Sight loss charity seeks hospital volunteers at Ilkeston and in Ripley

Published on: Saturday, 27th August 2016

A local sight loss charity is seeking volunteers to be a friendly and reassuring point of contact in hospital eye clinics in the county.

Sight Support Derbyshire need people who can volunteer in the eye clinics at Ripley and Ilkeston hospitals for a few hours a week, offering support and information to patients, family members or carers who are facing the daily challenges of living with low vision.

Lynne Smitheringale, Volunteer Manager for Sight Support Derbyshire, said: “Our hospital volunteers are there at a very critical time in someone’s life. Losing your sight has been described as like falling off a cliff, and they are there to give practical information and give people the opportunity to talk.

“They are part of Sight Support Derbyshire’s wider hospital service which has Eye Clinic Liaison Officers based in Derby and Chesterfield hospitals. Very often they are the first people patients meet from our charity, and we are very proud to be able to offer this timely support. Many people in the country don’t have access to this service. If you love meeting people, you’re a good listener and you have a few hours a week to give, you could help make a real difference.”

Volunteers at Ilkeston Community Hospital are needed for Monday afternoons from 1pm to 4.30pm, and at Ripley Hospital on a Tuesday or Wednesday from 9am to 12.30pm. Volunteers will receive full training and although they will be working independently, they will be supported by a member of Sight Support Derbyshire staff.

Muna Moghal, who volunteers in the Eye Clinic at Royal Derby Hospital, said: “I have been volunteering for over five years and love being able to give support to people when they are often at their most vulnerable.  A quiet room and a friendly atmosphere gives the opportunity to listen, talk and discuss options which may encourage them to take control of their daily challenges rather than allowing their low vision to dictate how they live their lives. I find it very rewarding and it is my way of giving back to the community. I look forward to my volunteer day and I love every minute of it.”

Anyone who is interested in finding out more can contact Lynne Smitheringale on 01332 292262 for a non-committal chat, or email volunteering(at)sightsupportderbyshire.org.uk.

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