Volunteer of the Month - February 2021 - Sarah Bond

Posted by Victoria Leedham

Sarah Bond from Sheffield is one of those outstanding volunteers who proves that impact can be just as valuable as longevity when it comes to volunteering.

Partnered with her hearing dog Albert just over five years ago, this photogenic duo burst onto the volunteering scene in late 2019 with energy, joy and a knack for social media content that you just can’t teach.

Matt Sadler, Social Media Executive, says: “Sarah often refers to Albert as her superstar, but she really is a superstar herself.

From being happy for us to share the story of how Albert has changed her life, to the amazing photos she takes, Sarah has made my job even more of a privilege.

Her photos are incredible, and they not only show the bond that her and Albert share, but also just how happy and loved he is. Sarah’s images are so good that Paul Wilkinson may need to watch his back (only joking Paul!), as she could easily be a professional photographer.

Sarah’s images and funny captions are a much-needed tonic in the current situation and I’ve lost count of the amount of times she has made people smile with Albert’s antics. If you didn’t see his adventures with the naughty Elf over Christmas then do take a look back through our social media, I guarantee it will be the highlight of your day.

Sarah does a brilliant job at spreading the word about Hearing Dogs through her social media, and I know a lot of people who aren’t associated with the Charity know about us solely because of Albert. She is a huge asset to Hearing Dogs.”

Given this partnership’s ebullience it was inevitable that our fundraising team decided to reach out and ask Sarah if she’d be happy to be the “face” of our big February fundraiser - The 28 Challenge.

Community Fundraising Manager, Rachel Clarke, explains: “Sarah has a very creative mind and is great at staging shots which look good on social media, plus Albert is such a willing and cute model – what a team!  The Elf on the Shelf series of social media posts Sarah did in the lead up to Christmas is a really good example of what she can achieve.

The 28 Challenge is a brand-new virtual event for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and we felt that Sarah and Albert could help us make it look fun and inclusive for our promotional materials.  And luckily for us they said yes!  So Sarah, working within some guidelines provided by the Communications Department, has been busy taking a series of images of her and Albert doing various examples of what The 28 Challenge could be. We’re incredibly grateful for all her help.”

Community Fundraising Area Manager, Vicky Ryan, couldn’t agree more: “Sarah is just so willing to get involved and supports everything she can – including entering our virtual quiz just last month and winning the pyjama party photo competition with her mum Helen!”

She is a fantastic ambassador for Hearing Dogs and I’m honoured to work with her, especially when we receive feedback from the virtual talks she does like this one from about 190 pupils at Bishopshalt School whom she addressed (along with fellow volunteer speaker Kerri) online:

“Sarah was just incredible, absolutely wonderful. The class were completely mesmerised and inspired by both Sarah and Kerri.”

And from a completely different audience at Chatsworth Women’s Institute:

“We thoroughly enjoyed the meeting, so thanks again to Sarah, Kerri and of course Albert who melted all our hearts.”

We're sure Albert will be melting more hearts this Valentine’s Day with a heart-warming photo or video on social media posted by Sarah.  We genuinely can’t thank this wonderful young woman enough for sharing the love, and for all the creative ways she’s continued to support the charity during these difficult times.

 

Newborn pup Albert, eyes still closed

“Albert was one of seven puppies - Lacey`s first litter. And our first litter! The whole experience was quite wonderful and Lacey was an absolute star, she knew exactly what to do and instinctively guided us through the whole process. 

Albert and his six siblings were a joy for those first eight weeks of life when we had the privilege to look after them. My wife Janet and I so enjoyed making our small contribution to the brilliant work of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People; it’s wonderful to see what a different these young pups go on to make to deaf people like Sarah.”

Peter Ratcliffe who owns Albert’s mum Lacey

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I'm Victoria and Head of Volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Hearing Link. It’s my privilege to celebrate and share stories about our wonderful volunteer family.

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