Volunteering in Tower Hamlets

Support children and young people with complex needs in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Supporting a child or young person on the Tower Hamlets buddy scheme can be a life enriching experience.

With your enthusiastic, can-do attitude and willingness to learn, you will take your skills out of their comfort zone. Through your patience, humour and care, you will discover the joy of nurturing small achievements, creating new connections or triggering life changing moments.

You will work 1 to 1 with a child or young person for about three hours a week, usually on a weekend, ensuring they receive the care and support they need to have a fantastic morning or afternoon – one which clearly meets their individual choices and aspirations, backed up by the Tower Hamlets Buddying Team, this will involve:

  • Preparing and planning your activity.  (We will support you and give you ideas).
  • Supporting one child or young person for about three hours a week for at least 6 months to get more involved in the local community, usually on a weekend.  Activities other Buddies have organised include swimming, bowling, bangra and zumba dancing, lip sync battles, sensory storytelling and trips to museums and parks!
  • Ensuring the buddy is able to fully participate in the activity, encouraging them to take on new activities and challenges that will help develop social skills, communication and confidence.
  • Every six weeks you will take part in a group activity with other volunteers and buddies.
  • Write a short report after every session to track progress and manage issues quickly.
  • Attend relevant training and interesting training events such as ‘sensory play’, ‘positive behaviour’ and ‘sex and relationships’, and receive invites to volunteer socials.

Translation Support Volunteer

Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse boroughs in London and a number of our families do not speak English as their first language at home.  We’re currently looking for volunteers who are able to speak and translate Bengali.

This role forms a vital link between families who benefit from our Tower Hamlets Buddying service and staff and volunteers, having someone who can quickly and easily translate conversations about the complex medical, social and behavioural needs of their children can support Sense staff and volunteers to provide the right level of support. 

Apply via the online application form but please say you are interested in the translation role.

Sense Buddying Services

This is an exciting and innovative volunteer led buddying service providing 1 to 1 and/or
group buddying to disabled children and young people for at around 3 hours a week, we would expect at least a 6 month commitment in order to really develop a positive and strong relationship with a child or young person and their family.

Disabled children and young people are supported by volunteers to access services and activities in their area that they are interested in.  As each buddy is unique, there’s no set pattern but activities have included swimming, bowling, trips to museums and parks. 
Volunteers are supported by the service coordinator and buddying assistants, receive regular 1 to 1’s and group supervisions.

What skills/experience do I need?

We are particularly look for volunteers who have experience of supporting children and young people who have autism or who may display behaviour that challenges.

This is an excellent opportunity to use and develop your skills in a new way by supporting someone to take part in activities on a one to one basis.

We are also looking for volunteers who are enthusiastic and dynamic, and who are passionate about ensuring children and young people have the best possible access to leisure activities in the borough.  It’s a great chance to build your skills and experience.

Have a look at our role description for more information.

Volunteer Buddy (pdf)

What support do I get?

You will receive training which will equip you the skills and information you will need to start your role.  Your initial meeting will be supported by our service coordinator and buddying assistants to build a strong relationship with the child/young person and their family, buddying assistants will work with you until you feel confident to take on the full buddy role, usually after the first month. Ongoing support and training is available and supervision and peer support will also be provided.


The next training date is the 12, 19 September and 10, 17 October at the Sense London office, 101 Pentonville Road, N1 9LG from 5pm-8pm.

By applying your skills to the challenge, we are confident that you will gain as much as you give.  If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch with the Tower Hamlets Buddying Team by emailing THVolunteering@sense.org.uk or calling 0208 981 9987, alternatively you can text: 0300 330 9252.

First published: Friday 12 February 2016
Updated: Monday 9 October 2017