National Volunteers’ Week – Ann and Ann’s Story

With a combined volunteering experience of over 60 years, Ann Grant and Ann Burningham could be forgiven for wanting to step back and take a well-earned break.

The two women met in the 1980s in West Sussex as volunteers at Opportunity Playgroup, a playgroup for children with learning disabilities.

They currently both volunteer for Out There! club in Sussex, an organisation run by our charitable arm Outreach 3 Way.

man leaning on football post

Out There! club is a support service for people with learning disabilities and autism, which places a large emphasis on sport, the arts and self-expression. It was formerly called the Gateway Project.

The Gateway Project was originally a project of opportunities, activities and clubs for people with learning disabilities. Since its establishment over 16 years ago the organisation has transformed, and both women credit the role of volunteers as being instrumental in achieving this.

Now, a large and enthusiastic group of volunteers – around half of whom have a learning disability –support the small but dedicated staff team, enabling Out There! to offer around 30 activity sessions every week.

Ann Burningham loves the sport side of volunteering, but has recently had to put her “sensible hat on” as age has caught up to her.

Similarly, Ann Grant has been involved with the swimming activities of Out There! and explains the fun she has volunteering with the club members and the people we support.

Thanks to the contribution of these incredible volunteers, the commitment of its staff and the enthusiasm of its members, Out There! is going from strength to strength.

Both Anns hope to continue playing their part in providing opportunities and activities for people with learning disabilities and autism in their community.