, flexibility, stamina, patience, humour and care to bring our Sense Holidays programme to life.

We have short breaks in Easter, May and October and week-long holidays that take place in July and August throughout England and Wales. Accommodation ranges from outdoor activity centres, to cottages, farms and barns, to villas, and even barges!  

Activities could include swimming, horse-riding, visits to local attractions, canoeing, dry-slope skiing, meals out, nights in the pub – the possibilities are endless but here are just a few of the things volunteers might do in a holiday:

  • support people who use wheelchairs to go canoeing and ice skating
  • enable people who require medical support to try horse-riding and go to music festivals
  • help holidaymakers with multi-sensory impairments to paddle in the sea and ride rollercoasters

Current vacancies

Please apply now if you are interested in hearing about weekend events and short breaks coming up in September and October.

Apply Now

For more information on this year's holiday and activities read our information sheet for volunteers or download the holidays brochure. 

Check out our video to see the holidays in action:

A ‘can-do’ attitude

A young boy with a woman volunteer at the seaside

We see the person first and the disability second. When you volunteer for Sense holidays, you become part of an organisation that demonstrates its values in all the work it does.

“The whole holiday was a fantastic memory. All the volunteers, the leader and especially the holidaymakers made it such a memorable and enjoyable holiday” Alireza – volunteer

We take great pride in our support for people with multi-sensory impairments. We enable deafblind people to have control over their experiences and engage with the holiday in their own unique way.

We believe that the most important requirement for volunteers is a ‘can-do’ attitude. You don’t need to have previous experience or any special skills. We will make sure you have all the training and support you need before and during the holiday.

Volunteer Sam Killingworth with a holidaymaker on a Sense holidayIt is our priority to build the best volunteer group for the holidaymakers. This means that we sometimes need volunteers who meet specific criteria. We always need more male volunteers so we can provide role models and gender sensitivity for our male holidaymakers. We also look for people with British Sign Language skills and people willing to drive minibuses. We would love to hear from you if you meet these criteria.

"The holiday was not only great fun, but one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done." James – volunteer

A life-changing experience

Over the week you will get to know a group of amazing people. You may help someone experience something completely new. You will discover ways to communicate and get an insight into different perspectives on the world. In 2014, 96 per cent of volunteers said they enjoyed their holiday and 98 per cent said the holiday was a valuable experience.

“The reward I felt when the holidaymakers were enjoying themselves, giggling…was incredible” Rachel – volunteer

Contact Us

We’re always happy to hear from potential volunteers, to answer questions and queries and to help you to find the best way to get involved with our activities.

Email: holidays@sense.org.uk
Write to us at:  Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LG
Tel: 0300 330 9250 / 020 7520 0999
Textphone: 0300 330 9252 / 020 7520 0959
Fax: 0300 330 9251

FAQs

A young girl with man and woman volunteersWhy volunteer with Sense at a holiday or event?
Volunteering on a Sense holiday is a great way to meet people, try new challenges, explore new ways of communicating and visit new places, all while experiencing a huge sense of achievement. As a Sense volunteer you are valued not just for your time and energy but for the unique contribution you bring.

What does a volunteer do?
Ultimately, volunteers support deafblind people to get the most from the holiday or event.  You will usually be paired with an individual so you can develop good communication and understanding to promote choices.  You will provide support to enable individuals to get involved in activities as well as supporting some or all aspects of their daily routine, for example eating or more intimate routines like going to the toilet.

Who can volunteer with Sense at a holiday or event?
We are looking for volunteers who are committed and enthusiastic.  We need people who are caring, patient, open minded, work well in a team and are willing to learn new skills.  You need to have plenty of stamina, great interpersonal skills, respect and a good sense of humour!  You don’t need to have any specific skills or to have done anything similar before; but if you can sign, drive a minibus, lifeguard or are willing to be a first aider then we’d love to hear more. We are particularly looking for male volunteers so that we can provide role models and gender sensitivity for male holidaymakers.

How old do you need to be?
We are able to accept applications from people who are aged eighteen or older. We can occasionally accept applications from people who are aged seventeen and have some relevant skills or experience. There is no upper age limit.

A young boy with a woman volunteer on a Sense holidayWhere do the holidays and events take place?
Our holidays and events take place at a variety of locations throughout England and Wales. Download our latest summer holiday brochure.

When do the holidays take place?
Our week-long summer holiday programme for deafblind children and young adults takes place from mid-July to the end of August. We also run holidays for children and young people in the school half-term and Easter holidays and a smaller programme of holidays for older deafblind people called Holiday Plus. Our day and weekend events for deafblind people and their families take place throughout the year.

Does it cost me any money?
No, we do not charge any money to volunteer on a Sense holiday. All holidays and some events are residential so Sense will pay for your accommodation and food as well as activity costs.
We do ask volunteers to make their own travel arrangements.  However, we can reimburse travel expenses to volunteers who are students, unwaged or who would otherwise be prevented from volunteering with us.

What support do I get?
In June we run a preparation event for everyone volunteering on a summer holiday. On this day you have the opportunity to meet your holiday leader and fellow volunteers, and learn skills for communication, guiding and safeguarding people. You’ll also take home a volunteer manual which is packed full of information. On a holiday or event, your leader will be on hand to provide you with support and guidance and ensure you are happy with your role.

A young boy sitting on a donkey on a Sense holidayI’m not able to volunteer on a holiday; can I volunteer on your day and weekend events?

Volunteers help with our day and weekend events in a variety of ways including offering play and leisure opportunities at information and family events; and supporting days out and weekends away for our Young Sense and Siblings networks.

Our event volunteering is very popular! We do prioritise events volunteering roles for volunteers who have already completed a Sense holiday and Preparation Event. However, we welcome interest in our events from all volunteers, so if you would like to find out more please get in touch, as depending on the event we may be able to accommodate you.

How can I apply?
If you are interested in applying to volunteer then go to our online application page. If you are having any trouble with the application form, please get in touch with the Holidays team using the contact details below.

As part of our application process, you will fill in an application form and provide details for two referees. We will then be in touch to ask you to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure for Sense and meet the Holidays team in person. This is an essential part of our recruitment process and safeguarding practice.

Contact Us

We’re always happy to hear from potential volunteers, to answer questions and queries and to help you to find the best way to get involved with our activities.

Email: holidays@sense.org.uk
Write to us at:  Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LG
Tel: 0300 330 9250 / 020 7520 0999
Textphone: 0300 330 9252 / 020 7520 0959
Fax: 0300 330 9251

 

First published: Monday 8 June 2015
Updated: Thursday 8 September 2016