Volunteering is a great way to stay active, social and independent.
Being a volunteer can also give you valuable experience, which could lead to paid employment.
You can find out more below and search for local opportunities:
- Community Action Suffolk's website Volunteer Suffolk
- Suffolk Arts have theatre, music and dance volunteer opportunities
- Active Suffolk has advice on sport volunteering
- The Source allows young people to search for volunteering placements
- GOV.UK provides information about volunteer placement rights and expenses
Other types of volunteers include:
Getting help to find work
If you're looking for work, need CV advice, or want to develop your skills, some organisations can help:
- Jobcentre Plus offers help to job seekers and people with disabilities to find work
- National Careers Service gives advice on decisions about learning, training and work
- Realise Futures are based in Ipswich and they support people who want to return to work and education or learn new skills
- National Careers helpline for teenagers over 13
Employment support for people with mental health problems or a learning disability
If you're over 18 and have a learning disability, autism or mental health problems the Shaw Trust can help you to:
- prepare for work
- find training or work experience
- find and apply for paid work
- manage a disability at work
- support you if you have problems at work
They will look at your abilities, aspirations and strengths to help to find the right job for you.
Working or volunteering at a Care farm can help you to improve your health and wellbeing and gives you an opportunity to develop new skills.
Every farm is different but they offer a range of activities, for example:
- working with animals
- growing produce
- land management
- working in a farm shop
You can find a list of local care farms on Suffolk InfoLink
Training and education
Training and learning is a great way to boost your skills.
There are plenty of learning opportunities in Suffolk:
- University of Suffolk
- Colleges in Suffolk
- University of the Third Age (U3A)
- Workers Education Association (WEA)
- Realise Futures Learning and Development
- Green Light Trust, Bury St Edmunds
- Inspire Suffolk
- Ipswich Community Media, Ipswich
- LockARTS, Suffolk
- Out Loud Music, Ipswich
- Sentinel Leisure Trust, Lowestoft
You can also study from home through organisations like:
- Open University
- Learn My Way courses are free and will help you get started using computers
- MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are free online courses made by universities and other organisations
Apprenticeships and traineeships are open to all ages above 16 years. They're good for those who are leaving education, want to learn a new skill while working or want to start a new career.
Grants and funding
There are various grants and bursaries for adult learners. Usually, you don't have to pay this money back.
GOV.UK has more information on further education courses and funding. Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).
You may be able to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a course at a college or training provider.