It’s Volunteer Week this week, and one volunteer, Keith Corbett has revealed why his volunteer work for UK hearing loss charity Hearing Link is so close to his heart.
Keith, 59, from Sale in Greater Manchester, is a volunteer Helpdesk Responder for Hearing Link and uses his personal experiences of hearing loss to help others.
He has supported more than 100 people living with the challenges of hearing loss since September last year.
Keith’s role is to answer email enquiries made to the charity’s national Helpdesk by individuals and families looking for information and support in managing hearing loss. Keith offers factual information and shares personal insight based on his own wealth of knowledge.
Keith experienced profound hearing loss aged 25 as a result of Meningitis. He spent a year in hospital recovering from the illness and was so poorly he even had to learn to walk again.
Keith’s hearing loss was permanent and it was devastating for him. After leaving hospital, he made contact with Hearing Link – then known as The LINK Centre for Deafened People.
He was given the chance to attend the charity’s Intensive Rehabilitation Programme, a specialist five-day course that helps people with profound hearing loss and their families, to redefine their lives.
The experience transformed Keith’s life. He said: “Losing my hearing overnight was a frightening experience and I felt completely isolated. I felt it was me against the world. At the Intensive rehabilitation Programme I met others who were in the same situation as me and we had shared experiences which no one who this has not happened to will fully understand. This unique programme helped re-build my confidence and the on-going support was second to none.”
Inspired by the support he had received, Keith went on to become a Hearing Link volunteer.
Keith said: “I have been involved in various volunteer roles with Hearing Link over the years and I find it greatly rewarding. Currently I am a Helpdesk Responder and it is really gratifying to be able to pass on and share the things I have learnt and the experiences I have had to help others adjust and manage. Any level of hearing loss brings challenges and it really helps to be able to receive the right information and support at the right time.”
Dr Lorraine Gailey, Chief Executive of Hearing Link, said: “Volunteers play a crucial role in Hearing Link. Their input, skills, knowledge and experience help us to make important and lasting differences to large numbers of people across the UK. Keith has provided support to more than 100 people through his role as a Helpdesk Responder, which illustrates the important impact a single volunteer can have. Keith’s contribution is key for ensuring our Helpdesk can work with people to help them find the information and support they need.”
This year is the 30th Volunteer Week held in the UK. To mark the occasion, Hearing Link is keen to recruit 30 new volunteers to support on-going growth in demand for the charity’s services.
To find out more about volunteering roles at Hearing Link, visit www.hearinglink.org/volunteer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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