Disabilties holding people back from securing volunteering roles
Many with disabilites are finding it increasingly challenging to secure volunteering positions.
Through seminars ran earlier this year, the Disability Rights UK and Community Service Volunteers have conducted research and found that many people with disabilities experience a high level of difficultly when finding volunteering roles. They interviewed disabled people and tried to find out what barriers were stopping them from being able to volunteer.
Sue Bott, director of policy and development at Disability Rights UK says “There are a lot of assumptions about disabled people. Rather than thinking about what they can offer, organisations tend to imagine some of the perceived problems having disabled volunteers will cause them.”
Executive director of volunteering and development at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Justin Davis Smith, claims that hiring a versatile range of volunteers can allow both the charity and volunteers themselves to see benefits.
Lynn Green, head of volunteering at the Royal National Institute of Blind People believes that one of the numerous benefits charities receive from taking on a wide range of volunteers is that the quality and reach into communities they serve will be enhanced. Of the organisations 4,000 volunteers, 16% of them are partially sighted.
Many steer away from taking on disabled volunteers as they believe it could be costly. Bott believes that charities should be building things like access costs for all types of volunteers into their budgets for projects as standard. Davis Smith highlights that taking on volunteers from vulnerable groups is not as expensive as many imagine. “The last government ran an access to volunteering fund that enabled charities to bid for money to make reasonable adjustments to enable everyone to be able to volunteer,” he says. “The evidence from that fund showed that those adjustments don’t have to cost the earth.”
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