Volunteer Opportunities
Transport scheme
Mental Health Projects
Wheelchair Assistants
Transport scheme

The Access Lewisham Transport Scheme is an accessible and affordable service for Lewisham residents who have difficulty or are unable to use public transport.

Volunteer drivers and passenger assistants use minibuses and cars to support people to attend college, day centres, medical appointments, to access groups and community activities. We also provide one off journey requests to visit friends and family no matter where they are in the UK. In addition, volunteers can escort people shopping and assist people in their wheelchairs.

How to Access this Service

The Access Lewisham Transport Scheme is available to all residents of the Borough of Lewisham however requests for support must come via social services or other statutory agencies such as

  • Health service professionals
  • Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and other organisations
  • Church representatives

Anyone wishing to make a referral must complete the form below and be able to confirm that the individual is not capable of using public transport without support. Please contact Stephen Oldfield or David Maffin  transport@vslonline.org.uk 020 3906 0654/0655, if you would like more information or advice on completing the form.

Journey Requests

Once the referral is accepted by VSL, the service user can call Access Lewisham Transport Scheme to request a trip. These can be regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly trips or one off requests. It is best to give a minimum of 5 days’ notice before the trip to allow time for a driver to be found from our volunteer team. The VSL endeavours to meet all requests, but it is not always possible to accommodate all journey requests, particularly if these are made at short notice.

A charge is made to cover the cost of petrol, volunteers time is given freely. This is based on the distance of the entire round trip from the drivers’ house to collect the service user, take them to the appointment and return home. A minimum charge of £5.50 is made for trips of 10 miles or less, all other journeys are calculated on VSL’s mileage rate and will be agreed with you in advance.



The VSL befriending scheme covers the whole borough of Lewisham and matches volunteers with service users based on shared interests, the individual’s needs, and the volunteers’ availability.

Initially a volunteer will visit a service user for an hour each week, on a day and time suitable to both. However, as a relationship develops, a volunteer may visit a service user for longer.

Service users are usually referred to us by Social Services, health services or other professional bodies, but families and individuals can also contact us directly if they want to arrange befriending visits.

Our service users are from all walks of life and may face a wide range of issues. For example, a volunteer may befriend an elderly man who has been bereaved, a younger woman who is housebound through disability, or anyone who is isolated by low self-esteem or with few friends or family and would benefit from a friendly visitor.

Telephone Befriending

Telephone befriending is aimed at service users who prefer a call over a visit. Calls can range from 5-40 minutes once a week. The volunteer telephone befrienders make their calls from VSL offices. Volunteers usually start with 1 befriendee with the option of calling more service users as time goes on.

Befriending and telephone befriending involves a minimum commitment of six months from the volunteer who will need to undergo a DBS (police check) through the VSL.

If you would like to find out more click on the task description tab below or email info@vslonline.org.uk.

Group Befriending

VSL place volunteers in group befriending sessions. One of our groups takes place in the Pepys Resource centre, Deptford on alternating Wednesdays between 1.30 and 3.30. The group is for older, socially isolated people living in the Deptford Challenge Trust Area and provides a welcoming space where to play board games, chat and do chair exercise or arts and crafts. We are looking for volunteers from Deptford, New Cross and Lewisham who enjoy communicating or have a skill they can share with the group. Please read flyer and contact Bettina or Sandra on 0208 2911 747 or email bettina@vslonline.org.uk

Befriending Flyer

Task Description Befriending

Task Description Telephone Befriending


Christmas Project

At Christmas time VSL provides hampers to elderly and isolated adults, food hampers and supermarket vouchers to families, and toys and books to their children. Our aim is to help vulnerable and isolated individuals and families on low incomes trying to make ends meet, at what can be a very difficult and isolating time of year.

We also support social services, local hostels and other voluntary organisations by providing boxes of food, toiletries and toys for them to distribute to their service users. A visit to the pantomime is arranged each year as well as a Christmas Day lunch held in a local church.

Every year we need volunteers to help us sort and pack goods, help with shopping, and record keeping and data entry. Activities begin in November and continue until Christmas week.

We also need volunteers to help on Christmas Day with setting up for the meal, serving food and socialising with guests. We also need volunteer drivers to transport guest to the lunch and home again later in the day.

If you would like to find out more click the task description tabs below or email info@vslonline.org.uk

Task Description Christmas Project Assistant

Christmas Report 2015

Christmas Report 2017

Help us raise funds by using our amazon search bar (bottom left of the website).



Our DIY & Decorating Scheme matches volunteers for one-off tasks to help service users in Lewisham. Requests vary greatly and we need volunteers with a wide variety of talents who are willing to be called upon occasionally.

Can you put up a shelf? Assemble a flat-pack? Fix a loose hinge? Tile a bathroom wall? Or paint a hallway?

DIY & Decorating volunteers will need to undergo a DBS (police check) through the VSL

If you would like to find out more click on the task description below or email info@vslonline.org.uk

Task description DIY_Decorating



Our Escorting Scheme covers the whole borough of Lewisham and provides volunteers for regular or one-off outings that the service user would otherwise find difficult to complete.

