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BuDS are a pan-disability charity that works to break down the barriers that disabled people face. We believe in the Social Model of Disability and are a user-led charity – which means we want to hear from, and work with, you! In just this last year we have taken on our first paid staff,

ant to get involved and help BuDS’ fantastic work? You can donate or fundraise for us – every penny raised goes to our work and we make every penny work very hard. You can also join our volunteer team and make a difference by working on one of our many projects or events. Or why not partner with BuDS – we have win-win relationships with many businesses and organisations. Or just check out and like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Volunteering for BuDS

Are you someone who wants to make things better for all disabled people? BuDS is seeking additional volunteers to strengthen our team so that we can continue to fix the big issues affecting disabled people in Bucks.

Being a BuDS Volunteer

BuDS volunteers are people who make Bucks better for disabled people. They don’t have to be disabled people, although most are. BuDS is a pan-disability charity, so we welcome people with all types of impairment and disabilities. Lived experience as a disabled person and determination to change things for the better is just as important as skills or background knowledge.

BuDS is a supportive, inclusive and accepting organisation where everyone can find a place. We understand that disabled people sometimes are not able to volunteer when they’d like to, and we will work around you – even an hour of your time a week is valuable. We are flexible and ensure that we are open to varied ways of working that suit  everyone, whatever their disability or impairment. We like you to work in whatever way suits you best.

We also welcome job seekers and people looking to move closer to work. About half of our volunteers are job seekers or getting work-related experience, and we actively support them by tailoring their role so they get the skills and experience they need. We also give references and will do our best to put you in touch with employers. Last year, 65% of our job seeker volunteers got jobs within a year.

Volunteering is open to anyone who would like to offer their time and skills. However, BuDS also has it’s own project called Reach4Work that helps and supports disabled jobseekers to find employment through volunteering. If you’re interested in this scheme, you can find more information at https://reach4work.org.uk/ and https://bucksworkability.com/  or email info@reach4work.org.uk

BuDS is not part of any DWP or JobCentre training or work programme. However, we are recognised by the DWP and BuDS volunteers do not need to worry about their benefits being affected, as BuDS volunteering can be counted toward work commitments for JSA, ESA and UC.

Working with BuDS

BuDS is a modern charity with excellent IT. Volunteers get email accounts and use of shared document drives. IT support is available.

Some volunteers work from home with only occasional visits to our office, and some work from our comfortable, well-equipped offices in Aylesbury town centre. During the Covid19 pandemic, all volunteering is remote.

BuDS is a high-profile charity and there are opportunities for public campaigning and lobbying. However, there are just as many opportunities for quiet behind-the-scenes work – both are needed to get things done. We need help with social media, writing webpages and articles, assisting at events, researching local issues, and more. BuDS volunteers all have a hands-on role, taking on specific roles within a project. Your exact role can be created or tailored to your availability, interests and skills, so that everyone – especially you – is happy.

BuDS volunteers can claim travel or subsistence expenses on request. There is a Volunteer Agreement and you are fully protected by our extensive public liability insurance.

How Do I Apply?

Please e-mail volunteering@buds.org.uk to express an interest in becoming a volunteer or if you’d like an informal, no-commitment, chat with an existing volunteer.

Once you’ve registered your interest, we will ask you to send us a brief CV and to explain why you would like to be a volunteer. A CV is ideal, but not mandatory as we will send you a short form to find out about your skills and experience and what you would like to gain from volunteering with us. We will then arrange an informal chat with one or two of our Trustees to find out more about you.

Following that, we will ask you to sign a Volunteer Agreement to become a BuDS volunteer and start working on one of our projects.

Safeguarding is very important to us. Each role is individually assessed and many of our volunteers will have to have adult and/or children enhanced DBS (criminal record) checks. We arrange and pay for this if needed. Equally, we may need to take up character references. We understand that some disabled people may have a criminal record or difficult periods in their past, and we will consider everyone individually and carry out a risk assessment in discussion with you.

The social model of disability – what really disables people

BuDS uses the Social Model of Disability to help its members in the best way possible. Not sure what that is? Read on to find out…

Yesterday’s Thinking – The Medical Model

For a long time, people’s thinking around disability was dominated by medical opinions. Doctors took the view that individuals were born with, or developed, conditions which could be medically diagnosed. Those individuals were regarded as disabled because of what is then called their handicap or disability– what’s ‘wrong with them’.

Under the medical model, people become ‘the handicapped’ or ‘people with disabilities’ or ‘differently-abled’. These terms all underline that the person’s disability is something they have which is a problem for them – a problem to be solved with medicines and aids.

Today’s Thinking – The Social Model

For the last 20 years or so, Britain and most European countries have been following the social model of disability. The social model points out that our whole society is constructed for people without physical, sensory, cognitive or learning impairments. It is the barriers placed in the path of people with impairments that really disable them, not the impairment they have.

The classic example of the social model is a wheelchair-user at the foot of a flight of steps. The medical model said that the person is handicapped by their inability to walk up the steps. The social model says that the problem is the steps – the lack of a ramp is what disables the person, not the fact they are a wheelchair-user.

The three main social barriers which disable people with impairments are:

Physical barriers – such as steps, lack of signers, no audio loop or EasyRead documents
Organisational barriers – such as working methods which make it hard or impossible for disabled people to apply or join in
Attitudinal barriers – such as making assumptions about people and their abilities, aspirations and hopes.

BuDS’ aim, and the aim of all social model organisations, is to remove barriers so that people with impairments are not disabled.

New Thinking – New Language

If you use this old offensive language about disability, you are making some very negative statements about you and your organisation.

To help people use the right language, BuDS has produced Talking about Disability – A Style Guide Inspired by 2012, a guide to social model language and terms. Download a free copy by clicking the link, or calling us on 01494 568 864.