Jamie is 23 and has Down’s Syndrome and a learning disability. He is supported by Aspens in Kent. Jamie regularly volunteers at Bedgebury Forest and was recently awarded a certificate for completing one year’s volunteering. He also volunteers at Aspens’ Crowborough store once a week. Jamie tells us what he loves about volunteering and we hear from Joel, Senior Support Worker, who has supported Jamie to engage in meaningful voluntary work which has increased his independence and confidence.


“I like doing IT and pottery at day opportunities. I like going on walks in the countryside and at the coast and throwing stones in the water. I love music, fashion and meeting new people as I am a very happy and friendly man.

I get excited about working at Bedgebury on Thursday mornings with the amazing team there. I use the cutters, saws, loppers and chains. 

Volunteering at the Crowborough shop is good because I know what jobs I need to do and complete and I also love new clothes. I find the size and get the correct hanger and put on a price tag and hang up the clothes on the rails. I love buttoning up the shirts and jackets.

I like working and being busy. Working makes you gorgeous and happy. I am a working man now!”


“I’ve been a Senior Support Worker at Aspens for five years. A typical day for me is making sure the house is running smoothly and that the people supported there are happy, healthy, are a part of the wider community and achieving their goals and dreams. The best thing about working for Aspens is seeing the people we support achieve things and the good times and smiles that they bring to us all.  

Jamie is supported at the house I work in. When he finished college, he was looking for meaningful work and activities that he could do. Jamie loves being out in the countryside and being busy working hard at tasks. We looked at different volunteer projects and came across the one at Bedgebury Forest, which sounded very hands on and in beautiful surroundings. 

I supported Jamie with the application and interview. When he started I supported him by showing him all the tasks that he had to do and making sure he was able to do them in a safe way and praising and encouraging him to give him the confidence to be independent. Jamie really knows his job role there now and what he needs to do to help the team.

I’ve noticed that Jamie has become more confident and knows his job role and what needs to be done at certain times while still giving 100% quality in his job. Jamie is very happy and smiling, talking and singing with his other peers whilst doing the job. 

Jamie has learnt how to clear brambles, pop trees, winch up trees, the correct way to carry trees, saw the trees, lop branches, fill the trailer to the mule and how to take the trees to the recycle area sitting in the front of the mule with the driver. He has learnt a lot about the correct ways of working in the forest through listening, watching and learning. 

Jamie was recently awarded a certificate at the annual Volunteer’s BBQ for completing his one year’s working. He is such a hard worker and this is such an amazing achievement for him since leaving college, he has moved on so much since then.”