Avril retired from her job at the University of Oxford when COVID first hit the UK. When she was scrolling through Facebook shortly after, she stumbled upon a post from our organisation asking for volunteers to join the Befriending Program and it piqued her interest.
Visual Impairment has played a large role in Avril’s life. Her mother had glaucoma which caused her to lose her sight completely, and Avril herself was diagnosed with the condition about 30 years ago. Avril said, “I have an understanding of the issues surrounding visual impairment. Thankfully, because of the treatments and care I have received from the staff at the Eye Hospital over the years, the condition has not affected my sight. I decided that I wanted to help others who are visually impaired, so I applied to become a Volunteer Befriender.
When she first started as a befriender, Avril said, “I was a little nervous and not sure if I could help. My client had only recently lost her sight and was finding it difficult to come to terms with it. Over the weeks we built up a strong relationship and I could tell she was becoming more confident. I had been asked to take her out for a walk each week and gradually we started going further afield.”
“I feel privileged that I have been able to help her, and I have gained so much from her; I look forward to our weekly walks.”
Initially, Avril focused entirely on our Befriending Service, however, she said, “after I went along to the walk at Farmoor Reservoir (a MyVision community walk held in the autumn of 2022) and met many more people involved with the charity, I realised there was a lot more I could do to help.” Avril then joined our Fundraising Committee and helped with our tandem cycling event in April. She was a big help at the event and took some amazing photos of the action. She has also helped at our Sight Desk in the Oxford Eye Hospital, and she recently started to help us set up and manage our eBay page.
“I feel that MyVision is a very caring and supportive organisation. Whenever I have visited Bradbury Lodge the overall atmosphere is always very positive. The staff are always very welcoming to volunteers and clients. I cannot imagine volunteering for any other charity now that I have spent a year with MyVision,” said Avril.