I started volunteering in 2018 after meeting a member of the Sightline team at an event I attended; we had a brief chat and I signed up there and then. I have glaucoma and Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) so can empathize with the service users in need of support.
I currently speak to three befriendees; all of whom have a variety of visual impairments. One of the ladies I speak to is lovely but finds technology a struggle. I have helped her set up the Talking Books which she says are a wonderful comfort to her in combatting the loneliness she feels.
Each of my befriendees is very different. Some don’t want to speak about their visual impairment which is fine, and some do. One lady loves to tell me how much she enjoys being part of a choir group. Another lady, being in her 90s, can go day to day without speaking to anyone so having a regular time and call to look forward to is really important to her.
The feeling of giving something back to others in the sight loss community makes me feel great.
Name has been changed to protect volunteer identity.
“What is my favourite telephone befriending memory so far? I would have to say there are many; however speaking with a gentleman who lived in a cottage on the side of a Welsh mountain and had a career as a Welsh Guard provided very interesting conversations! He spoke of stories at Buckingham Palace and I still love re-telling these to others. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enjoy such wonderful stories if I hadn’t volunteered to be a telephone befriender.“
I have been telling my friends all about being a volunteer. They think it sounds and great and 3 of them have already become fully fledged Sightline volunteers.
We currently have a number of volunteering opportunities available. Please get in touch if you can spare as little as 1 hour a week. Your call can really make a difference to someone living in the sight loss community.
Call 0800 587 2252 or email us at email@example.com to find out more.
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(*0800 numbers are free to call from BT landlines and most mobile networks)