Susan's experience of volunteering with RNIB

Susan sat holding a book and smiling
Finding your Feet (now known as Confience Building courses) volunteer, Susan opens up about her experience and shares her volunteering story.

Why did you choose to volunteer with us?

I became a volunteer following joining a local support group. There I met so many lovely people who like me had sight loss. After a few months I felt my confidence had grown which helped me to go out more on my own and do some of the things I thought I would never do again. This was all due to me attending the Finding Your Feet sessions. This made me feel that I wanted to be part of RNIB and help people with sight loss. 

What does your role involve?

I now facilitate our confidence building sessions, help with our social groups, give talks to various organisation and support our team of volunteers.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I am a person who enjoys a challenge and there are always plenty of these with RNIB.

How do you feel your volunteering role has made a difference to the everyday lives of blind and partially sighted people?

feel that my volunteering role has helped people with sight loss enjoy the confidence building workshops as I try to adapt them to suit their individual needs. I also hope that they feel they have found a friend as I try to make our workshops fun. Most of all I hope that they feel they have made new friends in meeting others and have learned something positive to take away with them.

What do you feel you have gained from volunteering with us?

I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about different types of sight loss. I've learned how to accept, adapt and achieve. I have also been able to put some of my training skills back into practice and feel like I have a purpose in life. Overall, I feel good knowing that I have helped other people. 

If you could sum your volunteering up in one sentence, what would you say?

Being a volunteer has changed my life and I hope that other volunteers and myself have helped changed the lives of others.

Do you have any favourite moments, highlights or special stories about volunteering with us that you’d like to share?

I have many special moments but perhaps the one that means so much to me was when I went along to our local support group feeling like it was my first day at school. 

On arrival a lady said to me “Your new, come in and have a seat”. I went and sat by a lady and we told each other our names and began chatting.  The lady then put her talking watch close to her ear to listen for the time. I said: “Are you okay?” “Not really,” she said, “My hearing aid is on the table at home”.

We both started to laugh. I knew then that this was going to be a new venture for me as already I felt part of the group. We have become very good friends since then and she has helped me do things I never thought I would ever do, which certainly gave me the confidence to become a volunteer to help others. I now help run this group on a monthly basis.