“The volunteers at Croydon Vision are patient, caring and understanding ” – Leona

Sue Ardley is part of the beating heart of Croydon Vision, when friends ask her whether volunteering here is depressing she responds with “It’s the day I laugh most during the week!”

“The atmosphere at Bedford Hall is wonderful. It’s more of a family than anything else; as one member recently said to me “I don’t know what I’d do without this place”. It’s humbling to help out somewhere that visually impaired people feel safe and stimulated, where sighted people are playfully referred to as ‘the odd ones out’!

The ethos at Croydon Vision is definitely independence rather than dependence. During lockdown we had two group conference calls each week with quizzes, poems and word games; the member-led sessions are always great and very interesting! During this time we’ve all become even closer through all the phone calls.

One volunteering highlight for me was an after-hours tour for visually impaired people of The Houses of Parliament. One member, Claire sat in The Speaker’s Chair and shouted “ORDER! ORDER!”, the tour guides told us even they weren’t allowed to do that. That’s Claire for you!

Another time I welcomed a member “It’s nice to see you Jean!” and she replied “It’s nice to half see you dear.” Volunteering here is really all about giving your time, caring and sharing a laugh.”