Cheers to Volunteers – helping with accessibility


Cheers to Volunteers in Volunteer Week 2020

When we created our new website I moved across hundreds of photos of past projects from our previous website. Many of these photos didn’t have the titles and descriptions that would help blind and visually impaired people get the most from them. I set about filling those spare minutes with the task of updating them, but wasn’t making much of a dent in it. Then we went into lockdown and a message came from Sue Wisbey at our long term corporate partner Allen & Overy, an international legal practice, asking if there was anything people could do for us during lockdown. I was very quick to put up my hand!

Following a call out by Sue I received responses from a group of 11 volunteers and sent them all a brief. Nearly 200 images have already been fully titled and described. One volunteer, Helen Page, has done an astounding 100! She says of her involvement:

“I joined Allen & Overy as an Events Manager in March 2020, only 2 weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown commenced. Unfortunately we began to see our events being cancelled and therefore our normal workload slowing down, and at this stage a colleague advised me about the opportunity to assist with volunteering work, in particular for Magic Me.

I really enjoyed assisting with the photo captioning as it was a project that was easy for me to dip in and out of between other work commitments, it was therapeutic as it kept me focused, which was good in these strange times. Also it was great to know that I made use of my time in a positive way, whilst assisting a worthy cause.

Hopefully once we are able to return to the London office, then I could get involved with supporting Magic Me in other ways.”

Before the covid-19 pandemic began Allen & Overy were involved in one of our Arts & Ages projects. These projects bring together local primary schools with older people based in care settings or who are linked to a community setting. This grew out of work Magic Me has been doing since 1989 with local schools and Allen & Overy has been involved in previous projects, particularly with Christchurch Primary (which is right next to their London office) for many years, for example Frames of Brick Lane.

It was really great to be able to stay connected even when physically distant and in fact one of the volunteers is based in New York! One of the things we are learning is that there are all sorts of different ways that people can get involved with Magic Me as a charity and all sorts of ways that we as individuals can make a difference – many of them don’t involve leaving the house!

Find out about how we are keeping connected to our Cocktails in Care Homes volunteers here.

Find out about supporting Magic Me here