First blog by Karice, new addition to team ELVis

Learning, Guiding and Stephen King

“Barking & Dagenham, City and Hackney… D, E, F, G, H… H… Havering…”

This is me trying to memorise each of the boroughs that ELVis covers.  Mas said it’s easier to remember them alphabetically so that’s what I do – well, try to do.

There are a lot of things to remember: names, faces, places, travel routes… It’s all part of the process of being a new member of staff in a new organisation.

Being a Volunteer Co-ordinator isn’t new to me, I’ve been doing it for about 6 years now for a variety of charities.  Each charity is, of course very different, with different aims and objectives and approaches to volunteering programmes but essentially the role itself is the same: recruit, induct, train and line manage volunteers; ensure that they feel a part of the team and that they are just as committed to the cause and we are; support and motivate them and make try to make the volunteering experience as enjoyable and rewarding as possible for everyone involved.

It’s a great role, I get to meet a diverse range of people and learn about different situations and conditions.  My first month- and-a-bit at ELVis is no different.  Being vision impaired myself, I thought I had a good level of knowledge about what it is to live with limited sight.  Turns out, I don’t know as much as I thought I did! I’ve learned loads, including how to guide which, having never done it before I was absolutely awful at doing.  Here’s the thing though, everyone – including my long-suffering colleague who has borne the brunt of my tragic guiding skills – has been very patient and have all helped me to improve.

Even though I’ve had almost 6 weeks to settle in, I’ll be lying if I said I wasn’t still a little nervous.  Our work is important and, as someone who has some understanding of what it’s like to live with limited sight, I understand some of the challenges that can sometimes present themselves so feel a personal connection to the role.  That said, the support that I have received and the opportunities I have had to learn and develop have been invaluable.

Gaining some understanding of what

Of course, I am more than just a Volunteer Co-ordinator.  I have other interests, my biggest passion being writing short fiction – horror to be exact.  My plan is to follow in the footsteps of Stephen King and be the reason generations of people are scared to close their eyes at night!  I’m also in the process of rediscovering my love of the performing arts.  I have a love of all things creative so try to engage that side of myself wherever possible because I genuinely believe that engaging in creative activities has a positive impact on all aspects of our personal and professional lives.

So that’s me, the new Volunteer Co-ordinator who loves her job; has dodgy eyesight and a penchant for all things creative.  I’m looking forward to my journey with ELVis and, for those of you who may be interested in volunteering with us, don’t be put off by the Stephen King thing, I’m a sweetheart really!

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eastlondonvision

East London Vision (ELVis) is the subgroup for the 7 geographical areas that naturally cover all of east London north of the Thames: • Barking and Dagenham • City and Hackney • Havering • Newham • Redbridge • Tower Hamlets • Waltham Forest. ELVis is designed to provide an effective and efficient way of ensuring that vision impaired people living in East London get the support and services they need. It is an umbrella organisation with voluntary sector, user led representation in each of the east London boroughs. Our vision is that everyone living in East London experiencing, or at risk of, any form of sight loss, receives a high quality service relevant to their need and at a time appropriate for themselves. Our aim is to enhance & link vision impaired services and organisations throughout East London, improving the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people and increasing individual independence.

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