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2023: A year of volunteering with RNIB

Volunteering with RNIB makes a difference in the lives of blind and partially sighted people every year. 2023 is no different. Over 3,300 volunteers supported RNIB throughout the last financial year, including 996 people with lived experience of sight loss. No matter how much or how little time people have to gift, we value each and every volunteer’s contribution through delivering services, campaigning for change, raising funds, sharing lived experience, governing our charity and so much more.


Accessing information in the right format is important to living independently. Over 120 volunteers across the UK are involved in the Transcription service that helps blind and partially sighted people access materials in their preferred format. Some volunteers are readers bringing texts to life, while others are checkers or give admin support.

Ollie Thomas completed the Vision Awards Programme with RNIB as a volunteer and has enjoyed checking and editing transcriptions for Talking Books. Read about his time with RNIB.


Involving volunteers extends the reach of our services and activities. That's why we want to understand the volunteering experience. It’s crucial to gather feedback from existing volunteers to strengthen our offer for current volunteers and future people we involve. We shared key insights from the 2022 annual volunteer survey.


Huda and Alia Hathaf are sisters based in Wales who started volunteering with RNIB following the suggestion from their University Lecturer. Three years on, they’ve now graduated from Optometry at Cardiff University and continue to volunteer with RNIB. They also use the skills and knowledge they’ve gained from their roles as Telephone Group Facilitators in their careers as Optometrists. Find out more about their experience volunteering with RNIB.


Sooty volunteers play a vital role in generating income and raising our profile in local communities. Ray has been volunteering with RNIB as a Sooty Box Collector for 30 years and has collected over £500,000. Earlier this year, he attended the Royal Garden Party in recognition of his incredible achievements for RNIB. Read more about Ray's time with RNIB.


As part of the Coronation celebrations, we participated in the Big Help Out to introduce people to light touch volunteering opportunities with RNIB. Two volunteers, John and Anthony, were recognised as Coronation Champions in May 2023.

Allan spoke to Dave who nominated his fellow Technology for Life volunteer John for the Coronation Champion award.


In the first week of June each year, we celebrate Volunteers’ Week. We’re lucky to be able to celebrate the wide-ranging contributions volunteers make throughout the year and across RNIB.

Melanie Stewart shared with us how volunteering for RNIB has enriched her life.

Charlene Kerr-Spencer spoke to Connect Radio about her experience volunteering for RNIB after she started to lose her sight.


It was quite the summer for sport and our See Sport Differently Campaign. Blind and partially sighted people are twice as likely to be inactive than people with sight loss.

Only you know how sight loss changes your life, but you can still get active. The campaign features blind and partially sighted people (including some RNIB volunteers and staff) sharing their experiences of getting active.


We celebrated 20 years of Connect Radio in August 2023. In honour of this milestone, we spoke to Roger who has volunteered with Connect Radio for almost 13 years. Read about Roger's experience volunteering with Connect Radio.


The Festival of Volunteering is our annual celebration of the impact of volunteering and the contribution of RNIB’s volunteers. From June to September 2023, we held seven events as part of the Festival of Volunteering. Volunteers shared stories of the difference volunteering makes by raising vital funds, campaigning, delivering services, transcribing texts, providing tech support, sharing your lived experience and so much more. We look forward to next year’s event series!

The Festival of Volunteering 2023. Photo taken by volunteer photographer Peter Freeth.


Padma joined RNIB as a Campaign Coordinator volunteer in 2009 and volunteers with other charities too. Padma shares how she has set up a technology group with the help of Technology for Life team and local volunteers.


Earlier in the year, we launched the RNIB Employee Volunteering Scheme (REVS) following a successful pilot in 2022. It enables RNIB staff to volunteer in customer-facing activity like Talk & Support or in the local community as Sooty Box Collectors. One of the REVS volunteers shared this comment about their volunteering:

“The experience has been useful though as I certainly feel more confident facilitating more than I did at the start.” (REVS pilot participant)


Happy International Volunteers’ Day! Thank you for volunteering with RNIB, no matter how much or how little time you gift. Your contribution is valued! We want to ensure that your volunteering experience is as rewarding as possible. We’re excited to share with you the range of opportunities that can access to help you enjoy your volunteering with RNIB.