Volunteer on a Sense Holiday

Meet new people, try new challenges, explore new ways of communicating and visit new places – all whilst supporting disabled people to enjoy these experiences, too. If this sounds like your kind of holiday, then why not join us this year!

On Sense Holidays and Short Breaks, groups of disabled children, young people and adults who are deafblind, have multi-sensory impairments or other complex communication needs pack their bags for a jam-packed week of new activities, friendships and lots of laughs. The holiday experience is tailored around the abilities, needs, communication styles and interest of each individual.

As a Sense Holiday volunteer, you'll be part of a team making sure each break is the very best experience it can be for everyone involved. You'll need to be enthusiastic, positive, open-minded, willing to be flexible and to work well in a team. Above all, you'll need to be committed to ensuring each person on the holiday has the support and time they need.

The experience

Meeting new people and developing connections is at the heart of the Sense Holidays programme. That could be the bond you develop with the holidaymaker you are paired one-to-one with, or the friendships that can flourish between holidaymakers. Often the opportunity to share experiences with someone will be just as valuable as the actual experience itself, whether you’re scaling the heights of a climbing wall or enjoying some chill out time in the sensory room together. 

You may not have supported anyone with complex communication needs before, and are hoping to step outside your comfort zone and do something completely different.

You could be a student studying British Sign Language (BSL) and are looking for a new opportunity to develop and share your BSL.

You could be a teaching assistant in a specialist school or a nurse with experience of supporting those with complex medical needs, and are interested in using your specialist skills in a different environment.

We welcome volunteers each year from a huge range of backgrounds. The unique contribution each volunteer makes, no matter your skills and experience, enables each and every holidaymaker to try new things and make new connections in a safe and supported environment.

Whatever your background and experience you will learn something – either about a new communication method, how to break down barriers for those with additional needs, or about the value of team work. You will come away with a memory full of magical little moments and a heart full of pride in what the holidaymakers enjoyed and achieved and what you did to make that possible.

Scott, volunteer

What, when and where

Residential breaks

  • Our residential breaks for disabled children and young people take place throughout the year during school holidays.
  • Each residential break runs for two to five nights.
  • Our next breaks are scheduled for Easter 2018.

Summer holidays

  • Our summer holidays for children, young people and adults take place between June and September, with a bumper month of holidays in August.
  • Each holiday runs for seven nights.
  • Accommodation ranges from outdoor activity centres, seaside cottages, country farms, barns, canal boats and camping at a music festival  something for everyone!

Getting started

Before you volunteer, we'll make sure that you have all of the information and support you need to feel prepared and confident in your role.

An essential part of getting ready to volunteer is attending a Volunteer Preparation Day where you'll receive training as well as have the opportunity to meet your holiday group.

In 2018 we will be running two Volunteer Preparation days, one in March (for those volunteering in April, May and June) and one in June (for those volunteering in July, August and September.) We'll be able to give more details closer to the time.

Volunteering on a Sense Holiday is completely free of charge and all your accommodation, food and activity expenses will be covered.

We are able to cover travel expenses for students, those on a low income and for those for whom it would otherwise be a barrier to volunteering.