Catherine McKeag is a Link Up Volunteer with Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) who has been supporting people who are blind or partially sighted to make trips around London since February 2017. Catherine discovered TPT at a networking event through her work, a charity supporting museums.
She supports people on a diverse range of trips from walks around Hyde Park and Saturday evening trips to music concerts to guided visits around historic sites in London, all helping to increase their independence. Catherine has found that the volunteering times are flexible and fit around her full time job.
“TPT has given me training and the confidence to fulfil this role and every trip I’ve made I’ve met new and amazing people and had a different kind of experience. Services users have always expressed gratitude and thanks for my support and I can see what it means to them to be able to go out and access these opportunities,” Catherine said.
When asked what her volunteering highlight was, Catherine recalled her very first Link Up experience. She supported a service user to a concert in central London and encountered large crowds, stairs around the venue and narrow gaps, which was nerve wracking to start off with. “By the end of the trip I felt like a pro,” Catherine said. After the concert finished, they had the opportunity to speak to the musicians and the service user was able to hold a cello. “She was delighted that we had that bonus addition to the trip. I was glad to be there to support her,” Catherine said.
To find out how you can become a Link Up Volunteer and help make a difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people, visit our Volunteer Opportunities page.