Carrickfergus Junior Gateway is a social space for young people with learning disabilities to come together and interact with others with similar interests to themselves. As a completely voluntary group the presence of our volunteers is vital to the existence of our sessions and all the various tasks involved in running a small charity. This was acknowledged recently when Carrick Junior Gateway was presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, recognising the work our volunteers do on behalf of our members.

Almost all of our volunteers start with us as a club leader – this role supports our young people to take part in various activities and to come alongside them socially to help boost their life skills and confidence. Sometimes this means having a chat about the latest music, plaiting a doll’s hair, kicking a football, and sometimes its supervising a small group while out on a trip or running a project around something creative or life in general. We appreciate the unique skills that each of our volunteers have and want to work with them to bring those to our members.

At the moment we don’t have specific administrative role descriptions however we would love to have a conversation with you if you would like to help us out with the background processes of running Gateway.

Our sessions run during term time on Saturdays (10am-1pm) for our members aged 6-18, and Thursdays (7pm-10pm) for our members aged 16-29. At the moment we have no members with physical disabilities and there is no requirement for volunteers to be involved in personal care of a member.

We are looking to recruit people who are passionate about supporting young people to be the best that they can be. You don’t need to have experience of working with young people before or previous experience with working with people with a learning disability as we’ll support you and answer any questions you might have. We totally get it if you are wanting to volunteer to build up your CV – perhaps you are looking for something to enrich your UCAS form or perhaps you are thinking of returning to work and want to develop experience in working with a team again. We can help with references, Millennium Volunteers, Duke of Edinburgh etc as well as repaying you in pizza and team nights out.

We have regular in-house training including induction and buddying you up with a more experienced volunteer for guidance. Annually we run training such as Safeguarding and Child Protection ensuring that we are up to date with changes in policy and legislation. As part of this all volunteers are subjected to Access NI checks when they first start with us and every two years.

Drop us an email via our contact form or info@carrickjuniorgateway.org.uk, or a message on our Facebook page (Carrickfergus Junior Gateway). We’ll arrange to meet you over coffee (other non caffeinated beverages available) and discuss you and the role in more detail before inviting you down to one of our sessions to show you what the club is like. After that there’s a brief application form and we can start the induction process – welcome to the team.