top tips

7 top tips for running inclusive volunteering projects

Here are some suggestions of things you can do to make your volunteering projects more inclusive for people with additional support needs, such as learning disabilities and/or mental health problems.

  1. 1.    Have a go-to person.

This is our number one suggestion. Identify one person and put out their contact details so people with additional support needs know who to ask about provisions they might need or for information about projects, and to make any arrangements in advance

  1. 2.    Information

People with additional support needs often require additional information. This may include very specific instructions about the meeting spot, transport arrangements, timings, what will happen on the day, what to bring, and information about the accessibility of the project, for example, whether it is upstairs, or whether there is a disability access toilet. Such information should be made available to participants.

  1. 3.    Think everything through

As people with additional support needs require specific information about arrangements, everything should already be worked out by the organisers, so that questions from people with additional support needs can be answered in advance.


  1. 4.    Accessible information

When giving information about the projects or for publicity materials, or anything needed on the day, use easy read font, large, with clear language, simply laid out on the page, and in a range of formats, for example, hard copy, and electronic.


  1. 5.    Ask what people can do, don’t assume they can or can’t do something!


  1. 6.    Have a buddy system

If possible, provide a mentor or buddy who can assist people with additional support needs on the day, should they need any help.


  1. 7.    Make explicit that people with disabilities are welcome

As people with disabilities and or mental health issues will have experienced exclusion in their life, it is important to make very clear that they are welcome. Of course, everyone involved in the project, on the day, should have a warm and welcoming attitude. It would also be helpful to state that support workers can accompany volunteers on the day.