Two of our valued disability gamechangers share their passion for volunteering at Scope.
For Volunteers’ Week, we caught up with two much-valued Scope volunteers. We asked them all about their passion for volunteering and what they get out of it.
This week, and every week, we want to say a huge "thank you" to our amazing volunteers!
“Applying to help Scope was a privilege”
I’m Laura, and I volunteer with Scope. I like watching Disney, spending time with my family and friends, listening to music, and drinking tea.
I am currently in the process of finishing off my master's degree in education, with a focus on special educational needs and disabilities. I have volunteered with Scope since September 2021. I am an online community advisor which means I offer advice, listen to people, and encourage interactions on the online community.
I wanted to make a difference for disabled people.
As Scope is a leading disability charity, this was an easy decision for me. Applying to help Scope was a privilege.
In volunteering for Scope, the thing I enjoy most is knowing I can make a difference to people’s days. Even if it is just acknowledging them and saying hello, or letting them know they’ve been heard.
I’ve gained the confidence to help people with a range of difficulties in a range of different situations, and to form and maintain interactions with others.
If you care about people and want to make a difference to disabled people, I encourage you to volunteer. You can choose the amount of time you spend helping people, and there are lots of areas you can help with. I think volunteering is important because it gives you a higher purpose, more confidence, more empathy, and helps you build relationships.
“Volunteering doesn’t just look good on your CV”
I'm Poppy, I'm 19, and I have spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. I study health and social care at college, and I'm going to university in September to do occupational therapy.
I’ve volunteered for Scope since 2021, and I’m an online community advisor. I mainly give advice, support, answer questions and send links to things people might be interested in. I mainly stick to the aids and equipment, cerebral palsy, and PIP sides of the community as these topics are what I know the most about.
My college tutor suggested volunteering as a route to charity work, which is one of the things I might like to do as a career. I chose Scope to begin with volunteering at a charity, somewhere I was interested in working long-term anyway. My tutor said it might help me with finding a job in the same place, so it was a great idea.
I like the flexibility of my volunteering role because I’m studying alongside it, which can be quite hectic at times.
It’s a supportive environment, so you don’t have to jump right onto everything. They don’t say things like “you’ve got to do this, that, and the other”. It’s suggestions which is nice.
I also like being able to use my personal experience and things I’ve learned about. It means I can do things like make recommendations of aids for people. It’s quite casual, which I like, because we’ve got enough professionals in our lives as disabled people!
I’ve gained communication skills through volunteering for Scope. I’m now more aware of how people read things, so I do a bit of small talk before getting right to my suggestions now. I think the online community falls between usual forum styles and chat styles, so it’s a different type of communication and I’ve learned more about that. My spelling was atrocious so that’s improved too!
I’ve also learned more about what other people struggle with.
Before I volunteered, I only knew what I experienced from society but I didn’t know exactly what others were facing. It’s actually really useful for my future in occupational therapy too, to hear other people’s insights and experiences as well as what they’d improve about services.
Volunteering doesn’t just look good on your CV. It opens doors for you as well. For example, I could go on to work with Scope when I finish university. I probably wouldn’t have applied before because I didn’t have the same connection to the people that work at Scope.
Volunteering is so important because it develops skills. It also allows for networking with people for things like future jobs. It develops confidence too. In the online community, a volunteer might stay in the “coffee lounge” area of the site and chat to the community. Then, when they’re ready, they can start working on providing advice to people who really need it.
If volunteering didn’t exist, then I don’t think charities could either. When you become disabled, you don’t get a handbook that tells you what to do. I think the online community is a bit like that handbook, because there’s always someone to listen and provide support. That’s why what all of the volunteers do is so important.