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Volunteer manager

 I worked as a volunteer manager because…

I’m passionate about making a difference and helping people to realise their potential.

I managed a team of over 200 volunteers providing face-to-face counselling and support groups. I was responsible for recruitment and training, arranging annual celebration events and carrying out DBS checks.

When people aren’t deaf aware, it can be difficult to bounce back. Fortunately my colleagues have been happy to make small adjustments, such as facing me when speaking, reducing background noise and taking regular breaks in meetings.

I’m lucky to have had support from my parents, who never allowed my deafness to be a barrier and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Their persistence and determination gave me a great foundation and work ethic. I didn’t have a group of deaf friends until I was in my early 20s. They have really helped as we can share ideas and experiences and it has massively improved my self-confidence.

I’m severely to profoundly deaf and when I was diagnosed, my parents were told that my speech and language would suffer and that my education achievements would be limited. I achieved 4 As at A-level and a First Class degree.

Claire Baldwin