Volunteer with KEEN

Volunteer coach role description

Role name

Volunteer one-to-one coaches required to support children with disabilities at sports and games sessions in North, South and East London.

Role description

KEEN London is a registered charity that runs free weekly sports and games sessions for children and young adults aged 5-25 (our athletes) with a wide range of disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Learning Disability and Global Development Delay.

Not only are our sessions tons of fun for the athletes but they also provide a much needed respite opportunity for caregivers. Every athlete is supported one-to-one by a trained volunteer coach which means that parents are able to leave their children in a secure and safe environment.

During a typical KEEN London session, you can expect to meet some cool athletes and coaches, play some fun playground games, like dodgeball and rhythm detective, learn a new skill such as basketball shooting, have a boogie during musical statues and get eaten by sharks during parachute games!

We also have craft projects, specialist sports instructors and operate day trips once a term to ice skating, adventure playgrounds, theatres and more.  Residential trips run twice annually and are an exciting adventure weekend away for athletes and coaches alike.

Our sessions currently run every weekend during term time, on Saturday in Vauxhall and Hackney and Sunday in Tufnell park.

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Volunteers are needed to help us run our weekly sessions

As a Volunteer Coach with KEEN London you will be providing one-to-one support for our athletes.  Your role is:

  • To support the athlete in accessing the fun and games on offer at the session and adapting the activity to meet their needs.  Some of our athletes are very physically able but may need regularly reminding of the rules or instructions, or might just need someone to keep them focused on the task.  Others may have a good understanding of the rules and instructions but need extra support with coordination e.g. rolling the ball instead of throwing it.
  • To encourage the athletes and give them lots of praise.  At KEEN we want to motivate all of our athletes and help them to achieve their full potential.  Individual support means that every athlete can get the focus and attention they need to build their self-esteem, confidence and appreciation of physical activity.
  • To get moving.  You don’t need to be an Olympian or even a member of a gym!  We want to show all of our athletes that you can have a great time being physically active, regardless of your level of ability.
  • To have fun! Our athletes love working with energetic and enthusiastic people and we will ensure that all of your effort and hard work will be rewarded with a great time.

We offer regular social events for volunteers, and our weekly debriefing sessions over food and drinks are a great way to meet new friends. Volunteers are also regularly offered opportunities to attend extension training in areas such as Autism Awareness, Makaton, Behaviour Management and Session Leading. We recognise our long term volunteers with t-shirts and badges, as well as advance sign-ups for popular events.

Requirements

Volunteers do not need any specialist skills or experience, but will need lots of enthusiasm and energy, as well as good communication and team-working abilities.

We offer full training and support, and a range of additional education sessions, including Autism awareness, behaviour management and session leading.

An online application will need to be completed via our website and a reference is required.  If your application is successful and once we have received a response from your referee, we will invite you to attend an induction session.  These take place on weekday evenings at our office in Hackney and give you an introduction to KEEN, our session and all of the information you need to know to be an effective coach.

After having attended your induction you will shadow one of our experienced volunteers at a session before being introduced to supporting athletes 1:1.

We will require all volunteers to complete an enhanced DBS certificate application. We will provide all of the necessary instructions for this.

Reasonable travel expenses within London (public transport) will be reimbursed at request.

Volunteers are expected to attend at least 1 session per month for a minimum of 5 sessions.

What is KEEN London?
KEEN picture gallery
Help support KEEN with fundraising

KEEN London is the only charity in London providing one-to-one support at free sports and activity sessions for children with additional needs.

See our athletes at regular sessions, on days out and on residential trips away from home in the KEEN gallery.

If you would like to support our work, there are many ways you can help us raise the funds we need.

Volunteers say…

I’ve been volunteering for almost two years now. I started doing it because I wanted to use some of my spare time to help people in my local community. I think London can feel so big and impersonal and it’s easy to become self-involved — I wanted to avoid that and do something to make life easier for the people around me.

I’ve never worked with children professionally and my career is not at all child-oriented, so it was all very much outside of my comfort zone when I started. I have learned so much from the kids and become a more rounded person myself, so it’s been a great experience.

Olivia, KEEN volunteer

I think what keeps me coming back is knowing that you really are making a difference to the children’s lives even in just a small way, you can see week to week how they start to interact with each other more and become more confident with getting involved with the games because everyone is there as a group encouraging. All the athletes are really lovely too. Plus it’s good fun playing all the games anyway, it doesnt feel like volunteering your time!

Laura, KEEN volunteer

A very enthusiastic friend who volunteers with KEEN got me involved; and now there’s no going back. On Sundays I get to play games I haven’t played since my childhood and if it’s possible I think I enjoy them even more now! The athletes are great and what’s more, I’ve met some great people who I hope become friends for life.

Kelly, KEEN volunteer

I got involved with KEEN through the Vodafone world of difference programme and really enjoy the Sunday morning sessions. I find it a rewarding and exciting experience to interact with the enthusiastic and energetic kids while allowing their parents/carers a couple of hours respite. I have also really enjoyed getting to know the other volunteers who, just like me, are still kids at heart.

Alex, KEEN volunteer

KEEN London is great place where you can meet superb people and have loads of fun.

Edyta, KEEN volunteer

KEEN is a fun, friendly and active way to let off steam, both for athletes and coaches. What makes it so successful is the enthusiasm and the familiarity as coaches and athletes develop friendships that grow.

Charlotte, KEEN volunteer

Volunteering for KEEN is a wonderful way to spend your free time. It’s a pleasure to get to know and develop the athletes and the sessions and trips are lot of fun. 

It’s well-organised and the coordinators provide lots of training and support. You only need to commit to volunteering once a month but most coaches attend a lot more than that, as it’s so enjoyable and rewarding. Would definitely recommend to any Londoners looking for volunteering opportunities!

Rachel, KEEN volunteer

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You can keep up with sessions and each other on the KEEN London facebook group!

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