Young Volunteers

Lifeworks is keen to involve young volunteers across all of our community projects – you might have a skill you want to share; be a brilliant surfer, DJ or footballer. You might have skills you want to learn; how to enable; plan and participate. Your starting point might be you want to gain work experience and improve your CV – but we hope once you’ve come on board you’ll gain a whole heap more through involvement.

“This is our chance to take the next step” (Lifeworks Young Volunteer, Summer 2017)

In Development


Is being designed and developed in partnership with learning disabled young people, joining the process through their participation in the Lifeworks Young Volunteers programme. They have at great length considered what it is to be ordinary and what it is to be extraordinary. “If I want to have my feelings heard, this is my chance” (Young Volunteer) After successful applications to Children in Need and the Sobell Foundation, Lifeworks supported by Young Volunteers and their parent/carers have successfully recruited a new Young Volunteers Co-Ordinator and support staff to enable learning disabled young people take the lead across Lifeworks Community Projects portfolio. The project goes live October 2018.

  • EYP 18+

DWP have commissioned Lifeworks to extend our EYP programme to supporting learning disabled young adults 18+ to follow their vocational interests, gain work experience in areas of interest to them and work in partnership to develop social enterprises. The project will support 10 learning disabled young adults in receipt of ESA, in the arts, sports, hospitality, and catering and goes live at the end of October 2018.



During the Summer Lifeworks Young volunteers helped devise a pilot activity week exploring the 5 ways to wellbeing: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

“There has been an amazing variety of activities for them to do which has helped her mind as she has helped others doing things she would never try any other time.” (Parent)

And the impact tangible as 80% of young people participating in Keep Calm and Do It Anyway reported an increase in mental wellbeing post-project (WEMWBS)

To read a full evaluation of the KEEP CALM Pilot click here

On the advice of our Mindfulness coach who felt one week between questionnaires to be too short an amount of time to see any real difference in a person’s wellbeing. “Mindfulness, in particular, relies on regular practice and integration into everyday life for a period of weeks or months to feel any real benefit.” Lifeworks is delivering KEEP CALM TOO in Partnership with Lifeworks Young Volunteers at October Half Term, inviting the young people who took part in the Summer to reconvene.


Over the last year, a need has become apparent:

“Peer support is very important for young people, helps them realise they are not the only one.” (Parent)

“I just like to see people be happy; this is a great opportunity for everybody; to tell people – you’re not alone” (Young Volunteer)

Lifeworks is currently working with our young volunteers to create a peer-led support group for learning disabled young people with mental health problems. The learning from our summer pilot KEEP CALM AND DO IT ANYWAY will inform the development of this group. For more information, please contact Sarah-Jane Lowson on [email protected] or phone: 01803 861 060


This summer 6 Lifeworks Young Volunteers enabled 50 learning disabled children and young people engage with the heritage of South Devon Railway as they explored the stories of the old Ashburton – Totnes Branchline in the 6o year anniversary of its closure supported by amazing artists from Daisi, Dance in Devon and Soundart and Heritage experts from the South Devon Railway Trust, Ashburton Museum and Newton Abbot Town & GWR Museum. The All Aboard project used broadcast, printmaking, filmmaking, digital art and even dance to bring the stories to life.

Audience response was overwhelmingly positive:

“a grand experience”

“Most fun I’ve had on a train in a long time”

To read a full evaluation of the ALL ABOARD Project click here

Soundart Radio are taking the ALL ABOARD digital installation back to South Devon Railway October half term and preparing a compilation of the ALL ABOARD young broadcasters oral histories for broadcast over the Christmas holiday 2018.


Building on the success of Ordinary Art 2018 Lifeworks Young Volunteers are beginning to make plans. They wish to use their festival as a safe space for learning disabled young artists to explore their experiences and encourage social change – The Festival theme for 2019 is Loneliness:

“We are taking a risk; this is our chance; for people to hear what we want to speak” Lucy, Bryn and Brioney

To tell people “You are not the only one” Rhi

“Nobody is the same”

A provisional date of September 2019 has been set. If you want to get involved, please email [email protected] or phone: 01803 861 060

“I had the time of my life over that weekend. This whole project felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’ll treasure forever. Fingers crossed it gets aired on Channel 4!” Young Film Maker 2017

“The Supercrips film: the way the young people explained how they felt was an eye opener – fantastic!”

“For once my sister wasn’t the outsider, the festival was a comfortable space.” (Ordinary Art Audience member 2018)

Qualifications gained by Young Volunteers 2017/2018

All of the qualifications gained have been achieved in an informal learning environment.

  •  5 BCU 1 Canoe, Paddlestart 1.
  • 20 Explore Arts Award  (Entry Lvl)
  • 11 Bronze Arts Award (Lvl 1)
  • 7 Silver Arts Award (Lvl 2)

As a Lifeworks Young Volunteer you will have access to community projects training opportunities e.g. First Aid and Communication training; participate in the delivery of extraordinary events e.g. Breaking the Barrier and the Lifeworks Young Peoples Summer Ball and inform the development of our programme e.g. The Young Film Makers commissioned in 2017 by the Arts Council to make a short art film for Channel 4 Random acts.

If you have an interest in getting involved in Lifeworks Young Volunteers Programme please email: [email protected] or phone: 01803 861 060

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