My Guiding Star!
Our My Guide and befriending services continues to grow as more isolated visually impaired people and their volunteers find it helps them get more out of life!
We asked Theresa and James to talk about what it means to them
“I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration 26 years ago. It was terrible at first but once I got over the shock I managed well enough. As the years passed, things got more difficult. I lost my husband and then I couldn’t keep up the repairs on our home so I moved into a flat, which was easier to manage but then I didn’t know anybody.
“As I’ve got older, so have my friends, so my support network dwindled as friends are too frail to go out. I became increasingly isolated, made worse because I can no longer read, watch TV or even see to stop the right bus when I try to go out! A friend takes me to church once a week but apart from this my days are lonely and my life restricted. Loneliness is the worst thing in the world, it makes you believe there’s nothing to live for.
“When My Sight Notts phoned and suggested a volunteer My Guide I was hopeful and nervous, but there was no need to be nervous. My volunteer, James is a lovely young man, we meet once a week for coffee, cake and a chat. He listens to my life stories and I listen to his. He sometimes reads my mail but mostly we talk. His visits are something to look forward to, something to live for and what could be more important than that?”
“I first visited Theresa in October 2015 but before signing-up I looked at various volunteering opportunities on the do-it website and thought My Guide would be a nice thing to do.
“We meet once a week at her flat for around two hours. We mainly just chat over coffee and cake! Theresa tells stories about her life, especially about the Second World War, which I find really interesting.
“I enjoy volunteering as a My Guide as I look forward to seeing Theresa. It makes me happy to know I’m making a difference and it helped put my own problems in perspective, especially with all of the exam stress in my final year at medical school.
“The highlights for me are listening to Theresa’s story’s, she always has something interesting to say and it helped me deal with exam stress.
“The My Guide training was straightforward and Martha, the Volunteer Coordinator was great and made me feel well supported. I’d encourage others to volunteer as a My Guide because the difference you make to someone else’s quality of life is worthwhile. The experience might do you good too as you learn from the life experiences of others.”
Could you be one of our Guiding Stars?
If you’re visually impaired and would like a My Guide volunteer or if you have some time to spare and you’d like to find out about becoming a My Guide, contact Martha on 0115 9706 806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org