Doreen has lived in Blackwood for 33 years. The past year has been a tough one for her, as her husband sadly passed away after suffering with vascular dementia. Doreen suffers from macular degeneration and has considerably reduced hearing having worked in the textile industry. She admits that she felt very lonely and isolated following her husband’s death, and this led her urgently to seek our support for advice and to learn about anything that would help her to communicate with distant family and friends.
Our outreach Officer, Holly, visited Doreen at home and was able to showcase some accessible digital communication options to Doreen, who was thrilled by the capabilities of the technology and her realization that she possessed the ability to use the technology effectively for herself.
Following the successful showcasing visit, it was agreed that we would attempt to recruit a Digital Inclusion volunteer for Doreen, to spend time with her teaching her about the most useful communication programmes. We were delighted when Kelly answered the advert and committed to filling the role.
Kelly says, “I applied for the DI volunteering position as I had always wanted to find a volunteer role for myself, and working with Deafblind Cymru allows me to work my day job and then, when I have a couple of hours free, I arrange to visit Doreen once a week – it is very flexible, which is great for me. The fact that it was to help someone develop their IT skills is a good fit for me, as I can share my knowledge whilst making a difference to someone else’s life.”
Doreen says, “I’ve been so glad of Deafblind Cymru because it has given me Kelly. I was trying to learn how to use computers, but of course, at gone 80 years old I had no modern technology. I still think in pounds, shillings and all that kind of thing! The Lord was obviously with me, as out of the blue came Kelly into my life! She has been a tremendous help and I am so grateful to her.”
“Whatever day of the week she can visit, I say that’s fine by me. Like today – she texted me saying “Dor, I’m ever so tired, can I come tomorrow instead?”, and I said “Yes of course, I forgive you because I love you (haha)!”
“She’s shown me how to use the laptop and my iPhone. She also came walking with me once to show me how to take photos of the nature on my iPhone to send to my grandson.”
“To sum the experience up in one word, it would be ‘wonderful’. I’ve been so grateful to Deafblind UK and to Kelly. She’s not only taught me things, we confide in each other. And of course, she’s young, so I’m her pretend grandmother!”
“Over my bereavement, she’s given me something once a week to look forward to – her visit. If ever she can’t visit me so often, we’ll definitely still be friends.”
Kelly agrees: “Doreen has become a Nan that I have never had. She offers me a friendly chat, a helping hand, guidance, and someone who you want to ring straight away when anything good happens. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and she calls me her grand-daughter – I very much love her as if she was my own Nan.”
“To someone who is thinking about volunteering for Deafblind Cymru, I would say 100% “Do it!” It’s not just about volunteering, it’s about making a friend for life. I’m so pleased to have been able to help Doreen and to see her smiling again. She is an angel sent to me from heaven!”