My name is Alice and I volunteer for Oxford and District Mencap. Each year I lead residential summer holiday camps for the charity at Hill End Camp, Farmoor. The week-long camps cater for young people with learning disabilities, and involve daily activities and day trips such as going bowling, swimming, to the theme park, arts & crafts, drumming workshops etc.
For each camp, we recruit around 25 volunteers, who are responsible for the one-on-one care of one of our guests throughout the week. Many of our volunteers have never had experience of working with people with any sort of disability before, but we make sure to train them in all they need to know, including basic first aid, Makaton sign language, and autism and epilepsy training. We ask that volunteers are a minimum of 18 years of age, for safeguarding reasons, and most of our volunteers are between the ages of 18 and 25.
Volunteering on these camps is a fantastic experience for anyone who is hard-working, enthusiastic and can work well in a team as it is incredibly rewarding and fun! However, the experience may be particularly useful to those applying for medicine, nursing, dentistry or any other caring profession, as it shows that a student is able to cope with the challenging and often messy realities of personal care. When I was applying to med school, the feedback that I received from my offers stressed how much they valued this experience. It also often appeals to Gold Duke of Edinburgh participants, as it satisfies the ‘residential’ or ‘volunteering’ requirements.
I have attached a poster for the camps to this email – I would be very grateful if you could please share this among the Upper Sixth students. I am more than happy to answer any questions via this email address.