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In memorial: RNIB Volunteer Tony Jenkins shows how one person can make a huge impact

RNIB volunteers form the backbone of everything we do as a charity: their achievements both individually and collectively across the UK are absolutely invaluable and the impact they have on the sight loss community as a whole is truly incredible.

Image: Tony Jenkins, and several other people walking with canes and guide dogs

We really couldn’t carry out all of the work we do for blind and partially sighted people without the support of our volunteer teams.

Tony Jenkins, who volunteered with us for over 10 years, up until his recent passing, remains a prime example of the genuine difference volunteers can make to the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Tony dedicated a huge part of his life to supporting RNIB and was a real asset, supporting our work through his role as a Volunteer Campaign Coordinator and later as a Volunteer Campaigns Assistant.

Like many RNIB volunteers, Tony nurtured a whole number of connections with local authorities, NHS Trusts, and local MPs helping to build support and resources for our campaign and lobbying work, ultimately helping us to achieve the results we wanted more quickly! His careful and considered approach to networking also helped him set up meetings with prospective parliamentary candidates in the run-up to elections, a truly crucial avenue for our parliamentary work.

Tony was able to contact his own MPs, take them on a blindfold walk to demonstrate the issues facing blind and partially sighted people in his local area, and secure their support for our work. Most recently Chris Green, MP for Bolton West attended a walk with Tony and pledged his support to RNIB. These walks are one of our most successful methods of engaging with MPs and helping them understand the obstacles faced by people with sight loss.

Accessible transport, safe streets and the provision of accessible information are just a few of our priority campaigns. Tony’s work in these areas has had an incredible long-term impact.  As a direct result of his work with Salford City Council in 2016, two road crossings outside Salford town hall are being adapted so they are safe for use by blind and partially sighted people.

In 2012 Tony also took on the additional role of Volunteer Campaigns Assistant, supporting the Regional Campaigns Officer for the North West one day a week with a variety of tasks including admin, organising events, research and making enquiries. His support in this role was invaluable and very much appreciated by the regional team.

Reflecting on the huge impact Tony’s work as a volunteer had, Lindsay Coyle, Local Campaigns Manager said:

"I had the pleasure of working with Tony for well over a decade, from his first days as a campaign volunteer. He supported numerous campaigns from meeting Stagecoach bus, blindfolding walks with councillors or lobbying his own MP on a given issue. Tony was incredibly committed and also had a wicked sense of humour. He will be sorely missed."