Eleanor Craik is an NDCS Volunteer. In this second instalment of her two-part blog, she tells us about how volunteering takes her to the edge
This year, I went to Litchfield for another jam-packed adventure week. Armed with more BSL knowledge than I’ve ever had before more confidence and assurance having worked with children for the past two years.
I absolutely loved it.
Meeting new volunteers soon perked me up and made me feel welcome. There were so many lovely volunteers that I hadn’t met before at Lichfield and I soon felt at home. When the children arrived it was manic, 36 children to supervise! We all settled into the week routine rather quickly. I had 12 children in my particular group and we also had the lovely Wish who was a communicator. Together we made THE best group.
During the week I was ambushed (sorry, should that be supported..) into doing the high zipwire after promising a young boy who was terrified that I’d do it if he did. Of course he would do it (and loved it!). There’s nothing like being between a rock and a hard place and I was well and truly.
Residentials are hard work. They are long days, as you’re expected to wake the children up (and be ready yourself before then), support them throughout the day, even when their energy continues at 100% right the way till bedtime. Then, at bedtime, they need to be going to sleep. The amount of silly little things that crop up at 10.30pm, from nightlights to noise – the child that seems to get out of bed to complain countless times. All before you can have the team meeting to discuss your day and then at last you can crawl into bed. And I love every minute.
One thing I really, really liked about this NDCS event was that wherever you were, if you were talking to someone and you didn’t quite hear them there would always be a communicator conveniently nearby who would randomly start interpreting them for you. I didn’t realise how much I appreciated that until I got home, sat down with my family and remembered how much concentration it takes to listen, to block out the loud TV blaring away and piece together the conversation topic first before anything else.
At the end of the residential, my team leader asked to chat with me. Initially I didn’t want to; usually chatting with me indicates I’m in trouble, that I’ve done something wrong somewhere down the line. But I bit the bullet and went for it. He had nothing but positive words for me, how I’d matured as a volunteer etc. Honestly, I felt like crying because I’d worked so hard, that I’d still had thoughts every morning when I woke up that I wanted to go home, that my family needed me, that I wanted to sit in a quiet room and listen to Jakob Dylan on loop.
Eleanor works several different jobs caring for disabled children. She likes subtitled films and ranting about any cinema that doesn’t provide them!! You can see her rants and raves on her shared blog with her best friend Imogene: http://a-subtitled-life.blogspot.co.uk/
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s independent deaf news and deaf blogs website! Check out our supporters:
Deaf Umbrella – Sign language communications provider, including BSL interpreters
121 Captions – captioning and speech-to-text services
Signworld – online BSL learning and teaching materials
STAGETEXT – Charity providing theatre captioning – giving you every word of a play
Bee Communications – Remote Captioning – providing text-based access wherever you are
Krazy Kat – live visual theatre combining mime, dance, song, puppets and sign language
SignHealth – The healthcare charity for Deaf people
Deafinitely Theatre – theatre from a Deaf perspective
Signed Performances in Theatre – sign language interpreted plays and musicals
Lipspeaker UK – specialist lipspeaking support
SDHH – Deaf television programmes online
Sign Solutions – language learning and communications
Lexicon Signstream – BSL interpreting and communication services
Action Deafness Communications – sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton – education for Deaf children
RAD Deaf Law Centre – Providing legal advice for Deaf people – in BSL
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to make Live Automated Captions with Apple’s Latest 'Clips' App
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people