Mobility Volunteer at ESAB

2015_ESAB_Christine BassettBy 2011, I had been working full-time for more years than I care to remember and, sadly, the agency where I worked  closed down.  I wasn’t ready to completely stop working, so I thought I would volunteer. As I had also been working with two former staff members from East Sussex Association of Blind & Partially Sighted People (ESAB) who said they had enjoyed their time, I put my name forward to volunteer there.

At present I volunteer for the Senior Mobility Co-ordinator at ESAB in Hailsham twice a week.  The role mainly involves opening client referrals for those who have been recently registered as blind or sight impaired, completing the referral form from the hospital notes and passing to the Co-ordinator to contact the client to determine if they need a visit to help them with mobility around the home. Other tasks involve typing up the Co-ordinator’s notes from mobility and orientation training sessions, entering information on spreadsheets and updating the database.

I also arrange the transport for the Bexhill Social Group who meet once a month. Members are collected from their homes by volunteer drivers and meet at a local church hall. Occasionally they are taken out to lunch, too.  I pick up three members and take them to the meetings in Bexhill. It’s good to see the members enjoying their afternoon out as for many it is their only outing.  It’s an enjoyable afternoon and I haven’t dropped any tea trays yet!

Before volunteering I had always worked in offices – first with a London publisher, then with Sussex Downs College for twenty years, followed by working in the payroll and personnel department of a very large local motor dealership, then with a charity who worked to help people with health or mobility problems stay in their own homes.

My best friend is the secretary of a very large Eastbourne choir and I help her with maintaining the large collection of music (collating and keeping a record of where the music is, etc.) and I am also “on the door” at their concerts, but not as a bouncer I hasten to add! I also have a large garden which keeps me busy.

I enjoy volunteering because it gives me a purpose, a sense of achievement and it is good to be amongst such friendly people, too.  Volunteering is a two way process: I give my time and in return I’m pleased to say volunteering  gives me great satisfaction.

Ian McDonald, ESAB Volunteer Co-ordinator said:

“Since she started volunteering for ESAB, Christine has made many friends. She is everything you could wish for in a volunteer and we always say if we could clone Christine and create 10 more just like her, we would be more than happy!”