7 September 2017
“The charity’s called SeeAbility” said Terry, tipping me off about a small, part-time role to add to my charity portfolio. I’d taken part in a lot of holidays as a sighted guide for visually impaired people in the past…..but this was something else: “supporting people with sight loss and multi-disabilities”. I was intrigued.
I got the job and went along to the charity’s Epsom head office. There was a buzz about the place – a dynamism – and the friendliness, helpfulness and enthusiasm of the team really struck me. Purposeful people with passion for what they were doing, at the hub of what seemed a large family with individual services at the spokes. These services welcomed me in an equally amiable way.
Here were caring and considerate staff doing their utmost to provide the best quality of life to people with significant, and sometimes severe, disabilities. What do I mean? I mean people who, as well as experiencing sight loss, were sometimes physically disabled, in wheelchairs, unable to communicate verbally and with learning disabilities. So much more disadvantaged than myself and those that I knew.
Yet what services SeeAbility provides! Visits out, befriending, bespoke trampolining, companion cycling, shopping trips, festival trips, theatre trips, hydrotherapy, cooking tuition, special education activities and more. The impact was clear to see on people’s faces through the receipt of positive and attentive care, stimulation, interest and affection. There was a lot of laughter in the two services I linked with in my role. One of the service managers described her house to me ‘as a place with a lot of love’.
My role continued and I learned more of SeeAbility’s activities. Campaigning and lobbying; fundraising; event management and more. I gave talks to Rotaries with gusto and became further involved as a fundraising volunteer, event cheerleader, social event organiser and street collector. And I lobbied my MP.
When I was revising my Will two years after I started, I had no doubt I wanted to leave a gift to SeeAbility. It was a thanksgiving, a delight to support an organisation with fantastic staff and excellent services. People who were committed, compassionate and capable, in whom I had faith to deliver SeeAbility’s goals in a well-managed way. I knew my gift would have an impact on the quality of life for people with sometimes disarming levels of disability. It would enhance services and campaigns and raise awareness too.
Making a gift is so straightforward to do and makes a great difference. Some charities get very large proportions of their annual income from gifts. It’s also an act of kindness and interest. I know people needing support will really benefit from my gift and that gives me a lot of satisfaction. I ‘see’ the ‘ability’ in the charity I love. There is no better base from which to give.
Eric Stark, SeeAbility supporter.
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