Audrey Ward is Visibility's Information worker, and dedicated Visual Impairment Awareness Trainer. She describes her role as "Varied, Busy and Satisfying" – let’s find out why!
There is no 'typical day' for Audrey, but she can often be found answering information calls, signposting onto other agencies, and referring people to other external services and projects within Visibility. Whether on the phone or face to face at an event, she is a great listener and offers emotional support to people with visual impairments, their families, carers and professionals.
This week Audrey is preparing the final details for a couple of information events happening in September. The first being in Motherwell on the 6th of September, and the second in Hamilton on the 13th of September. For every event, Audrey contacts representatives from other local services and organisations to attend, in order to create a welcoming and informative atmosphere for guests. She also runs monthly peer support groups - of which there are 18 a year, stretching from Oban to Glasgow! Finding speakers for the groups is an important task, and often dictated by the interests of the group. Previous speakers have included Home Energy , Welfare Rights, Trading Standers, National Trust, Community Fire and Police, Aids and equipment demonstrations, - if you would be interested in speaking to one of the peer support groups about your organisation, let Audrey know by calling her on 0141 332 4632.
Taking part in Visual Impairment Awareness training is a great asset for any organisation, as Audrey and her team teach staff and volunteers about visual impairment, give them useful guiding skills, and offer advice which they can use to make the environment a more VI friendly place. This year Audrey has worked alongside Intu Braehead Shopping Centre to help them train up volunteer guides, to improve the shopping experience for VI customers. She has also trained NHS staff in various hospitals across Glasgow, to give them an insight into what it might be like to be a patient with sight loss, and how they can best deal with different situations in a hospital environment.
Audrey has a busy schedule, but even during her lunch hour she is working hard - at the gym! She loves to keep fit and says that one of her greatest achievements during her time at Visibility was running a 10K for the charity with her colleague Anne, in 1 hour 15 minutes, between them raising £500! It’s not all about the money though, there are many rewarding moments in her role as the information worker.
Audrey says "I was at a Visibility info event last year and spoke with a lady who had just been diagnosed. I showed her husband how to guide his wife properly, and to stop pulling her about. I told her a little about myself and gave her contact numbers of local VI team... Months later she called to say thank you. She said that my story, and what I'm doing now, inspired her to carry on working and to learn new skills. She said she still goes hill walking, which is something she thought would have to stop." It's great to hear people's success stories and so worthwhile when I hear things like "thank you, Visibility has helped me so much, I can now breathe again." It's comments like that, which make me realise the difference we make as a charity, and the difference I can make, just by taking the time to listen and chat with people.
Want to know more about any of the services Audrey is involved with? Call her on 0141 332 4632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll be in touch!