Buddies are volunteers who support students to get to college. This might include going to meet someone at home and travelling to courses together; attending courses with someone. During registration and when we first meet students, we ask them about any physical, mental or learning disabilities, and other support needs they may have. We identify which students might benefit from a buddy and then match the buddy with the student. We offer support and supervision and pay expenses to buddies. We hope this means the college can be as accessible as possible to all students whatever their needs.
Reflections on being a buddy
"I’m so glad that last year I became a buddy volunteer. I was introduced to a prospective student at his home, where I spent time getting to know him. This person had low self-esteem and had not been able to attend previous classes because of this. I understood his concerns as I am similar to him.
On the first day of our class, I sat next to him and we did group work as a pair. Throughout the class and at break time I gave him support and encouragement. I think that my presence there for him made a difference. Over the weeks I noticed that he was slowly coming out of his shell and he engaged with group participation. I saw his confidence grow.
It was rewarding to see him blossom; to see him get so much from the recovery college classes. I definitely get joy from helping people; it is in giving that you receive."
Sandra Reakes, Volunteer buddy