Voluntary worker

5th May 2006 at 01:00
The First Chancers' (see left) most recent gig was at one of a series of volunteering events organised by Skill, the national bureau for students with disabilities. One of the contributors was David Burroughs, 22, who has cerebral palsy and exactly the kind of volunteering history that Skill wants to promote.

David's volunteering began by painting walls in a youth centre for the Prince's Trust. From there, he found a placement at a special school for children with profound and multiple disabilities, where he helped for a year with small groups reading, writing, and doing art and music.

His current volunteer commitments include advising the charity Scope on its production of a toolkit for managers of disabled volunteers (everything from practicalities of toilet access to broader, social inclusion issues); working with a south London charity, Moving On, which wants to set up an independent living centre for young disabled people; and his own start-up voluntary organisation, Disabled Interactive Social Club (Disc), in which he plans to bring together young disabled people for social events.

"I want to start up Disc because when I was younger I struggled to make friends and to find places to go with other young disabled people, and I think it's very important to be able to do that," he explains.

"Becoming a volunteer has changed my life, helped me make new friends and learn a lot of new skills. It's easier for me than getting a job. You are giving your time because you want to, and not because you have to, and it's to a worthy cause. I get huge satisfaction at the end of the day that I have helped someone out."

Interviews by Karen Gold

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