Max, 35, who lives in Somerton, is a self-confessed petrol head. Before his sight prevented him from driving he used to race motorbikes. Max has Retinitis Pigmentosa which has caused his sight to deteriorate dramatically. Max is now registered severely sight impaired and uses a long cane to get around.
Max has recently been extremely ill and had several long stays in hospital. ‘After being discharged from hospital I ended up quite isolated’ he said. ‘I was just sitting in my flat licking my wounds, feeling a bit sorry for myself. I knew I needed some help to get out and about again as I like being social and active so I turned to Somerset Sight for some help’.
The charity has been running a Volunteer Visiting Service for the last 20 years. This service matches trained and vetted volunteers to sight impaired people for companionship and support. Many of the charity’s volunteers visit the same person for many years or even decades and firm friendships are built. Max was recently referred to this service and introduced to a volunteer called Roger. Avril Johnson Volunteer Visitor Co-ordinator for the area said ‘Roger and Max share a passion for cars and bikes so I thought they would get on well. They hit it off like a house on fire when I introduced them.’
Their first trip out was to Haynes Motor Museum. ‘It was the first time I’ve been there since I was a kid’ said Max ‘it was a great day out. The Education Officer, David Wilkinson, walked round with us and was very informative I wasn’t expecting to be able to do as much hands on stuff and sit in the cars. We were there a few hours but only saw about half of it. We’ll be going back soon.’
Somerset Sight is looking to recruit new volunteers for this service and at Yeovil Hospital and throughout the county. If you think you could spare a few hours of your time once a week or fortnight to help someone like Max please get in touch with Avril on 01823 366143 or Avril@somersetsight.org.uk.