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Volunteer case study - Rod Sparkes (radio distributor)

Rod Sparkes has been volunteering with BWBF for four years, helping us distribute our sets to blind and partially sighted people.

Rod Sparkes demonstrating one of our Sonata sets
Rod Sparkes demonstrating one of our Sonata sets

Rod first got involved with BWBF in January 2012 after an AGM of Devon in Sight the previous year and says it’s been awe-inspiring.

He recalls his initial training session where he and some fellow volunteers learned not only how to use the radios and any challenges they might encounter, but also hearing about the differing levels of vision people he would be meeting may have and how to respond to them.

Rod says he decided to join us as he was already a volunteer with Devon in Sight, meeting with visually impaired people in their own homes, and adding the radio installation to what he was doing seemed the right move.

“As somebody who values the range of programmes available on the radio I can appreciate the frustration that could be felt if one cannot easily find the programme they want,” he said.

“Every home visit is different – every client has a different story and delivering a radio is not just a case of drop off, set up and depart.

“To enable them to get the best from the chosen radio, it’s important to get to know something of the recipient.”

Rod says becoming a volunteer has meant he has been able to learn how different people cope with their visual impairments and his first visit was awe-inspiring.

He also says it is very rewarding when you are able to make a difference to a blind or partially sighted person.

He said: “A radio is capable of bringing not only a voice into the home, but the whole world.

“For somebody who has lost not only their sight but also possibly their independence and ability to travel, a radio can take you to the theatre, out into the countryside and around the world as well as bring the local community to your chair side table.

“Why would anyone not want to be part of enabling a person to engage with the community outside their own four walls?”



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