Nearly every Thursday between 7pm-9pm, students from the University of Edinburgh run a social club in the local community for adults with learning disabilities.
These students are part of the volunteering society ‘Best Buddies Edinburgh’ which works in partnership with ENABLE Scotland to promote real and meaningful friendships between the student volunteers and the adults they support.
Best Buddies is a worldwide non-profit volunteer movement which aims to create greater opportunity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In Edinburgh, students make a real difference in the often isolated lives led by many adults with learning disabilities through promoting fun, friendship and inclusion.
As well as the regular crafts and games activities, students this year organised parties at Halloween and at Christmas with special food and dressing up which everyone enjoyed. On another evening, the DrumSoc student society came along to share their music-making.
Our members with learning disabilities may not get many opportunities to make friends so the two hours a week they spend with us is extremely important. It is a safe space where we can all have fun and make lasting memories. For the students, there are opportunities to gain skills in organising and communications as well as creative skills. They love making friends at the club and learn to view life from a different perspective.
In 2015, Best Buddies Edinburgh was shortlisted for RBS Scotland's Real Young Heroes award, and appeared on the STV television series about the awards. This recognition shows just how valuable their work is and how much it is appreciated.
There are lots of volunteers here so I feel safe. I like the activities that we do, the arts and crafts are my favourite.
Find out more
Best Buddies is just one of many societies which are part of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association. Local community groups and charities can post opportunities for student volunteers via a free online service which will try to match them.
Learn more at https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/activities/volunteering/