Forth Valley Sensory Centre
We have loads of volunteering opportunities and we are always on the lookout for new volunteers to support our work here at the Centre.
There is no need to have previous experience of working with people who have a sensory impairment; appropriate training will be given where needed, including an introduction to sign language. All we do ask is that you have great people skills and a willingness to learn!
We have specific opportunities for volunteers throughout the Centre, including; drivers, sighted guides, café helpers and assistance maintaining our sensory garden alongside our day to day opportunities.
What we need from you is a commitment to spend some time with us, which could be as little as three hours a month to several hours a week depending on the time you have available.
In return we offer:
- Induction training
- Sighted guide training
- Social opportunities
- Work experience and the chance to develop new skills
- Written references to help with future employability
- Free PVG check if needed
Volunteering is known to be one of the most rewarding things a person can do and according to a recent article volunteering could even be a ‘wonder drug’.
Below are some of our volunteers summing up what volunteering means to them. Centre Manager, Jacquie Winning commented:
“Volunteers are incredibly important to the Centre. They add diversity and broaden what we can offer to our Centre users. The benefits go both ways though and volunteering can be a life enhancing experience.”
Volunteering is a great way to support our Centre, either through access to knowledge and skills which we might otherwise not have access to or would prove to be cost prohibitive or through days out to help with our garden or at one of our events, for example the charity shop. Volunteering is very rewarding for all involved and we have some great feedback. It gives staff a chance to get to know each other better and work as a team without the pressure of the usual work environment.
DWP Corporate Volunteering Case Study
Staff from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recently volunteered in the Centre as part of their Community 10k challenge, to provide 10,000 hours of unpaid work in the local community. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:
On Friday 24 November I volunteered to attend Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, Falkirk.
Forth Valley Sensory Centre is a place where people with a visual or hearing loss, their friends, families, carers and the wider community can access quality services and advice from partner organisations. The centre is not just for people with sensory impairment and is open to the wider community. Some of the facilities on offer include a café, sensory garden and sensory room.
The centre is owned and run by Forth Valley Sensory Centre Trust. The Trust is a partnership between Action on Hearing Loss, Falkirk Council, NHS Forth Valley, RNIB Scotland and Stirling Council.
Each year the centre hosts a Christmas Fayre and they rely on volunteers to decorate the centre and set up the event. The event was scheduled for Saturday 25 November.
Myself and three other volunteers from DWP were met by Caroline who is the volunteer co-ordinator. Caroline gave us a tour of the centre and introduced us to the staff and some centre users. It was very interesting to see some of the gadgets and gizmos that the centre can supply to people with hearing and/or sight loss to assist them with every day tasks. This included talking microwave ovens, suction coffee cups which cannot be knocked over and flashing smoke alarms.
Most memorable person I met was David, who makes the soup each day for the café and also runs a personal safety course for centre users. David also makes intricate models of people and animals from aluminium foil, some of these models are dotted around the centre. David was a cheeky chap who had plenty to say to us when he heard we were from DWP – most of it positive, despite the fact that he has had some not so positive encounters with this organisation in the past! David is completely blind, and is one of the most positive, energetic people I have ever met. He buzzes around the centre using only his white stick to assist him and he interacts with pretty much everyone who walks through the door!
I had lunch in the café and David’s leek and potato soup was delicious, as was the banoffee muffin I had for dessert!
Between the four DWP volunteers we set up and decorated three Christmas trees, set up Santa’s grotto, decked the halls with lots of tinsel and set up the tables in the main hall for the fayre. A very busy but satisfying day was had by all.
The centre really does rely on volunteers throughout the year and I would encourage my colleagues to volunteer through C10k for any future advertised events. Failing that, if you are in need of a nice bowl of soup or a cake then pop into the café and support this fabulous organisation.
Karen Forsyth, DWP
If you would be interested in volunteering at Forth Valley Sensory Centre, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01324 590 888