"My name is Karina"
Karina Gregory shares her experience of volunteering:
“Throughout my adult life I have encountered various challenges as a visually impaired person; some day-to-day practical challenges and some wrongs that needed putting right. In my early adulthood I chose not to strongly associate with the visually impaired community, however, through experience I began to value the benefit of interacting with people who understood things from my perspective.
I saw the LOOK Mentoring Scheme advertised on social media and it was something that immediately caught my interest. I wanted the opportunity to support other visually impaired people to find solutions to overcome any barriers they are experiencing and to demonstrate that success as a visually impaired person is possible despite the obstacles. In addition to mentoring with LOOK I hold a number of Trustee positions, including with the Technology Association of Visually Impaired People, the National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom, and the European Guide Dog Federation all of which I find very rewarding.
Prior to COVID I had started volunteering as a Benefit Form Volunteer with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and with Warwickshire Vision Support. During lock down I continued volunteering with Warwickshire Vision Support until I gained full time employment although I do still assist with production of the magazine.
At the beginning of lock down Warwickshire Vision Support contacted everyone on their register to undertake welfare checks to make sure that service users could still access food and medication during lock down. This developed into a Telephone Befriending Service within which I became a Telephone Befriender; contacting people each week to enable them to have some social interaction. I thoroughly enjoyed this role knowing that I was making a contribution during the pandemic.
I volunteer alongside full time employment. Volunteering gives me something to focus on outside of work whilst knowing that the contribution I am making is having a positive impact on the people I am supporting/representing”