Volunteer of the Month - February 2024 - Maxine Clare

Posted by Victoria Leedham

February is the month of The 28 Challenge here at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People so, as it draws to a close, we simply must celebrate one of the most inclusive, innovative and involved participants this year, namely fundraiser and speaker Maxine Clare.

Through her limitless enthusiasm and infectious energy, Maxine hatched “The 28+1 Challenge for Twenty Twenty Paw” – a collective of volunteers who would each conduct a challenge per day.

In her own words: “We’re at it again! Raising awareness for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. 28 people will take up one challenge each and Hearing Dog Walter has kindly stepped forward to take up slack of the leap year this February 29th. Your contribution, be it joining in, sharing, caring or monetary will make a difference. Whether you donate a little time, a few bob or even share this page you’ll be helping us to train more Super Earholes. These very clever, especially trained pups, change lives forever. So, join in, take on a mini challenge with us or just follow and share the fun.”

This is Maxine to a tee. She’s good fun, dynamic, full of great ideas and savvy in using social media, particularly Facebook, to promote her fundraising activity and keep contributors engaged with upbeat content and results against target.

“Maxine is a tour de force!” says Community Fundraising Manager, Rachel Clarke, “she throws herself into every fundraiser Hearing Dogs launches, as well as following through on her own ideas like the Squares Game, an Ugly Bug fancy dress ball, securing donations form John Lewis Brent Cross and numerous online photo competitions. Even the pandemic was no match for Maxine, she became a virtual speaker and embraced the nationally organised 2.6 Challenge of 2020 to combat the charity funds lost by the London Marathon being cancelled.”

“Maxine is fantastic” confirms Community Fundraising Manager, Kevin Game. “She’s constantly thinking of new ways to support the Charity and engage new people, either individually or as the Hendon Fundraising Group lead.

She’s happy to tell everyone about the work Hearing Dogs does and how her own hearing dog Walter has changed her life.

She’s down to earth, not afraid to get her hands dirty - a real star.”

Maxine will help out wherever and whenever she can, mostly using public transport to navigate from one gig to the next. Volunteer, Linda Clark, recalls: “Maxine stepped in at the last minute and saved the day supporting me with a Hearing Dogs talk I had long arranged with a group of retired businessmen.

It was a big success with the group donating £100 officially, and the members popping another £150 in the pot, after being charmed by hearing dog Walter and Maxine’s stories about how the charity has changed her life for the better.”

Seeing the partnership between Maxine and Walter in action really helps people to understand the everyday difficulties facing people with hearing loss. For younger audiences, like talks in schools, as well as having Walter by her side, Maxine will also take a soft toy dog along (complete with mini Hearing Dog uniform) so that any children who are worried about meeting a real dog for the first time can have a cuddle with the soft toy dog for reassurance. This being just one example of Maxine’s thoughtfulness in everything she undertakes.

When not busy fundraising, Maxine is highly motivated and talented in raising deaf awareness. In fact, she’s never off duty:

“Walter has been in taxis, cabs, on planes, ferries, big boats, row boats, barges, buses, tubes, trains, trams and cable cars. He has even been on the London Eye! Just walking along the street with Walter generates deaf awareness.”

Always keen to be involved in something new, when Maxine became aware that Hearing Loss Services were setting up Community Outreach sessions in various places across the country, she knew she had something to offer:

“At the end of 2023, Maxine organised an information day at her local health centre to raise awareness of the Charity and all our services. Her careful planning resulted in having the support of a number of local partnerships on the day. It was so successful that the centre has now expressed an interest in hosting a monthly drop-in hearing support session.

Maxine's initiative is an excellent example of her local knowledge and personal experience at the service of the local community” says Nicholas Orpin, Services Delivery Manager.

Maxine’s enviable contact book, coupled with her outgoing personality and drive, mean that she’s one of those exceptional people that not only have ideas, she also makes them happen! She’s superb at making connections, very likeable and a great motivator. Nicholas concludes:

“Maxine really is a one-off and we are lucky to count her as one of our volunteers. Her enthusiasm is really infectious and is hard to resist when it is focussed on raising funds and awareness of our Charity, or helping people directly manage their hearing.”

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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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