“Are you doing anything with your life that makes you feel great?  If not, volunteer!  It’s a great feeling to make somebody else feel better too.”

Those are the words of Julia Kulik ( Main Image ), who recently began volunteering with local charity Visibility after retiring from her work as a carer.

Julia said:  “I had just retired and I was looking for something to keep me going.  Volunteering helps me keep track of the days of the week and when supporting someone I feel as if I have not wasted a day.”

Visibility is a charity that has been supporting people living with sight loss throughout the west of Scotland since 1859.  In Dumfries and Galloway, the charity’s Out & About project helps people across the region to live full, confident and independent lives.  Staff and volunteers receive training to help those with sensory loss – sight and/or hearing loss.

Julia said:  “I feel really supported in my role.  I know that if I have a question, I can pick up the phone and get the advice or answers I need.
“The process of becoming a volunteer was a smooth one, and I found the training beneficial as it not only gave me the confidence and skills to support someone living with sensory loss, but it also helped refresh my memory on various aspects of how to support someone in their day-to-day life.”

Visibility urgently needs more  volunteers to help support its ‘Out and About’ service across Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale.

Allison McCourt, volunteer coordinator at Visibility, said:  “Volunteers help Visibility to reduce the isolation often experienced by people living with sensory impairment by supporting them to get out and about locally. People tell Visibility  that volunteers helps to build their confidence and makes them feel less lonely.

“Small amounts of your time can make a huge difference in someone’s life.  And helping someone to take the smallest of steps can bring the biggest smiles.”
Having found her role so rewarding, Julia now supports two people regularly.  She added:  “It takes time to get to know the person you are supporting, but the joy and benefit both people receive is immense.
“Showing up for the support when you said you would be there is very important, along with listening to the person and helping them to grow in confidence where you can.
“It’s having the company to go that short walk or out into the garden or for a coffee and chat that the person enjoys.  It’s the small things that matter.”

One person who has benefited from support from Visibility is 41 year-old Morag Faichney.  She spoke of the dark days that followed her diagnosis as partially sighted in November 2016, and urged people living with sight loss across Dumfries & Galloway to “inspire” each other after meeting others in the same boat helped her come to terms with living life as a visually impaired person.


“At that time, I thought my life was over,” she confessed.
“All I could think was; I can’t see, I can’t work, I can’t pay my bills.  I can’t, I can’t, I can’t… I was grieving really, for my old life and for my sight.  One day I was able to see a bit and was hopeful that the right procedure would improve things, and then the next, that was all taken away.  I was angry.  I thought surely there’s something else that can be done?
“Visibility showed me some software that could help with my work and I began to feel maybe this wasn’t the end of the world.  There was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’d been focusing so much on what I couldn’t do, Visibility helped me see there was still so much I could do or could learn and adjust to.”
She added:  “It’s all about those small victories.  For me, that was a 15 minute round trip to the shops on my own.  I know this’ll sound really daft, but I was absolutely buzzing when I got home.  And after overcoming that hurdle, all I could think now was: ‘What challenge can I overcome next’.”

Helping someone regain their confidence and take those first steps towards independence is every bit as challenging as it is rewarding.  But if you have an hour to spare each week, Visibility would love to hear from you as it urgently needs more  volunteers to help support its ‘Out and About’ service across Nithsdale and Annandale and Eskdale.  Visibility will provide and support you with free training, offer you hours to suit you and of course, will pay your out of pocket expenses.

If you would like to volunteer, or if you are living with sensory loss and would like to find out more about the service offered by Visibility, we would love to hear from you!  Please get in touch with  Allison on:

Telephone – 01387 267131     Text – 07825162774    Email – [email protected]

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