Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, attacking the nerves that control movement so muscles refuse to work. It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. It has no cure.
The Motor Neurone Disease Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning.
We are a membership organisation with over 9,000 members forming a powerful national and local network that provides information and support alongside fighting for improved services.
We have over 7,000 active volunteers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and around 170 paid staff, all dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by MND, now and in the future. Our Association Visitors play a crucial part in helping us achieve that.
Association Visitors act as the main contact for people living with Motor Neurone Disease (this includes the person with MND, their family and carer) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. As an associate visitor you would keep in regular contact, by phone, email or with in person visits (for most families it is a combination of all three that varies as their needs and situation does) offering confidential emotional support, and accurate information to enable people with MND to make informed choices about services, opportunities and support they can access. Having this relationship also helps reduce the isolation and loneliness many people living with MND experience. You will also keep in regular contact with the Association as well as Health and Social Care professionals.
Typically volunteers in this role dedicate about two to four a week to this role. You don’t need personal experience of MND, just a desire to help those living with the condition. Before getting started all new Associate Visitors take part in our initial learning programme which includes on line learning that can be done at a place and time to suit you and in person attendance at a two day training course. This is so you can feel fully confident and knowledgeable in directing people to support and services and they might benefit from. Throughout your volunteering you will also receive support and supervision from a member of MNDA staff through email and telephone contact and also through attending extra supervision and training sessions to further your knowledge and keep up-to-date with new initiatives and opportunities.
You will need to have good active listening and communication skills and be able to deal with information in a sympathetic and confidential manner. You have to be happy to maintain a relationship with the people and families that you are supporting and have respect for different lifestyles.
Some of your volunteering will be home based (making telephone calls and emailing those you are supporting and other supporting organisations and individuals), but you will also need to make home visits to individuals and support groups across the region, so your own transport would be beneficial. Reasonable volunteering experiences will be reimbursed though so you will not be out of pocket for things like transport and phone costs.
Given the nature of this role and the close relationship you will form with those individuals and families that you are supporting a DBS and references will be required. MNDA will help you with the paperwork process to gain your DBS though so please do not be put off if you do not already hold one. You also need to be aged at least 18 to take on this role (if you are under 18 there are still lots of ways that you can support MNDA – have a look at https://www.mndassociation.org/get-involved/ for some ideas) but there is no upper age limit.
If you would like more information before committing yourself this volunteer opportunity then please do not hesitate to drop me an email on
Jo.firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0345 375 1839
Why get involved?
Association visitors have a huge emotional and practical impact on the lives of those living with MND as well as their family and carers. Your support can help combat some of the isolation and loneliness that many living with MND can face. You will help people find out about and make informed decisions about services and support that could benefit them. You will get to expand and develop your communication and inter-personal skills.
A role like this is also great experience if you are looking for a career in health or social work giving you an insight into supporting families living with profound conditions. You’ll also develop your social base as you meet other likeminded volunteers and professionals.
How to get involved?
- Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
- Accept the challenge
- Await a response from the Motor Neurone Disease Association with more information
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