A former teacher is championing more people to get involved in supporting their communities through volunteering, as part of national Volunteer Week (1st-7th June).
May Wood from Mauchline in Ayrshire, has volunteered for the UK charity Hearing Link for the past year, which supports adults living with hearing loss across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
May is a Helpdesk Responder for the charity’s free Helpdesk which helps general members of the public and healthcare professionals to find the answers to their questions about hearing loss.
Using her own personal experiences, May finds the information that suits the enquirer and their situation.
May was inspired to volunteer for the charity after it helped her to cope with severe hearing loss, something she had been struggling to do for many years. She attended the charity’s specialist support programmes, also led by volunteers, and has flourished since.
She said: “I realised I had learned a lot as I became deafened, I had experienced all the frustrations and knocks we go through and I had become much stronger as a person. I wanted to share that progress and confidence with others.
“I also found that the many skills I had acquired throughout my life and career were still valid and could be useful in supporting others with hearing loss as a Helpdesk Responder.
“Many of our enquirers are saying they don’t know where to turn for information or help, so when we receive feedback that they’ve been empowered to act to resolve their problems it is a rewarding experience.
“We know that by contacting Hearing Link’s Helpdesk they’ve taken the first step in improving their lives in some way and that we’ve enabled them to move forward.”
By volunteering for Hearing Link May also had the chance to learn new skills and meet others with similar experiences. Most importantly for May however, is the impact her volunteering has on those she supports.
She added: “I get a great sense of achievement in being able to help others, share information and experiences and research answers to signpost them towards accessing the support they need in their own struggles to cope with their hearing loss or that of a family member, friend or colleague.
“It is great for my self-esteem and confidence as a deaf person that I can continue to contribute positively to the experiences of others. Where I would struggle in the fully hearing world, I can effectively use my experience and skills.
“To anyone who is thinking of volunteering as a Helpdesk Responder I’d say “go for it”! It will give you a great sense of satisfaction to be able to help others along the way to coping better with life with deafness, you feel you are paying back for the help you yourself received.”
Hearing Link is a UK charity that provides information and support for people with hearing loss, their family and friends. Its vision is a world where everyone can participate fully whatever their level of hearing.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Hearing Link in Scotland, contact Chris Milne, Scotland Manager, on Tel/SMS: 0131 447 9420 or email email@example.com.
For support for hearing loss issues contact Hearing Link’s Helpdesk on Tel: 0300 111 1113; SMS: 07526 123 255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information please contact: Lorna Armstrong, Marketing & Communications Manager, Email: email@example.com,
Tel/SMS: 07534 563485.
About Hearing Link
Hearing Link is a UK charity for people who have developed any level of hearing loss and their family and friends. It provides information and support and puts them in contact with others who have similar experiences. It aims to give people the knowledge, skills, confidence and contacts so they can more easily manage the practical and emotional challenges that hearing loss brings. It works across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.