For example, you may escort a service user around a Supermarket once a fortnight or accompany them on a trip to the coast, pushing their wheelchair on your arrival (for which training will be provided).

Escorting may also involve helping service users on and off of buses. Whilst the volunteer is not expected to support the service user’s weight you can provide a steadying arm and offer reassurance.

Volunteer escorts will need to undergo a DBS (police check) through the VSL.

If you would like to find out more click the task description tab below or email info@vslonline.org.uk

Task description Escort

Mental Health Projects

Mental Health Projects


The VSL runs drop-ins within the borough of Lewisham for people with severe and enduring mental health issues. VSL drop-ins are run in partnership with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

The aim of the drop-ins is to promote social inclusion and reduce isolation. The drop-ins are for people to socialise, connect with others, or just sit, relax and read quietly.

Volunteers work in teams to run drop-in sessions, socialising with service users and creating a welcoming, warm and friendly environment. No experience is necessary but an ability to socialise and listen without judgement is essential. Mental health first aid training and monthly supervision and support sessions are provided.

You can volunteer on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Details of drop- ins are listed below:

Monday and Friday from 9.45am - 1.15pm at the Lee Centre
1 Aislibie Road, Lee, SE12 8QH

Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 12.45-4.15pm or Saturday 9.45-1.15pm
at the Compass Centre 32-34 Watson Street, Deptford, SE8 4AU

Thursdays 6.45-9.15pm at the Grove Centre
4 Jews Walk, Sydenham, SE26 6PL

If you would like to find out more click on the task description tab below or email dropins@vslonline.org.uk.

Task description Mental Health Drop-In Helper



Volunteers are very much a part of the team at the VSL. All our receptionists are volunteers, as well as many of those helping out behind the scenes, including administrative, publicity, finance and fundraising volunteers. We frequently attend fetes and hold small scale events, so we always need people to help us sort goods and organise our storage areas, as well as attend the events.

Office volunteers usually have a regular time they help out each week perhaps a whole day or a morning or afternoon once a week. Office experience is not essential, as our staff can provide you with training and support, but you will need good communication skills and be able to follow instructions.

If you would like to find out more about becoming one of our team of office volunteers or helping us to sort donated goods click the task description tab below or email: info@vslonline.org.uk.

Task Description Admin Telephonist



From time to time the VSL receives a request that we cannot categorise. For example, we sometimes need volunteers with language skills to help us communicate with a service user, or a sighted volunteer to help a blind service user with correspondence.

In the past we have been asked for someone to help a service user set up their video recorder, and a service user requested a volunteer who could help with needle work.

If you are interested in the challenge of responding to one-off or unusual requests, email info@vslonline.org.uk, or ring 020 8291 1747 to speak to a coordinator.



School helpers volunteer in schools (currently primary schools only) in the Forest Hill & Sydenham area. Tasks can vary greatly but will involve helping teaching staff to support children in their allocated tasks. Volunteers might be supervising cookery, spelling, maths or reading stories to a group of children.

Volunteers need to make a minimum commitment of two terms or six months, attending at least a morning or afternoon each week during term time.

School helper volunteers will need to undergo a DBS (police check) through the VSL.

If you would like to find out more click on the task description below or email info@vslonline.org.uk.

School Helper Task Description


Shopping Scheme

Our shopping scheme helps service users in the Forest Hill & Sydenham area, who are unable to do their own food shopping. Volunteers usually shop for service users once a week or once a fortnight (depending on the service user’s needs).

It would be useful to drive, but not essential, as some service users don’t require a large amount of shopping.

Shopping for a service user involves a minimum commitment of three months and no experience is necessary; however an ability to communicate effectively is essential as this role includes taking instructions.

Shopping volunteers will need to undergo a DBS (police check) through the VSL.

If you would like to find out more click on the task description tab below or email services@vslonline.org.uk.

Task description Shopping Volunteer



The Board of Trustees oversee the running of VSL and are ultimately responsible for the Organisation. We have a diverse and talented board of trustees, however, we are always looking for professional people to join us and help us flourish.

Perhaps your talents lie in IT, publicity, fundraising, events, finance, volunteer management or another relevant professional area? If so, we would like to hear from you.

Contact the CEO Evelyn Brady on 020 8291 1747 or email evelyn@vslonline.org.uk.

Wheelchair Assistants

Wheelchair Assistants

The VSL wheelchair Assistant scheme matches volunteers with service users living in the Forest Hill & Sydenham area. Volunteers are given initial wheelchair pushing training and are then matched with a service user to take them out in their wheelchairs once a week or once a fortnight (according to the service users needs).

Our service users are from all walks of life and may face a wide range of issues. For example a young person with a disability or an older person recovery from an illness or surgery, they may want to go shopping or to the library, or maybe visit a local park.

Being a Wheelchair Assistant involves a minimum commitment of 6 months from the volunteer who will need to undergo a DBS  check (police check) through the VSL.

If you would like to find out more click on the task description tab below or email info@vslonline.org.uk .