Norfolk Deaf Association (NDA) is appealing for volunteers for its Befriending and Hearing Support Services, particularly in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and throughout North Norfolk and South Norfolk.
NDA’s Hearing Support Service offers home visits, as well as a mobile clinic comprising a minibus, which visits 28 towns and villages throughout Norfolk. There are also nearly 100 community clinics most of which are for residents at nursing homes and sheltered schemes, but some are open to the general public. Volunteers are the life-blood of the service, looking after more than 6,000 service users a year.
|John, volunteer on the NDA mobile clinic, helps service user Mary|
Pam Spicer, Co-ordinator of the Hearing Support Service explained: “We are very busy with lots of referrals and demand for new community clinics. We would like to add to our very dedicated group of volunteers. For both services we offer three days extensive initial training and then ongoing training and support. We also have social gatherings where volunteers can get to know each other. Both volunteers and the people they are helping find their involvement with NDA very rewarding.”
John has been a NDA volunteer for seven years, working on the mobile clinic two days a month. “I have had a hearing aid for 12 years and derive great satisfaction from being able to help people in a similar condition to me. Being able assist people out in the county where they live can make a real difference. There’s a practical side to the work, replacing tubes, helping fit ear moulds correctly and replacing batteries. But it’s also about giving people confidence and encouraging them to use their hearing aid properly.”
Mary visits the mobile clinic at either Hickling or Stalham: “I visit every two months to get new batteries. It’s brilliant, the NDA volunteers are very helpful answering all my questions.”
|Maria, NDA volunteer, with Vera her befriendee|
“I’ve been a volunteer for six years,” explained Maria. “It is very rewarding. I can recommend it to anyone. I work on the mobile clinics at Acle, Brundall and Poringland and also visit local sheltered housing and nursing homes. I’ve also assisted three ‘friends’. I learn so much from my befriendees. We reminisce about the past and generally put the world to rights and its wonderful when I see their confidence grow.”
Maria has befriended Vera (93), who lives with her daughter Avril in Norwich. “I visit Vera once a week for two hours, said Maria. “We plan our diary in advance and are also in touch on the phone if visits need to be rearranged.”
Vera said: “Avril, my daughter, found out about the NDA Befriending Service from Age UK. Maria has been a real lifesaver. She helped me get a NHS hearing aid, then made sure I could fit it properly; she always checks it on every visit. We chat about lots of things, different topics every week. I really like Strictly Come Dancing and we go through the Strictly book some visits discussing the costumes and the performers. Maria has been wonderful for me.”
For more information about the Hearing Support and Befriending Services and volunteering for NDA contact Pam Spicer, Co-ordinator Norfolk Hearing Support Service, firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01603 404440 (voice/minicom). For locations of mobile and static Hearing Support Service clinics see www.norfolkdeaf.org.uk.