Meet student volunteer, Lauren
Lauren Deane was studying at St. Mary’s University in Belfast when Guide Dogs first appeared on her radar!
"Two members of the charity visited to speak about their work and the opportunities for volunteering it offered. My university actively encouraged volunteering which showed you were helping within your community and it’s something I have always been keen on.
That night I researched Guide Dogs and, on their website, I signed up and registered to volunteer for the My Sighted Guide program. It particularly caught my eye as I would be personally assisting and guiding a blind or partially sighted person through weekly activities to whatever suited their needs and desires. I then started visiting Margaret each week, I was able to build a bond with her and gradually get to know her.”
Unfortunately due to COVID Lauren and Margaret are unable to meet face to face. However, they still talk every Thursday, usually for more than an hour!
“Because I was volunteering with My Sighted Guide I was able to do a 6 week placement with Guide Dogs, doing some admin and promotion. This was great as through this I knew I was actively encouraging others to volunteer with Guide Dogs as I had done.
It has given me a sense of pride and spring in my step as through giving up a small portion of my day and merely having a simple conversation can mean the world to someone else.
Each day that I talk to Margaret I am also able to build self-confidence as well as getting the chance to meet new people!
Overall, in my week I am only volunteering at most for 2 hours so it does not disturb my studies or interfere with any other aspect of my life. I have been volunteering for over 18 months now and I have enjoyed every moment of it!”