Martin’s Story 


Martin (75) from Cambridge has been volunteering for CamSight for over eight years. His involvement started when he went to a CamSight fundraising dinner and the reality of living with sight loss really “came to light”.


“I had a friend who was involved in fundraising, and after attending one of their events I contacted the volunteering team as I was really taken by the stories of how the charity had supported service users and helped to empower their lives. 


“After completing the relevant training, I was assigned a befriending role which meant I would visit clients and service users in their homes. From this I gradually got involved with the Volunteer Drivers for the Bourn Peer Support Group.


“I was matched with a service user called Jim* who (at the time) went to the monthly groups, and I would pick him up from his home and take him to and from Bourn. I would stay during the Peer Support session, gaining further insight into living with sight loss and struck up some wonderful relationships with other regular attendees of the group. It is a lovely way to meet people from all walks of life and build connections in a different way.


“Over time I have built up a special friendship with Jim, and we found we had a lot in common. We both like discussing how to put the world to rights and talking about Jim’s long career in industry. I find it rewarding in many ways, being able to feel useful and practically being able to support him with his journeys, but also emotionally in a personally rewarding way.


“Jim is older now and reaching his centenary, so instead of taking him to groups, I visit him once a month at his home and over a cup of tea we talk and share news with one another.  


“I think volunteering for CamSight is a joyous activity and, as our friendship is so unique from other relationships in our lives, both parties get a lot out of the befriending service."


For many years Martin has also visited a lady called Sheila* who lives in a village outside of Cambridge. Sheila is sadly chair-bound at home, following a life changing health condition and her eyesight has been badly affected.

“Initially, once a week I would visit Sheila in her home, and as she used to love going to pub quizzes, I would bring the pub quiz to her living room, and we would do a quiz together! And yes, as she is very knowledgeable, she can often beat me which we both laugh about! During Covid we moved our catch-ups online and now a virtual meet up works better for us both, so weekly we do a pub quiz over the computer.


“One thing that has also struck me, and continues to do so, is the resilience of the service users I meet. I find it a fruitful and a hugely beneficial role. It is a two-way relationship and I get a lot from befriending roles and the volunteer driver duties, and I would urge anyone considering volunteering to contact CamSight. There are many ways to get involved in the charity and you can play a huge part in someone’s life living with sight loss, as well as gaining rewarding and unique relationships along the way.”


If our charity sounds like something you would like to be involved with, please contact our volunteering team by emailing [email protected] or call 01223 420033 or visit our volunteering pages. 


*please note – some of the names of the service users in this article have been changed to protect identities.

IMAGE DESCRIPTION A man sits in the car with his hands on the steering wheel, he looks at the camera and smiles, he is wearing a jacket and red shirt. The rain in the background makes rain drops on the window and the car is grey in colour.