Our SocialEyes Volunteers provide support to people with sight loss to enable them to enjoy social and leisure activities.
What can a SocialEyes Volunteer do?
A SocialEyes Volunteer can support you with anything from reading your post to getting out and about with confidence again. Often, we are asked to find a volunteer to enable somebody to enjoy a favourite hobby again. We’ve had requests for everything from tandem cycling and knitting to theatre trips!
We also have some SocialEyes Volunteers who support people over the phone on a short-term basis. Usually, these volunteers have experienced sight loss themselves.
You can read some examples of the kind of support people have asked for on our SocialEyes Volunteer Opportunities page.
Listen to our SocialEyes Stories to see how a volunteer could help you
We know that every person with sight loss has different needs. You may be very capable of getting out and about on your own; or you may need a guiding or reassuring arm to give you the confidence to get out and about, to use public transport or to access new environments.
We also understand that sight loss can be isolating. Not only is the outside world now a potentially frightening place, but people do not always know how to behave around someone who is blind or partially sighted. Our volunteers know that people are people, and want to get on with their lives.
“My volunteer makes me feel connected to the world again”
If you are feeling isolated, or there’s just something you really want to do that you need a helping hand with, a volunteer may be able to make a difference for you. Listen to our SocialEyes Stories to hear from some of our existing SocialEyes partnerships…
Take a look at some of our SocialEyes requests…
In these next videos, Frankie and Vicky talk about what they would like to do and how a SocialEyes Volunteer could help them. You can find more examples of the kind of support people have asked for on our SocialEyes Volunteer Opportunities page.
How do I ask for a SocialEyes Volunteer?
If you decide you would like to request a SocialEyes Volunteer for yourself or someone else (with their consent), you just need to contact our office and ask about the SocialEyes service. You will be referred to your local Sight Loss Advisor who will arrange a visit to discuss your needs and how a SocialEyes Volunteer may be of benefit to you.
What happens next?
It can take anything from a few weeks to a few months to find someone for you because we take care to match people live close to one another and who have similar interests. We want to make sure that the partnership will be both enjoyable and sustainable for both of you!
Once we find somebody who we think would be a good match, we will get in touch to arrange an introductory meeting with both of you and the Volunteer Coordinator. You are welcome to have a family member present if you wish. If you are then happy that you want to go ahead, you will both be good to go!
We will keep in contact with you and your volunteer to ensure you are both happy with the partnership and to offer any other help or advice if needed.
What training and background checks do your SocialEyes Volunteers do?
All of our SocialEyes Volunteers go through our induction training process before being matched with someone. We take references and complete an enhanced DBS check (i.e. a criminal record check). They then attend our Induction and Sight Loss Awareness course to help them to understand different sight problems, ways in which they can help and how to guide someone.
How often would we meet?
As with the activities you do, how often you meet is entirely up to you and your volunteer. We have set up partnerships for people who have wanted to spend everything from a couple of hours a week together to a day once every four to six weeks.
What will a SocialEyes Volunteer not do?
Our SocialEyes Volunteers do not provide ‘services’ such as personal care, gardening or cleaning. They are there to provide companionship and to support you in overcoming some of the challenges your sight loss might create for you.
Does it cost anything?
It doesn’t cost anything to be matched with a SocialEyes Volunteer and we will cover the cost of your volunteer’s travel to and from your home. However, if you wish to get out and about with your volunteer, we ask that you cover any further costs yourself.
Do I need to be registered as blind or partially sighted?
You do not need to be registered blind or partially sighted to request a SocialEyes Volunteer.
How do I find out more?
You can find out more about our SocialEyes Volunteering service simply by visiting Contact Us or telephoning our office on 01905 723245 and asking to speak to our Volunteer Coordinator.
I want to volunteer!
We are always looking for more volunteers to support others in their local community! To find out more about volunteering in general, go to the ‘Volunteering’ section of our website, or to see who needs a volunteer in your area, go to our SocialEyes Volunteer Opportunities page.
The SocialEyes volunteering service has been made possible thanks to funding from both Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and National Lottery players.
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