Two women have been recognised for their dedication to providing much needed support to blind and partially sighted people during the pandemic.
Carolyn Burke and Kay Saunders, who volunteer at sight loss charity Galloway’s, have been honoured with a Lancaster District CVS Volunteer Achievement Award. Their commitment was marked during an online ceremony as part of Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1st to 7th. The awards were in partnership with Lancaster City Council and Bay Health Partners (NHS).
Carolyn, of Lancaster, joined Galloway’s more than two years ago, making tea and coffee during the social groups at the centre in Morecambe. Over the past year, she has been making weekly welfare calls to a visually impaired gentleman to help him to feel less isolated during lockdown.
She said: "I was surprised as I didn't think I had done very much, but I am very pleased to have been nominated and to receive recognition.
“We both enjoy our chats in which we talk about things that have been happening in our own lives and the world. He gives me lots of gardening advice and takes an interest in my activities and I try to support him with any worries or concerns he may have."
“I really enjoy volunteering and it gives me pleasure to give something back and help where I can. I chose Galloway’s as my dad was losing his sight towards the end of his life and they were very supportive and helpful. Galloway’s gives a fantastic service to visually impaired people."
Kay, who lives in Morecambe and has glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, became a volunteer seven years ago after she received support.
She said: “I was absolutely thrilled to be able to do something for others whilst we have all been stuck at home. I have been hosting the Morecambe Get Together on the telephone and the group really appreciate it every week. There are a few people who are housebound who have said they really look forward to these chats every week, which is lovely.
“I enjoy meeting people and having these great friendships. It is nice to feel I can do something to pay Galloway’s back for everything they have done for me. This is something I can still do with sight loss as at times, you can feel limited as what you can do.
“I don’t feel I have done a lot but it is lovely to be appreciated with this recognition.”
Galloway’s has more than 240 volunteers and many have dedicated their time to ensuring visually impaired people do not feel forgotten during the pandemic. They have helped to host Talking Together activities over the telephone; made welfare calls; recorded the Talking News and the Galloway’s Get Together podcast; provided patient transport and helped with general maintenance.
Angie Turner, volunteer co-ordinator at Galloway’s, which supports blind and partially sighted people in Lancashire and Sefton, said: “We really do appreciate the dedication and loyalty of our wonderful volunteers. I am so proud of how they have remained committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people in whatever way they can this past year. They have cheered people up and provided a much needed distraction at a time when they have been feeling lonely and frustrated. So as part of Volunteers’ Week and beyond, I wish to thank you all.”
If anyone is interested in becoming volunteer for Galloway’s visit www.galloways.org.uk/volunteer or call Angie on 01772 744148.