Volunteer of the Month - November 2023 - Ailsa Glazier
Posted by Victoria Leedham
“Through volunteering, I wanted to help people who are struggling with their deafness, having been through similar experiences myself” said Ailsa Glazier, from Exeter, when being interviewed for an article in our supporter magazine inTouch.
It’s a simple premiss, upon which Alisa had certainly delivered. This elegant and eloquent lady has made a significant impact on others through her volunteering roles with Hearing Link Services supporting people across the UK as a Helpdesk Responder, Peer Support Volunteer at Community Days and LinkUp support groups.
Ailsa has been particularly helpful this year, making no fuss about travelling all the way to Cardiff to volunteer at a LinkUp support group well outside of her home turf.
“It would have been a very different event without her valuable contribution” reported staff members afterwards. Ailsa has the empathy of someone with lived experience and the generosity to share her story, which encourages others to open up about their own experiences.
It is a special skill to be able to begin big conversations (which can often be laden with loss, complex sentiments and a myriad of family dynamics) whilst maintaining poise and complete professionalism. Ailsa has such skills in abundance.
Rachel Drewery, Central Support Advisor, gives more detail: “Due to last minute unforeseen circumstances, Ailsa ended up being the only volunteer for the whole weekend, however she didn’t flinch at the responsibility, and it was as if she had been doing it for years. She engaged with everyone and had lovely, positive suggestions for the participants. I can't wait to work with her again!”
Central Support Advisor, Helen Ives, agrees: “Ailsa did an amazing job over the weekend, sharing her hearing loss story with the group, chatting to people who had questions, and generally just being there when she was needed. No-one would ever have known it was her first time volunteering at a LinkUp.”
Central Support Team Leader, Holly Eagle, adds: “Ailsa was happy and confident throughout the whole weekend and deserves an enormous thank you for all her help and support.”
Ailsa brings vast experience, both professionally and personally, to her volunteering. It was her career that first led her to be aware of the charity: “In my work as a Teacher of the Deaf I had a colleague who had a hearing dog that was a wonderful addition to our office! I saw the difference a hearing dog could make to someone’s life and so, upon early retirement, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People was a great fit for starting some voluntary work.”
Service Delivery Manager, Nicholas Orpin, says: “It's not just her professionalism - brought over from her career as a Teacher of the Deaf - it's also a genuine wish to understand the person as well as the issue. Ailsa has such a nice, patient and welcoming way of dealing with people. She's been a real asset in the development of Hearing Loss Community Days in the South West region.”
It’s immediately easy to warm to Ailsa. She is open, friendly and always willing to offer volunteer support in any way she can. She is happy to take public transport and looks fabulously well organised carrying a supply of literature to events in her wheely suitcase!
Partnership Instructor, Chloe Elphick, is glad she is part of the team and looking forward to working with her again shortly in Plymouth: “Ailsa is always enthusiastic to join our Community Days. She enjoys talking with our hearing dog partnerships and provides a friendly face for Hearing Link Services. She is approachable, kind and always happy to help.'
Behind the scenes, Ailsa is equally supportive on our Helpdesk. In addition to her invaluable personal qualities, her teaching experience (supporting deaf children and their parents with diverse and varied needs and concerns) means her knowledge base is extensive: “Ailsa’s replies to Helpdesk enquiries are full of lots of useful information which people are always hugely grateful for” confirms Helen Ives.
Nicholas concludes: “Creating more opportunities for people looking to live their hearing loss better, by coming into contact with our excellent peer support volunteers, is central to the success of delivering all our Hearing Link Services. Thanks to the superb skills and dedication of volunteers like Ailsa, long may that continue.”
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