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*** Read about how we have worked with Arts for Health on the Mosaic Project ***

Everyone has skills and qualities they can bring to volunteering, and volunteering offers something for everyone. This includes people with disabilities. We believe volunteering is a fantastic way to build confidence, learn new skills, make friends and engage with your community and that anyone who wants to should be able to volunteer.

We also believe everyone has a right to socialise, take part in activities and meet new people.

What is the Viva project?

Viva is a Cornwall-wide project that enables adults with additional needs to access both volunteering and social opportunities. It’s supported by Cornwall Council Education, Health and Social Care Directorate.

We help people find welcoming, meaningful and enjoyable volunteering opportunities. If needed, we work with key workers, families and other support staff during initial meetings and organize taster sessions with potential host organisations. Support is ongoing until the placement is firmly established. 

We also organise a range of ‘friendship clubs’ designed for people with learning disabilities or ASD. Based around different activities, these clubs offer a chance to get together, learn new skills and have a lot of fun. For more information, please see the Friendship Clubs page.

Who can the Viva project help?

We can work with anyone aged 16 and over, who has additional needs due to disability. This includes people with a learning disability or ASD/Asperger’s, physical or sensory disability, mental health problems and people with a long-term illness.

Our friendship clubs are open to people aged 16 and over with a learning disability or ASD/Asperger’s.

We also run the Viva Buddys Scheme for people who might need extra support.

Viva Buddys Scheme

For people who want to volunteer or take part in other activities, we can sometimes find Buddys to support them in their volunteering.

We try our best to match Buddys and volunteers who share similar interests, so someone who is volunteering in an animal rescue centre could be supported by a pet lover, and someone attending the Music Wings club can have a Buddy who creates their own music.

Photo of Tony

As for a real-life example: 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.

We’re always looking for new Buddys! If you have even a few hours spare each month to support someone with additional needs, we would be delighted to hear from you and explain more about the role of a Viva Buddy and how rewarding the role can be!

Make a referral to Viva

If you would like to make a referral to us to support an individual into volunteering or social activities, please download and complete the below forms.

  • Single_Referral_Form.doc - tell us about the individual, their health issues or disabilities, support needs and any relevant background information. Please give us as much detail as you can, this helps us to tailor the support to meet the needs of the individual.
  • Volunteer_Interests_Form.doc - tell us about the person's interests and availability so that we can find a volunteering placement or activity that they would like to do. 
Get in touch

For more information or to become involved in the Viva project, feel free to drop a message to a member of the team:

Steve Ford - Telephone 01872 266985, Mobile 07889 410037 or Email [email protected]

Jenny Wilkins - Telephone 01872 266997, Mobile 07968 706106 or Email [email protected]