Helena reflects on her time volunteering at PiP

As I am crossing the busy Shirland Road and then turn left to the Shirland Mews where PiP is located, I try to calculate roughly how many times I have been to PiP during the last eleven months. It must be more than 50. Perhaps 60? 70? Even though I can´t figure out the exact number of days; I am sure of one thing: I wouldn’t miss any of them!


GYMCA Volunteer Helena Supporting PIP Students in Cooking

I volunteered at PiP as part of my placement at the German YMCA in Bayswater. Every year the charity has two volunteers who very often have just finished school and would like to do a European Voluntary Service. I visited PiP on a regular basis, once or twice a week, as part of my weekly work schedule at the YMCA. 


When I started at PiP last September, I didn’t know much about learning disabilities. Therefore, the idea of working with the PiP students made me, on one hand, really excited but on the other hand,  very nervous. That´s why I was even more surprised when, on my first day at PiP, I found out that there was no need to be frightened at all!


In fact, I couldn’t have felt more welcome! All staff members were incredibly friendly and I could always ask them any questions I had about my tasks and the Organisation in general. I usually helped at the weekly juicing and the Yoga session. Mainly, my job was to talk to the students and help to engage in the sessions and complete their tasks.



I enjoyed very much spending time with the students. In the beginning, some of them were a bit shy and had to get used to me, but that changed very quickly. Soon they started to ask me questions and were sad when I had to leave. After a few months, one of them declared he wanted to go on holiday with me and that, as simple as it might sound, was – amongst many others – one of the best moments I had at PiP!


Finally, the students have also taught me a lot of very important things. First, that no learning disability is the same, so all students are different, but that is what makes them unique and amiable. Second, if as you are open-minded, you will find that these people can become very special to you, like friends. And third, because of all that, it will be even harder to leave!


Thank you to everyone at PiP for the fantastic time I had as a volunteer!

PiP crushed it this Healthy Eating Week


We’ve hopped, skipped and jumped our way through Healthy Eating Week this year!

Students have relished the opportunity to make healthy lifestyle changes, leapt at the chance to try new exercises and licked their lips at the prospect of trying new and exotic fruits. Parents and carers have also been really supportive, helping students cook healthy meals at home.

To top it off, staff took on their own healthy challenge of walking 2,000,000 steps over five days!

Health and Wellbeing is a central part of what we teach our students with learning disabilities and autism.

Continue Reading

Celebrating PiP’s corporate volunteers



This Volunteers Week we are recognising the incredible volunteers who help us in so many ways – from supporting students in sessions, to juicing up fruit for our market stall Fruitful, to sharing skills, expertise, advice and guidance.

As a small charity it’s vital that we work well with local businesses and we’ve been developing what we can offer to corporate organisations over the past few years. We’d like to say a special thank you to the people who have given their time and energy to us over the last year, including volunteers from

Continue Reading

Louisa reflects on her time as a PiP volunteer

Louisa 2


My voluntary service at PIP was a total coincidence: I was looking for an internship in an educational or social setting in London. The internship is a mandatory part of my bachelor’s degree to become a teacher for German and English, the regulations are very loose and the main goal is to gain work experience in an English-speaking country. The German YMCA referred my application to PiP and luckily I was accepted.

Before my time at PiP I had hardly ever encountered anyone with learning disabilities, let alone worked with them. I did not know what to expect but had a very open mind. Of course, I was also a little nervous on my first day.

Continue Reading

Day one as a PiP Volunteer

Humna volunteer


Hi I’m Humna from City University and I’m really looking forward to volunteering at PiP over the next four weeks.  I feel that it will be fulfilling and inspirational due to the opportunity to spend time with PiP’s students. PiP focuses on students’ aspirations and also on their individual goals which makes it a special place to work.

PiP helps those with learning disabilities to live their lives as independently as they can by focusing on work experience and employability, social skills and much more! I chose to volunteer at PiP for a number of reasons.

Continue Reading

Speaking to PiP volunteers on Volunteering Week



This Volunteers Week we’ll be speaking to some of PiP’s volunteers, asking them about the work they do and their experiences as a volunteer.

We talked to Patrick Altmann, from Germany, who has been volunteering with PiP since November 2017. He is the author of the ‘Fruitful song’, which he wrote (to the tune of a famous contemporary pop song…) to promote PiP’s Fruitful Project, a fresh fruit juice stall which helps our students develop their customer service and money management skills. You can watch the Fruitful song here.

Continue Reading

Fruitful pops up in Paddington



On Wednesday 23rd May PiP students put on a tai chi taster class in the amphitheatre of Sheldon Square in partnership with the Dao Lu tai chi school and Paddington Central. Fruitful was there to serve their tasty juices to the masses with flavours including Paddington Pear and Zinging Zen.

In advance of the event, Paddington Central interviewed Fruitful co-ordinator Clare Twine. You can read the interview below.

Continue Reading

A showcase of creativity and talent from a very special cast

The Holiday


“Every year The PIP Theatre Production reminds us why PIP exists – to provide opportunities to showcase the skills, talents and creativity of our students”.

PIP’s CEO Bill Feeney couldn’t have summed it up better, as he stood grinning from ear to ear after another excellent show devised and performed by PIP students – adults with learning disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and autism.

On Saturday 24th March 2018 our students performed their original production – The Holiday – to a packed auditorium at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Continue Reading

A first for Tristan, a first for PIP

2016 Tristan crossing finish line

On 24th April PIP had it’s first ever participant in the Virgin London Marathon.  We met Tristan Swoffer at a BBQ organised by one of PIP’s corporate partners British Land back in September 2015. Tristan signed up there and then for his first ever marathon too.  We are super proud of him and all of his efforts.  He has so far raised £2042 (smashing his target by over £500!).

Here’s how he got on in his words;

Continue Reading