VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL, JADE
Before I came to volunteer for Vision4Growth in their office, I was too nervous to apply for any office work as I lacked the confidence to put myself forward.
Since meeting Fiona and working at Vision4Growth over the past four months it has opened up opportunities for me and given me the confidence I need to go further with my future career plans.
It feels great to be able to help at Vision4Growth and I feel like I settled in very well while I was volunteering, it has been so lovely to be around such inspiring people.
Not only did I gain experience in an office environment, I had the chance to help a good charity to do good things.
VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL, HARSHADHA
I thoroughly enjoyed my first Speed of Sound show as co-host with Fiona. It was exciting to be trusted with the responsibility of piecing together some of the interview content for the programme. My team are very supportive: they are receptive to my ideas and provide a wonderful environment for me to grow as a journalist. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys talking about sport and fancies meeting some like-minded, enthusiastic people.
VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL, DOMINEE
I’ve been involved with Vision 4 Growth and the VI Tennis sessions which they run at Hills Road Sports Centre for about 3 years. I volunteer – usually helping to umpire a match or play as part of a VI / sighted doubles game.
I’m a keen tennis player myself, and was delighted to find out about VI Tennis through a Disability Sports Day run by Cambridge City Council. Fiona and Alex were just starting to set up the regular sessions then, and over the years I’ve seen how much hard work and commitment they’ve put in. Tennis has benefits for everyone who plays – not just in terms of health and exercise, but it is a great social game and a very positive thing to do. Given the difficulties many visually impaired people face in finding employment or participating in sports, it’s just great to be able to play a small part in making tennis possible for them. At the VI Tennis everyone can play at their own level, receive appropriate coaching, and take part in matches and occasionally tournaments which allow them to test their skills against others.
Alex has good coaching skills and mixes drills and advice with fun sessions and general play. Fiona does a great job assisting him ( especially in coaching the B1s) and in helping to put on the annual tournament. Several of the players ( in particular B1s) have achieved national success, and all the participants have steadily improved and got more pleasure out of the game as they do so.
It is also good to see the VI Tennis running alongside mainstream tennis on the other courts, raising awareness, and mixing disabled sport with mainstream. Personally, I’ve had a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from being involved and have learnt a bit about the practicalities of day to day life with visual impairment.
VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL, BUKET
My name is Buket Akbas. I was a volunteer for Vision 4 Growth, since August 2014. I was a full time mother before met Fiona last year. She is an inspiration to a lot of people.
I had some accounts and administration experience and I started to help Vision 4 Growth with grant applications. I was also involved in some great projects such as the Lowewood Museum Memory Box Project and the Friends of Cedar Park Project.
I gained back my confidence after my career break for 5 years and I started looking for a part time job. Following a verbal reference from Fiona, I started working as a temp in a local construction company. After a month, I was offered a permanent role as an accounts assistant.
I am so happy and grateful to the Vision 4 Growth family and Fiona, giving me the chance to be part of this great organisation.
VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL, KITTY
I have only been helping out with visually impaired tennis for a year, but I have loved it all and am definitely planning on continuing until I leave for university! As a sighted volunteer, my main roles include being a ball girl, guiding people around the courts and feeding people balls for them to practise their returns. However, I have also recently started to learn how to umpire and keep score for the matches and, although I am not yet very good at this (and am often helped out by the players themselves!), I feel I am gradually getting more confident. I do also get the chance to play some tennis, which is great, as it is wonderful to have the chance to get some exercise whilst also helping others out.
This week, we had a change of system, where, instead of having two groups during the session (one for people playing B1 or blind tennis, and one for those playing visually impaired tennis), we had two separate sessions specifically tailored to each of the groups. I think this was really helpful, as it gave the players more of a chance to focus particularly on the skills that they needed to improve, and the coaches a better opportunity to help them to do this. It also meant that the sports hall was quieter, as there were fewer games happening at the same time, which is really useful for a sport that relies upon sound for players to locate the ball.
Helping out with visually impaired tennis has been a wonderful experience, and has even helped me with my Extended Project at school, which is entitled “How losing your sight affects your brain”. As part of the research for this, I had great fun having a go at playing blind tennis myself, with a blindfold on. It was really interesting to see how different the world seems if one of your senses completely disappears, and has certainly increased my amazement and admiration of those who play VI tennis!