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L'Arche London
We're L'Arche, an international movement of communities for people with and without learning disabilities. L'Arche London, based in West Norwood, is made up of about 100 people with and without learning disabilities, some of whom live in our community houses and others who participate in our workshops or drama group. Joy, openness, and relationship is at the heart of our shared…

Accompany our members with learning disabilities to church in SE27 and SE21. This is a wonderful, low-key opportunity to build a friendship with someone who sees the world differently to you. You don't need to be a Christian or religious!

L'Arche believes that good care and support involves feeding people's spiritual needs, as well as their physical ones. Many of our members with learning disabilities are deeply spiritual and going to church is central in their life. You would be supporting them to do something which brings them joy and meaning, as well as having the chance yourself to make friends and become part of L'Arche, a vivid intentional community.

This is an experience that will not only boost your CV, but also your confidence, and will grow you as a person. Being friends with people with learning disabilities changes the way you see the world. You will learn to be more attentive to the world around you and be more open to difference. You will learn to communicate more accessibly and there will be chances to have training in sign language. You will receive first aid training and a range of other trainings including health and safety and autism awareness.

There is no one kind of person who comes to L'Arche London. We are very diverse in terms of ethnicity, nationality, educational background, religion, age, and LGBTQ+ identity. What our members share is an openness to difference, a curiosity about other people, and a desire to build strong friendships. We are also looking for people who are willing to commit to regular volunteering.


This would involve arriving at their house half an hour before the service on the Sunday morning, walking over and attending the service and coffee afterwards with them, and then walking back to the house with them. All our members live less than a twenty minute walk from church. This is about a 2.5 hour commitment on a Sunday morning and we would ask you to commit to a regular slot (e.g. every other Sunday) so that our members can get to know you. This would not involve personal care. You would be there as the person's friend, chatting to them and accompanying them on part of their weekly routine.

Who will the volunteers be working with?
The volunteers will be supported by the Volunteer Coordinator but on a day to day basis they will work with the members with learning disabilities and the assistants who support our members.
All volunteers receive a foundational level of training in health and safety and accompanying people with learning disabilities. There will be opportunities to receive additional training in first aid, sign language, autism, and health and safety.

Time commitment

This is about a 2.5 hour commitment on a Sunday morning. We would ask you to commit to a regular slot (e.g. every Sunday or every other Sunday) so that our members can get to know you. We are a friendship community and it takes time to build friendships.
The length of time you can support with this depends on you. We would love to have longer term volunteers who can commit to coming for a year or so. However, if this doesn't work for you or you're only around for a few months in London, get in touch and we'll work something out.

This organisation is one of our community partner organisations.

Like all volunteer recruiters we work with, they have signed up to our service standards, agreeing to abide by our policy on partnership working to keep you safe and supported whilst you volunteer.

You’ll never be out of pocket for volunteering through us – with in-London travel expenses to and from your volunteering guaranteed.

In addition, the team here at Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service is here to support you throughout your volunteering journey – you can get in touch with us at any time.