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The buddy scheme in Bournemouth that is happily changing lives

PUBLISHED: 15:54 14 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:55 14 March 2016

Jenny became Shaine's Sci Fi buddy though LifeLink

Jenny became Shaine's Sci Fi buddy though LifeLink

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Amanda Frost, who is the Accessibility Officer for the LifeLink Project, reveals how an exciting new buddy scheme in Bournemouth is happily changing lives

LifeLink is a new buddy scheme to match people with a learning disability to a volunteer with shared hobbies and interests. This exciting project is run by Bournemouth People First and is funded by the Big Lottery.

It is so important for people not to feel lonely or isolated. A recent report by Mencap found that nearly 50% of people with a learning disability want to spend more time outside of their home and 44% do not think that they spend enough time with their friends. We all need the right support to do the things that we enjoy.

I am often asked why some people with learning disabilities can’t go out on their own. There is no simple answer to this as there can be many reasons depending on the person: like feeling unsafe, not being unable to get there due to transport or mobility issues, or not having the confidence or support to go somewhere on their own.

Jenny, one of our LifeLink Volunteers at Bournemouth People First, was matched with Shaine, and together they went to the Sci Fi Ball. “It was a fantastic day,” recalls Jenny. “We both share a love for Doctor Who and this helped us to get to know each other better. It was very enjoyable to go to the Sci Fi Ball with someone who likes the same things as me. It was great to see Shaine enjoying himself too.”

Shaine loved having a Sci Fi buddy to go to the Sci Fi Ball with. “I was scared to start with, but going to the ball with someone really gave me confidence.”

So often I have seen how easy it can be to make a difference to someone’s life just by offering a little friendship and support.

Other matches we have made through the LifeLink initiative include football, gaming, swimming, watching films and going to the pub. We have lots of people with a variety of different hobbies, including some of those mentioned, that we are still looking to match up.

We all want to give people with learning disabilities better lives, by giving them the chance and support to join in with mainstream groups and activities.

No experience is necessary and everyone will be trained by our learning disabled trainers. We also give ongoing support through our volunteer hub, which encourages volunteers to share their experiences.

Volunteering is a great way to make a difference to the people you are matched with, as well as helping to make you feel good. So why not share your hobby or interest with someone?

Make a difference, change lives and do what you enjoy.

Become a LifeLink buddy

For more information on the LifeLink project or to become a buddy call our Volunteer Coordinator Jenny on 01202 303 765 or you can email jenny@bournemouthpeoplefirst.co.uk. You can find more at outright.org.uk. Find us on Facebook: LifeLink Bournemouth or follow us on Twitter @BmthPeopleFirst.


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