Would you like to meet our volunteers? Volunteers are our lifeblood and they are essential in helping us reach as many people as we do. Their contributions make a massive impact on the lives of people with sight loss in South Wales.
We love our volunteers! Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience. It can offer the opportunity to gain new skills and useful life or work experience. There’s also the chance to meet interesting new people. Our passionate, committed volunteers want to help us to change lives, so we recruit people who believe they can stay with us for a while. We offer a comprehensive training package and lots of support. If you’ve got a skill you’d like to share with us, or if you’re looking for an opportunity to learn something new, we’d love to hear from you. We’d like to introduce you to some of the volunteers who already give us their time.
Kay started volunteering with Cardiff Institute for the Blind (as we were called then) in 2001. She has a background in administration for the National Health Service. Kay always has a smile for you, and she was instrumental in organising the Sight Life choir.
“I have met so many new people, it has broadened my horizons. I’ve been on various holidays with the activity group. Being a volunteer with Sight Life has made me so much more aware of the issues people with sight loss face on a daily basis. I have made so many lasting friendships and find the time I spend volunteering always an enjoyable experience.”
Kay also recruited a new volunteer for us. Her husband Tom recently retired. Tom thought he was in for a restful time, but Kay ‘persuaded’ him to join the ranks of Sight Life’s volunteers. He now forms part of our home visiting team.
Jeff has helped hundreds of blind and partially sighted people since he has been a volunteer with Sight Life. In addition to visiting people in their homes, Jeff has a telebefriending list of members he calls on a regular basis. For many, this is a lifeline, particularly at this time. Jeff is very flexible and is always eager to help out with new tasks. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer. Jeff says:
“I have been working for Sight Life since 2015 and it seems like only yesterday that I started. I joined because I wanted to do something different, and this job was just what I needed. The staff I work with are brilliant and I get on well with all of them. They are friendly and very helpful, and I am included in everything that crops up. It makes my week go fast, like real work. My main duties involved helping new members. I go to their homes and try to sort out any difficulties they might have with government agencies and technical queries from clocks to broadband. I have met some lovely people and hopefully have been able to answer all their queries successfully.
My reason for doing the work is to keep working. During my working life I have had 13 jobs, mostly in the IT industry, moving around to keep up with the technology. But when you are retired every day is a weekend and I do not get on with that lifestyle. I need to be doing something positive. This work gives me the opportunity to help people, ensuring they get the best experience no matter what the problem. I get a lot of pleasure out of that and it keeps me going. However, in these strange times of COVID-19, I have no idea what is going to happen. Let us hope we can all be together soon, under the old normal not a new one.”
As a volunteer with Carys for Sight Life in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Kim helps with the Young at Heart social group and the Keeping in Touch Calls. Kim has sight loss herself. Therefore, she has a great understanding of the difficulties that living with sight loss can present.
“My sight has deteriorated a great deal since I first realised I had a problem in 2010. Over the years, I’ve had lots of tests and treatments, and I’m now registered as severely sight impaired.
I got in contact with Sight Life in Rhondda Cynon Taff in 2016 as I wanted to get out and about. I went on numerous trips which included Margam Park and the Harry Potter studios. It wasn’t until October 2017 that I got back in contact with Sight Life again to request some help with finding a job as I had recently been made redundant. Kristian (who has now left Sight Life) invited me into the office to have a chat, go over my CV and discuss all my options. While I was there, I offered to help them wherever possible and also expressed an interest in organising my own group for the younger generation of VIPs. In January 2018 I became a volunteer with Sight Life and I now have my own group for people with sight loss, the Under 50’s.
Sight Life has been brilliant in supporting me through a difficult time of my life and I can now call them good friends. So, I urge anybody who is VI and going through any difficulties then to get in touch with Sight Life.”