SIBS is a social group for children who have a brother or sister with a disability. UWE student volunteers provide fun activity days including craft sessions, occasional trips to local attractions and more adventurous pursuits such as rock climbing, on a monthly basis. Until siblings meet others at these groups they often believe that they are the only ones.
SIBS supports more siblings to be able to share their experiences, while enjoying social activities with others.
The sessions aim to help participants develop their confidence and self-esteem, increase interaction with people outside the family unit, gain access to social activities and develop social skills and allow participants to reflect on what it means to be a ‘SIB’ to their disabled sibling.
The project is for children aged 7-11 years and is open to 15 participants per session. UWE Volunteering are looking to increase the provision for SIBS in Bristol and in turn give student volunteers opportunities to become active citizens.
If you enjoy working with children or would like to gain experience in this area there are opportunities for Project Leaders, whose job it is to plan and coordinate the activities, and Session Volunteers, who attend the sessions and get involved on the day.
“The satisfaction you get from just helping people out is so rewarding, however this is multiplied when you’re working with children. Their excitability and passion is instant positive feedback and reinforces the idea that what you’re doing is of great benefit, not only to them, but to their families also.”
Mike Daniels, a previous Project Leader
SIBS enhances the lives of siblings by providing them with information and support, allowing them the right to be valued for who they are and what they do, and to be seen as individuals with specific needs in their own rights. By connecting siblings with similar experiences, the children get to form connections and make friends, knowing that they are not alone.
Working with children and giving something back to the community is a valuable way of spending time, and SIBS volunteers gain experience of working within a team and supporting people while acquiring new life skills and experience.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with Bristol SIBS, please contact UWE Volunteering www.uwe.ac.uk/volunteer or visit the Community Hub at The Octagon on Frenchay Campus.