Buddy Up is an informal mentoring and befriending project for young people aged 13-18 who have additional needs. With the help of volunteer mentors aged 13+ they offer a wide range of youth-led social opportunities to help reduce social isolation, as well as improve confidence and independence.
“Our fabulous mentor team help to engage Buddy Up members in activities ranging from dancing and singing to digital workshops and games nights; all in a fun and safe environmentm” says Emma Latham, Buddy Up’s Support Officer “Lots of our activities have been adapted to take place virtually during the current Coronavirus lockdown, when reducing social isolation is more important than ever.”
“Not only do Buddy Up volunteers get the opportunity to take part in fun activities themselves, they develop their skills and experience at the same time,” Emma continues “We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of our volunteers – Buddy Up couldn’t do it without you.”
Buddy Up’s volunteers get as much out of their volunteering as they put in, and several have shared their thoughts with us:
Debra : “I love being a mentor because it gives me a chance to meet new people when out and about with Buddy Up. I like being a mentor as well because if people need my help I’ll be there to support them in what ever they need.”
Sam: “I like volunteering because I enjoy being a member of staff and getting to see my friends.”
Jess: “I have really enjoyed volunteering with Buddy Up for the last year and am looking forward to the future. I first became a mentor as it was recommended by a few people I know. My interest grew as I didn’t even realise there were safe spaces like Buddy Up for young people with disabilities to go and spend time with their friends and mentors outside of their school environment. My favourite thing about it is getting to meet amazing new people and develop my understanding of certain disabilities whilst also encouraging people to come together and just have fun! I’ve really enjoyed my time so far as a mentor at Buddy Up and can’t wait to take part in many future activities.”
Lily: “I thought buddy up was a fantastic organisation that gave people opportunities that they may not have gotten. I wanted to be involved because I wanted to be a part of the charity that does so much for young people and makes there lives a happier place.
“Becoming a mentor has given me the confidence to talk to people with different needs and try to make their Buddy Up experience as memorable as possible.”
For more informaton on Buddy Up, please visit their webpage.