1st February 2020, NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) is looking for volunteers across the country to join its Connection Network service. This service is a free, confidential and befriending service led by trained volunteers who make weekly phone calls to those service users who experience isolation. This service is in response to the reality that during Covid19, our service users said that isolation, loneliness and emotional support were areas that needed attention.
Beatrice Bowers, NCBI Community Resource Worker said: “This service offers an opportunity to increase the social network of our service users, reduce loneliness, share worries or concerns and increase a sense of community among people with sight loss and NCBI. It also allows them to re-engage with NCBI services if they wish. We have seen an increase in the general welbeing of those who have already availed of this service this is why we are hoping to expand our network of volunteers.”
All volunteers will be fully trained and supported by the NCBI services team. It couldn’t be easier to get involved and calls will be made via the BlueFace App. This app enables calls to be made free of charge and an account will be set up for you when you begin volunteering. Volunteers will not be asked to give their personal phone numbers to the service users they call.
Antoinette Burke, Connection Network Volunteer said “Volunteering with NCBI has been an enriching experience as I have been afforded the opportunity to have very positive and engaging interactions with clients of the service. It has certainly given me a greater insight and understanding of the challenges they experience which is something that makes me stop and think. It is a vital service that goes a long way to combat isolation and loneliness for the client. If you are able to build up a good rapport with the client, you can certainly make a difference which is ultimately the feel good factor of being a volunteer.
If you are interested in volunteering for the NCBI Connection Network, please contact [email protected]
For further information, please contact June Tinsley, Head of Communications on 01 8821917 or 087 9955076.
Notes to Editor
NCBI is the national sight loss organisation, working for people with sight loss.
We provide practical and emotional support, rehabilitation services and other training designed to help people with sight loss to live independently and confidently.
- Emotional support and counselling for people struggling to come to terms with sight loss.
- Rehabilitation training, including independent living skills and mobility training, which may include using a long cane. Loss of independence is the biggest issue facing people – NCBI gives back independence and builds confidence.
- Advice and information.
- Low vision solutions, such as magnifiers and other aids.
- Assistive technology advice and training to learn how to access all accessibility features in mainstream technology as well as latest gadgets and Apps all designed to assist people living with sight loss.
- Library – large-print, Braille and audio books – giving back the joy of reading.
- Employment advice.
As a charity NCBI must raise €3 million annually just to keep operating at current levels that equates to €4 out of every €10 we spend on vital services.