Monday, 9 March 2015

Volunteer for Guide Dogs

Over the course of the past few months, with being fully-qualified alongside my Guide Dog, Tami, I have quickly become an active member of the volunteer team at my local Guide Dogs branch of Salford.

I originally signed up to be a volunteer during the Summer of last year after undertaking a two week work placement at the Guide Dogs Training Centre in Atherton, Leigh, as part of the Skillstep course at Henshaws, with my information and references approved in October. I received all of the items I needed within my roles but was advised not to start until I had trained, qualified and settled in with Tami first.

Along with my general volunteering role, attending collection events at local supermarkets and other stores, I am also a Collection Box Co-ordinator. Within this role I identify suitable shops to place boxes where I think they will be popular and generate kind donations from the public. When a box has been placed, I take note of its individual number to track all boxes on a large sheet and the amount of money they raise each month. I also ensure they are safely chained to the counter and have my contact details and the Salford branch details on a sticker underneath.

When it comes to emptying a box which has become rather full over the duration of the month, I take it home, count it up in sections pertaining to each coin type, and give a 'thank you' slip, provided in a book by Guide Dogs, with the total amount to the shop it has come from - as well as providing the date when I'll be banking the amount. I have a Guide Dogs bank book and I have to keep track of all of the money I collect from each box. I will then travel to Eccles, where my nearest HSBC bank is, to cash in the amount to the Guide Dogs account and have my bank book stamped. To finish the process, I send off the top copy of each page in my bank book to the Treasurer of the Salford branch.

So far, I have raised well over £100 from my boxes since I officially began my role in January and have also helped to collect at a local Morrisons store in Eccles. I will be helping with collections again in May - this time at a Tesco store in Irlam.

I've been enjoying my time as a volunteer for Guide Dogs tremendously so far and am really pleased to be able to give back to this fantastic charity who have given so much to me already. I now have the independence to go anywhere I want knowing that Tami will keep me safe from obstacles, obstructions and oncoming traffic and I am thrilled to have to opportunity to show my appreciation and support of the life-changing work they do.