I realised one day that I had a little more time on my hands and I wanted to in some way to help others, at that point I was not sure how or what I could do to help others as this was to be my first ever experience of this type of activity.
Both my sons had flown nest and were more occupied with their own careers and forming their own lives, although still seeing them on a regular basis there was no longer the same demand on Dad’s Taxis! So I set about finding something useful to do with my spare time.
I trawled the local papers and internet looking for volunteer work and worthwhile charities, I eventually narrowed my choice down two or three options all of which were well worth charities with a local focus.
When I first contacted Milton Keynes Reader Service, I was immediately met by a very enthusiastic and bubbly co-ordinator who was so keen to tell me about all the good work that the MKRS does for local people.
I could not help but be enticed by that warm enthusiasm for the charity and of course many of you will know I am referring to Karen, the MKRS co-ordinator.
By chance I had made contact with Karen just a few weeks before the next volunteer training day in July, so I was duly invited to attend, so I decided to take a day’s holiday from work to explore further.
I did not really know what to expect of the day, but I was pleasantly surprised it was such a very well structured and organised training day; I really enjoyed the day and met such a great bunch of kind and caring people. It was very interesting and informative and for someone who had virtually no knowledge of blindness and the visually impaired I leant a great deal; whilst I still have a great deal more to learn it provided me with the background and basic understanding to build on.
By the end of the first training day, I had made my mind up that this was the charity and service I wanted to be part of; the training day had fired up my enthusiasm to be part of MKRS.
I attended another two-hour training session, this was followed by the mandatory CRB (criminal records bureau) check and personal character reference were obtained, so I was now ready to be matched with a service user.
One of my many interests is football (albeit the MK Dons!) and Karen knew of a visually impaired gentleman, who was keen to have a his football magazine read to him, I have now been reading with him for the past 12 weeks and I can report that it is a fun and very enjoyable reading session we have together and I look forward to our meetings.
I have also started to read for a lady who is very active on local user groups and committee’s representing the visually impaired, our main focus is reading local newspapers with a special interest in current local news and issues.
My advice for any one interested in either volunteering or using the services of MKRS is to contact Karen at MKRS, you will not be disappointed.