smiling volunteer

Volunteering with Bristol Autism Support

Volunteering with BAS is incredibly rewarding. Our volunteering scheme allows you to use your experience of looking after your own autistic child to help others. It’s a wonderful way to make new friends. You will learn new skills as well as learn about services and support you didn’t know about. Our volunteers enjoy perks such as free entry into some of our events and activities. We are happy to provide references for our volunteers as well.

Volunteering can be a great way to ease back into work after a break, or add new skills to your CV. You could even gain a free* NVQ in Understanding Autism, Counselling or Information, Advice or Guidance through volunteering with BAS.

What we need

We are looking for parents/carers of autistic children with more than three years of autism experience (have been through the assessment and diagnosis process, have a good understanding of autism, DLA and other benefits, the EHCP process, etc.) to help us support parents/carers of autistic children before and after diagnosis. Ideally, you’ll be friendly and welcoming and comfortable working with a wide variety of people, or willing to work on getting to this point. You are not expected to know everything about autism – this is a general support service.

We are running regular volunteer taster sessions throughout the year. Click here to book your place to learn more about volunteering with BAS

We are recruiting dedicated volunteers for the following roles:

BAS Befrienders
Learning that your child is or may be autistic is an incredibly emotional experience. We need volunteers who can support parents and carers who are new to autism (awaiting assessment or who have received a diagnosis for their child in the past 12 months) or who could do with some extra support. A volunteer befriender is assigned to a parent/carer new to autism for a period of six weeks. During this time, the befriender would provide email, text, phone and/or Zoom support (we supply a BAS email address and phone, so volunteers do not have to use their own personal phone or email address). Post-pandemic, the befriender and parent/carer could meet in person and all expenses would be covered.
What’s involved: committing to a six-week period of support for another parent for up to one hour per week. You would have full support of BAS at all times.
How often? Term time only. You can do as many six-week stints as you like. You would only be assigned to one parent/carer at a time. You would be expected to commit to that parent/carer for the designated six week period.

Phone / email support volunteers
We provide 30-minute support calls or emails for our members. We need volunteers who can make these calls and follow up by email afterwards if needed (we supply a BAS email address and phone, so volunteers do not have to use their own personal phone or email address). Volunteers do not need to know everything about autism, just have experience of supporting their own autistic child and the ability to do a bit of research if needed.
What’s involved: our Volunteer Manager allocates calls on an as-needed basis and volunteers can pick and choose if and when they can make calls; it’s very flexible. You would have full support of BAS at all times.
How often? Term time only on an as-needed basis.

Support group facilitators
We believe that real magic happens when parents and carers meet in person. We currently (January 2022) run a weekly meeting on Thursdays in Bedminster from 12pm – 1pm. We are looking to resume monthly meetings in Henleaze, Easton, Yate and potentially Clevedon soon. We need people to run these meetings.
What’s involved: depending on the meeting, you will might open the building, set up before and clear up after and run the meeting. Other sessions take place in cafes and simply require you to greet people, make them feel welcome and offer advice. We ideally have two volunteers looking after each meeting in case one can’t make it.
How often? Some groups are monthly and some are weekly. It may be possible to do a rota system if you are unable to make a meeting every month or week.
Requirements: volunteers must be reliable, friendly, professional and comfortable talking with a wide variety of people.

Children’s activity facilitators
We will run some children’s activities in 2022. These will be things like soft play, bushcraft, lego sessions, etc.
What’s involved: we need volunteers who can greet people and make them feel welcome, direct them to the activity, etc. There will be some sessions that are held in a hired venue that will require opening, setting up, clearing up etc.
Requirements: volunteers must be reliable, friendly, professional and comfortable talking with a wide variety of people. If you have children who will be happy staying for the entire time you are volunteering they would be very welcome to attend.

Form completion supporters
Our recent impact survey told us that the number one thing people want is help with forms like DLA and other benefits and EHCPs.
What’s involved: meeting 1:1 with a parent/carer (this can be done via Zoom) and helping them go through whichever form it is they are struggling with.
Requirements: volunteers must be reliable, friendly, professional and comfortable talking with a wide variety of people. Training will be given for this role.

 

Interested?

Please email info@bristolautismsupport.org to register your interest and learn more.

 

* You may qualify for full funding for these courses

 

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