Sense volunteer newsletter, March 2023

Find out how you can join us for group events in LEAP, our new flexible volunteer offering.

Read on to sign up for our exciting March events, take part in a dance challenge for ‘Move it March’, and learn about a book recommendation that’ll strike a chord.

Upcoming events

Virtual Buddying monthly competition!

Move it March! This month we want you to create your own dance or movement routine.
Film it and send it to [email protected]. The winner will be announced in next Month’s newsletter.

Buddying Sensory Spring Scavenger Hunt

Saturday 1 April, 3pm – 5pm
Platt Fields Park, Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6LA
Join us for a sensory scavenger hunt to celebrate the start of spring! From spotting birds to smelling flowers, we’ll be encouraging you and your buddy to use all of your senses to experience this wonderful time of year! There may even be a few treats to share afterwards…

Ask your buddy if they would like to come, then let Amy know at: Amy.Lasen@sense,

New flexible ways to volunteer in London, with LEAP

Introducing a brand new volunteering project, Life-Skills, Education & Activities Project (LEAP). This new service is all about using group-based activities to support disabled young people and help them develop the skills they need to be independent.

Our volunteers will support a young person to participate or help run workshops and community-based activities. These roles are flexible, so if you’re in London and looking for group activities at times that suit you, get in touch!

The project will be based in the London with some opportunities for travel. Email [email protected] to learn more.

If you’ve already signed up, check out our upcoming group activities.

Buddying inspo

Stuck for ideas for new activities with your buddy? Here’s some inspiration:

Virtual buddying activities

Here are some events coming up that you could mark with your buddy: 

  • St. Patrick’s Day – there’s loads of activities you could do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day from baking soda bread to learning some Gaelic. Find more inspiration here. 
  • World Autism Awareness Week – watch or listen to something made by an autistic person or have a go at creating some sensory toys – find some more ideas here. 
  • Easter – always a fun time to get crafty, find what you would like to make here. 

Buddying activities


Sensory Sundays at Home – HideOut Youth Zone (Annual membership fee is £5, and then only 50p per entry)

Gorton HideOut Youth Zone, 1 Queens Avenue, Manchester, M12 5PX 

Gorton Hideout is a great community centre that offers a range of classes and sessions. These include: sensory art, basketball, football, games, karaoke and songwriting. They have an inclusion officer at a point of contact for SEN/D access. The Zone is open to young people from all backgrounds, for all abilities, for all of the community – 52 weeks a year. 

  • Sunday juniors: 11.30am-12.00pm
  • Sunday seniors: 2.15pm-2.45pm 

Jump Nation Autism Friendly Session at Inflatable Park Manchester Days Out North West | Inflata Nation (£11 and carers/parents go free)

Inflata Nation Manchester, Trafford Park, Textilose Road, Manchester M17 1WA 

The Autism Friendly session is different because the venue is only filled to half capacity, parents and carers go free, siblings are welcome, the music is turned down, and you get free juice and biscuits after the session. This activity gives carers and siblings a great place to meet other people who understand the challenges of autism, as well as a safe place for your child to bounce.  The sessions run from 9-10am every 3rd Saturday and you need to book in advance. 

Manchester Art Gallery Open Doors autism friendly workshop (free)

One Saturday a month. The next session is Saturday 18th March. Arrive anytime between 10-11:30 am – the session finishes at 12pm. 

Open Doors is a series of creative sessions especially for autistic children and their families. Each month, explore different artworks and ideas with artists and volunteers. You can get hands on with a variety of making activities, explore the art gallery, or just spend time together in the new children’s space, The Lion’s Den. A quiet room is available. 


London Games Festival – 28 Mar – 9 Apr 2023 

London’s ten-day citywide celebration of video games is back this spring. Visitors can check out a host of artworks and installations, as well as the festival’s official selection of cracking new video games from across the globe. 

Frozen JR. Friday 17th March – Sunday 19th March at Kenneth Moore Theatre (Tickets: £13.50 – careers go free, but must notify in advance).

 A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen JR. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humour, Frozen JR. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

Volunteer of the month, Gabby – Manchester Buddying

A blonde woman smiles at the camera

Gabby is a very new volunteer on the Manchester Buddies programme, having only had two supported sessions – but she’s already a great buddy!

She visited her buddy at a Get Out There (GOT) Saturday club and spent time chatting to his parents in their home. On top of that, Gabby has been great at interacting with his older brother, who’s on the Buddying project too. During a challenging situation in one session, Gabby helped keep her buddy calm and happy. She even stayed to support his brother when he had to go home a little earlier.

After our recent pizza making group session, one of our other amazing volunteers even commented:

She’s an incredible volunteer, she’s really great at interacting with the kids. I thought she was an employee of Sense at first!

Thanks so much for all your time, commitment, and enthusiasm so far, Gabby – we’re so happy that you’re part of our Manchester Buddies community!

Inclusive book recommendation

Alec Hepburn is an author, and he has published two books with an autistic protagonist: Stand Against the Dark, and Time and Time Again.

They are horror/supernatural books (so probably best for older teenagers).

The author, Alec Hepburn, writes about autism is amazing. He has a son who is autistic, and the books explain how someone with autism processes things. 

Important information

Contact details

Virtual Buddying

If you have any safeguarding concerns during the coming month, please call or email your assigned Sense staff as soon as possible between the hours of 9am-5:00pm.  

If your concern is more urgent and you need to speak to someone immediately or during non-working hours, please use the Sense on-call number: 07557220433

Alice Green( Project Coordinator: [email protected], 07518902681

Deanne Echarri (Project Assistant): [email protected], 07816599138

Jerry Dawson (Project Assistant): [email protected], 07816643093

Sam Parkinson (Project Assistant): [email protected], 07816643187

Rosanna Lowe (Project Assistant): [email protected], 07967 274333

Day buddying

Manchester Buddies: 

Kate Weston (Programme Coordinator): [email protected], 07855 011752 

Amy Lasen (Programme Assistant): [email protected] 

Redbridge Buddying Programme 

Lucy Campbell (Programme Coordinator): [email protected], 07973 792420

Carre Smyth (Programme Assistant): [email protected], 07815 996064 


Email: [email protected]

Got an idea for how to improve Sense vounteering?

Got an idea for how to improve volunteering at Sense? Want to share some feedback? Or do you just want to ask a question and chat about your experience?

Contact us at [email protected].

Join the Sense mission

We’re always hiring. Check out our latest job listings.