The County Durham Society for the Blind and Partially Sighted provide free services to blind and partially sighted people across County Durham. Currently these include befriending, telephone support, talking newspapers, computer mentoring, information, driver/escorts, support groups, resource centre, equipment loan. We are a registered charity, founded in 1987, working throughout County Durham with the exception of Darlington. The Society is managed by a Committee of trustees, the majority of whom have sight loss themselves and are service users.
1. Driver Escort – volunteer drivers use their own cars to take visually impaired clients to and from their eye clinic appointments at hospitals in County Durham, Newcastle, Teeside and Hartlepool. Drivers also deliver equipment to and collect equipment from client’s homes. Own car essential, as is full driving licence.
2. Home Visitor – volunteer befrienders visit visually impaired clients in their own homes to offer social support and reduce isolation. Volunteers may read mail, have a chat, take clients for a walk or shopping. Empathy and good listening skills essential.
3. Talking Newspaper – volunteers read selected articles once a fortnight to be recorded onto audio cassette and cd. Reading takes place on a Wednesday morning one week and a Thursday morning the next. Clear reading voice required.
4. VIAT volunteers – volunteers are trained to work alongside visually impaired volunteers to raise awareness of visual impairment issues and deliver training in the community.
5. Fundraisers – fundraising volunteers are required to help at ad-hoc events such as store bag packs, tombolas, street collections and coffee mornings amongst others. Collection boxes in stores in and around Durham City need emptying on a regular basis.
Volunteers will learn about aspects of visual impairment and how it affects people’s lives.
Volunteers will attend a day’s training course and will learn about health and safety, equal opportunities, safeguarding, confidentiality and best practice in volunteering.
Volunteers will gain experience of working with someone with a sensory impairment and how to relate to the issues that affect them.
Volunteers will learn how to work as part of a team.