Project Number: 101104521
(Revealing European Values In Volunteering in Europe - REVIVE Project No. 101051131)
According to a scoping review analysing 20 articles, young people with disabilities often engage in fewer volunteering activities, despite the fact that they are willing and able to volunteer (Linsay, 2015). This is because people with disabilities experience numerous unique barriers to volunteering. Firstly, there is a lack of accessible volunteering opportunities available for people with disabilities. It has been widely reported that volunteering environments e.g. buildings and workspaces are often inaccessible to people with disabilities. Organisations have also reported feeling that it is difficult to coordinate volunteer positions for people with physical, sensory and/ or mental disabilities and that they lacked the training to accommodate them. Secondly, people with disabilities have difficulties arranging transportation. Finding transportation is critical to finding and maintaining volunteer positions, and many people with disabilities struggle to obtain accessible transportation, with half being unable to navigate public transport on their own. Thirdly, people with disabilities face negative attitudes from potential supervisors. Misconceptions exist among some organisations that in addition to needing “special treatment”, people with disabilities lack skills and are unreliable.
These barriers show the need for a training course to help organisations involve more people with disabilities as volunteers. Volunteering is a great opportunity that provides numerous benefits for those involved such as enhanced: self-perception, community engagement, future employment prospects, psychosocial and health outcomes and social and communication skills, and it is unjust that many people with disabilities, who are willing and able to volunteer, miss out on these opportunities as a result of barriers that we can work to minimise.
The 2 hour training module to be developed by CEV will be effective in minimising some of these barriers and help reduce some of the negative attitudes and misconceptions that people in these organisations may have about the ability of people with disabilities to volunteer. The pilot module that will be developed and tested will include examples of volunteering that people with disabilities can successfully undertake such as: serving meals at soup kitchens, stocking good pantries, helping keep community spaces clean and pleasant and spending time with people who are isolated.