Roger from Wolverhampton has been a keen gardener for many years and recently decided he would like to have more involvement in his local community.
He has a small garden where he loves to grow potatoes, but this wasn’t enough for Roger. He believed he could make a difference to other people; either by growing vegetables or maintaining landscaped areas.
Roger started his search for a bigger project with some in trepidation, as Deafblind UK Engagement Officer, Marie, explains: “Roger thought that no one would want him to be part of a group; he has to take his time walking and his depth perception is getting worse, he easily gets lost when he’s not sure of his surroundings, so he thought he might be a burden to others.
“I told Roger about some volunteering opportunities at The Black Country Living Museum. Roger was really pleased as he had visited the museum a number of times over the years and knew the lay-out of the museum grounds – especially where the chip shop is!
“He met with Ricki and Dianne from the volunteer recruitment team at the museum and between them they realised Roger had the experience and knowledge of gardening that would be an asset to them. So they asked if he would consider joining the volunteer group with Pete, the head gardener. Roger had a guided tour to see whether he would like to join and without hesitation, he agreed!
“After Roger had signed up, Pete talked him through all the maintenance jobs throughout the year. This became a magical moment as they both realised they had worked together in the past and were so pleased to meet again all these years later! Roger explained that knowing Pete made him feel more confident to commit to his volunteering role.
“Now once a week Roger joins a fantastic group of volunteers who are his new friends and have become part of his social circle, supporting each other enormously. Roger told me that he really enjoys the friendship and jokes he shares with the other volunteers especially at lunch time in the canteen when he refers to me as his “Peaky Blinder” – instead of Marie – because I’m from Birmingham. Now everyone calls me that!
“Roger is really proud to be part of creating some lovely grounds for the public to enjoy in the Spring. Reinforcing the belief in himself has made a big difference to Rogers’s outlook, reminding him that he is a valued member of society.
“Roger is now recognised as a volunteer, an advocate for Deafblind UK and as someone who is helping in his community. This has given him a huge, and well needed, confidence boost.”