Category Archives: Personal stories

Carla Jones

My name is Carla Jones , I am sixty eight years old and I am living independently in an Extra Care village.

I have been using the Reader Service for six years since my stroke in 2008 after which I was left with limited sight. Since then the Reader Service has changed my life.

I have a reader, once a week, who helps me with my post and any writing I may need. I also have someone to take me shopping every other week. I am even able to go on visits to the theatre which are also organised by the Reader Service.

Thanks to the Reader Service I can enjoy a normal life and feel more independent. From time to time the Reader Service organises “get togethers” which enable me to socialise with other people in a similar situation which has also increased my friendship circle.

For me the Reader Service is an invaluable lifeline and I am immensely grateful for the support it offers and consider myself very fortunate for the help they provide.


Steve Neale


“I have been a member of the Milton Keynes Reader Service for a long time. The service is a lifeline in keeping me informed. My volunteer assists me with my post which is a real help in my everyday life. My volunteer helps to develop my main hobbies of music (both playing and listening) and poetry. The MKRS also has lots of social events where both volunteers and service users can meet up. I find these events a particularly enjoyable part of being a member of the Milton Keynes Reader Service.”

Steve Neale

Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence

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.

John Hearn

John Hearn

“The need to read”

by John Hearn

When I lost my vision
I thought my life was at an end.
I had lost one of the senses
On which we all depend.
A friend told me of a service
Which may be of use to me.
People who were trained to help
Those who couldn’t see!
I met Karen and I fell in love
As my eyes were opened wide
To the MK Reader Service
And the help they could provide.
I could have someone who’d come shopping
And tell me colour, price and size.
They wouldn’t be there for themselves.
They were there to be my eyes!
I could have another person
Who would come and read to me
The post, a book, a magazine
Or just what was on TV.
I found it quite amazing
Could not believe my ears
None of these people got a penny
All done by volunteers!
Karen and the MK Reader Service
Are a real gift from above.
I may have lost my vision
But they will never lose my love.

Anluise Hamilton-Bruce

Anluise Hamilton-Bruce

Anluise Hamilton-Bruce

When I joined MKRS I had originally been searching for voluntary work helping children to read and write. However there were no vacancies in that work at the time and it was suggested that I may like to join MKRS.

After the usual CRB application I commenced my voluntary work with two clients who needed assistance shopping. I am still happily shopping, once on Monday morning with a very nice and totally unsighted men who gets around the supermarket in 1/2 hour flat, and with a lovely lady who enjoys shopping in different supermarkets and testing new foods. We always end up with unpacking her shopping and enjoying a cup of tea before I set off home.

Another regular client likes me to attend seminars with her. This is sometimes a whole day job but always very enjoyable. My task on these days is to guide, make notes and generally ensure that my client is happy and I always look forward to these days.

Apart from the regular ‘day jobs’ I have also been fortunate enough to accompany a client to an opera – La Traviata – which was wonderful. I went to Sight Village in Birmingham with a number of unsighted and partially sighted people from Lovat Fields Village and was guide for my Monday shopping man. This was a very interesting day and I came home with lots of leaflets and literature, much of which I gave to our esteemed co-ordinator Karen Preece. I have also attended meetings at Lovat Fields Village which are specifically for the sight impaired residents of the village and been tea and coffee maker at the MKRS Coffee Mornings which are held at Age UK in Peartree Bridge.

My newest task has been to accompany a lady on walks. This lady is anticipating the arrival of a guide dog and is trying to establish routes for herself and her dog. I am looking forward to going again as the exercise is great!

All in all I can say I am very happy doing my voluntary work for MKRS and will continue as long as I am able. I must add that Karen – our co-ordinator – is so full of enthusiasm in her work that it makes the service providers work a very easy and happy task.

Anluise Hamilton-Bruce