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Call for tech enthusiasts to help blind and partially sighted people

This National Technology Day (January 6th) a veteran RNIB volunteer is encouraging people across Wales to help blind and partially sighted people access life-changing technology.

Dickon Oliver, 71, from Wenvoe, has been a Technology Support officer for RNIB for almost 40 years. After originally volunteering for the service in 1978 for some years, he started volunteering again in 2000. Dickon, a retired engineer, is now supporting RNIB’s call-out for Welsh technology enthusiasts to join the volunteering team.

There are currently 111,000 people living with sight loss in Wales and this number is set to double by 2050. For many blind and partially sighted people, being able to use the right devices, apps and gadgets best is crucial to living an independent and fulfilling life.

However, it can be difficult for people with sight loss to access the technology that will help them the most. Setting up a new computer, tablet, smartphone or e-reader is often challenging, especially for older users.

RNIB is committed to offering technical support to blind and partially sighted people across Wales. Its Technology For Life team, led by friendly Technology Support volunteers, help with all kinds of technology queries and issues over the phone or via email, support learning sessions and share tech skills at IT hubs, andprovide one-to-one support to people with sight loss in their homes.

Dickon said: “Volunteering as Technology Support for RNIB brings me so much satisfaction. As I had a technical background, I thought it would be nice to use my knowledge to help others and make a tangible difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

“The job has obviously changed a lot since I first started volunteering. In the 1970’s all we really needed to do was fix Talking Book tape players, but now there is a huge range of technology available to help blind and partially sighted people to live independent, fulfilling lives. Technology has come so far and has changed so many people’s lives. It is nice to feel like a small part of that puzzle by volunteering.

“I volunteer between two and three hours per week and meet so many interesting people by doing home visits. If you have a bit of spare time and enjoy meeting new people I would definitely recommend signing up. I’ve been a Technology Support volunteer for many years now and I still enjoy every minute!”

Hannah Rowlatt, RNIB technology For Life Coordinator Wales, said: “Becoming an RNIB Technology Support volunteer is a great way to share your skills, meet new people and enjoy a sense of purpose by taking on meaningful work that makes a difference to so many people across Wales.

“Our technology services are built on volunteer led delivery, and we‘re always looking for more technology volunteers to help us coordinate and organise our services. If you believe in the power of technology to increase wellbeing and transform lives and are interested in volunteering, we’d love to welcome you to the team.”