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Volunteer Role Description
Volunteer Activity Buddy

What is this role?

We’re looking for volunteers who would like the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of outdoor and seasonal activities and support us to run our farm-based programmes, helping adults with learning disabilities to thrive.
Farmability activities are led by paid staff called Programme Leaders, supported by a team of volunteers. In this volunteer role you will help Programme Leaders to run activities. Why do we need you?

Having extra support during activities makes a huge difference to our co-farmers. Co-farmers are adults with learning disabilities, some of whom are also autistic, who attend our farm-based day service. Support from volunteers helps co-farmers feel included and get the most out of being at the farm. It also allows us to offer places to more people who would love to come to FarmAbility and are currently on our waiting list.

What will I be doing?

• You will support programme leaders to deliver a range of activities and sessions to co-farmers – including gardening, woodwork, natural crafts, and egg collecting
• You may help to run games and other entertainment for our co-farmers at lunch and breaktimes
• You will help Programme Leaders to support our co-farmers and make sure their needs are met, adapting activities to make them accessible (for example, breaking down instructions into manageable steps.)
• You may come with us on day trips to visit other farms and growing spaces around the county (outreach partnerships.)

What benefits are there to this role?

• You will become part of the friendly FarmAbility community, providing a real sense of belonging.
• You will gain hands-on experience of helping to lead practical activity sessions. You will learn skills in gardening, woodwork, animal care and more.
• You will gain experience of working with autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities.
• You will receive specialised training (see section on training, below)
• Your travel expenses can be reimbursed, up to value of approximately £5 per day, on agreement with FarmAbility. Methods of transport that can be reimbursed include public transport (on receipt of a ticket), car mileage (45p per mile), bicycle (20p per mile) and motorcycle (24p per mile).
• From time to time, you will take home fresh vegetables, flowers, and more, grown in our own gardens!

What kind of person are you looking for?

We are looking for volunteers who:

• Are 18 or older
• Are happy to work in groups – FarmAbility can be a busy environment!
• Are happy to get involved in a range of outdoor, nature-based and seasonal activities, such as gardening, apple-pressing and egg collecting
• Are reliable and able to be on time
• Are able to show respect and acceptance towards disabled adults
• Are willing to learn how to support autistic adults and adults with a learning disability (you are very welcome if you already have experience of this, but you don’t need any experience to apply!)

All volunteers accepted onto this role will be required to complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

What time commitment will I be making?

• Our full day runs from 10am to 4pm.
• We hope volunteers will be able to commit to at least one half day a week (with some flexibility.)
• You can also volunteer for a full day if you would like to.
• We ask our volunteers who support our co-farmers to come on a regular day. Coming on a regular day means that you get to know our co-farmers, and they get to know you.
• We hope that you will volunteer with FarmAbility for at least 6 months.

What training and support will I get?

• You will receive an induction from FarmAbility covering learning disability, autism, how to work with co-farmers, and more.
• You will be invited to team training and days throughout the year, where you will have the chance to learn and share knowledge (and good food!) alongside FarmAbility staff.
• You will be offered access to outdoor first aid training, training in communicating with people with learning disabilities, and more.
• You will benefit from regular check-ins with your staff contact. Day-to-day support will be available from any member of staff.
• There will be opportunities for growth and additional responsibilities.
• If there is a particular activity or project you would like to develop, we are very open to this and will help you to do this.

Location

One of our farm sites across Oxfordshire. These are the Blenheim Estate, Wytham, Long Hanborough, and Hampton Gay near Kidlington.