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Tony Rattray

Volunteering as a Buddy for the Viva Project

We were approached, some months ago, by a gentleman called Tony who was interested in supporting adults with additional needs and who also had a background in engineering. By lucky coincidence we also had a client, called Jeremy, who lives in the Helston area and was a regular volunteer at Helston Railway Preservation Society.

At that time Jeremy, who is on the autistic spectrum, was being taken to and from his volunteering by his elderly parents but this arrangement was far from ideal. We, therefore, arranged for Tony to meet Jeremy, and his family so they could discuss Jeremy’s volunteering and the support he required.

As a result Tony ended up accompanying Jeremy, on a weekly basis, to his volunteering – working alongside him and providing the type, and level, of support and supervision that enabled him to make a success of his volunteering in a safe and supportive environment.

Partly as a result of his volunteering as a 'buddy' Tony has now gone on to secure paid employment supporting individuals with additional needs.

Volunteer Cornwall did a fantastic job of matching me up with a client that had many of the same interests and skills that I had, this was a key point in the process that made the Buddy Program so great to be a part of.

This time spent as a buddy was instrumental in my gaining the position that I now have. I cannot thank Steve Ford & Terry Stanton enough for the opportunity that they gave me. I will always be available to them for any future projects that they need a volunteer for.

I also had a very different experience in another random area where I was asked to go away as an assistant with a wheelchair dance team that were competing in Blackpool in a national championship. They were entered in three classes so at the best could win three trophies. They won two of them. This was an opportunity that I would never have known about if not for Volunteer Cornwall.