Lend A Helping Hand
As a small charity with big objectives, the Next Step Trust is always looking for additional help, particularly volunteer helpers. We do rely on volunteers to do much of the work, so can YOU help?
Volunteers are needed in many aspects of our work. The Next Steppers have a varied range of activities both in and away from the centre, and all of these need a high level of supervision.
In particular, some of the Next Steppers who would normally share a carer, need one to one support if on a work placement or doing particular activities. We welcome volunteers to help with catering or supervising catering activities for example. Or as drivers to get to other activity centres such as swimming pools and 10-pin bowling. Could you help more directly with swimming or sailing? Have you thought of the thrill of taking a wheel-chair user down a zip wire or up a climbing wall?
What about the Sensory Garden – could you help with basic horticulture? (We always need help with weeding, pruning, and leaf-clearing.)
Can you do painting and decorating? Or do you have artistic skills that mean you are better with paint and paper, or with handicrafts?
Or are your skills more administrative? What about help with fund raising? Are you good with words – can you write grant applications? Could you organise fund raising activities – fun runs, bring-and-buy sales?
Whatever your skills and whatever amount of time you can devote, I’m sure we can use you. If you would like to discuss any opportunity, please do contact any of us at the Centre. We look forward to hearing from you. But please do remember that if you work directly with any Next Steppers, you will need to be checked regularly with the DBS.
Volunteers who have kindly offered their time:
Steve Heslop – Volunteer
“My name is Steve Angus Heslop and I have been volunteering at The Next Step Trust for the last 4 years. I help with the Bikes Sessions during the summer and have previously helped with the Open Days and setting up for events that have taken place. The staff team are great to work with, always friendly and I have a good working rapport with them”.
Caroline Cosland – Catering Volunteer
“I feel very lucky to be able to help at Next Step. When I retired from teaching young adults with special needs I realised that I still wanted to work with people who needed special care. I work in the kitchen on Tuesday mornings helping to prepare the lunch and often there is a Next Stepper helping too. Everyone is very friendly and the Next Steppers enjoy learning new skills whilst having fun and enjoying what they have helped to prepare”.
Kath Noble – Volunteer
“From 1974 I taught in three different schools for special needs students finally retiring in 2007 from Ravenscliffe where I had worked part-time for 11 years. The atmosphere in all three schools was the same – happy, friendly, caring and welcoming like one big happy family. When I retired Next Step Trust had only just opened so I volunteered to help one day per week. I found the same friendly atmosphere with the added bonus of catching up with former students and staff. How long I shall continue to volunteer I don’t know but I really enjoy my Thursdays with my friends at Next Step Trust”.
Daniel Loucas – Volunteer Placement from Longwood Engineering
“I decided to volunteer for Next Step because I thought it would be a great experience and I was hoping it would make a difference to the people that use the Next Step Trust, and hopefully to me too.
I wasn’t sure of what to expect or sure of how I would feel because I had never experienced anything like what happens at Next Step. When I arrived I quickly realised that I would be fine and that anything I was worried about didn’t matter, because everybody, including the Next Steppers made me feel comfortable and like I had been there for years.
I went to the trampolines, to the gym, rock climbing, to the Starlight Circus, to adapted bikes, as well as lots of baking, aromatherapy sessions, different games and other activities.
I enjoyed every single day that I was there. I enjoyed it that much that I am going back in my own time every Friday to help and to also to see the friends that I made.
I was amazed at how much of a difference the staff at Next Step make to the lives of the Next Steppers, and also what the Next Steppers give back to the staff.
It was a great experience and I would recommend to anybody to give it a try. At first you think that it will be really difficult, but in reality it is just like spending the day with friends, and not like being at work at all. Every day my face hurt from smiling and laughing.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me have this experience and made me see a different, brighter side to life”.