RIDBC thanks its volunteers during National Volunteer Week

Lois FraterLois Frater works on a text book to make it accessible for students who use braille

In National Volunteer Week, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) would like to pay tribute to all the volunteers whose vital work makes a difference in the lives of children with a vision or hearing impairment.

Volunteers play a very important role at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. In addition to about 1,000 volunteers in RIDBC’s fundraising clubs, committees and auxiliaries, over 250 volunteers assist with a wide variety of tasks on campus.

“Volunteering is central to RIDBC’s culture and an essential part of our ability to provide services,” said Chris Rehn, RIDBC Chief Executive.

“Each year, volunteers contribute over 26 000 hours of service for the charity. This assistance enables our staff to direct their skills where they are most needed and to continue to provide the best quality services for the children we support.”

Lois Frater, from Pendle Hills, is one volunteer has been at RIDBC for 10 years in the Alternative Format Publications Unit. She is one of fourteen volunteers in RIDBC VisionEd who help produce over 250,000 pages of braille, large print and tactile material each year.

RIDBC’s Alternative Format Publications team plays a critical role in assisting schools to provide material that is accessible to students who are blind or have significant vision impairment.

Alternative format publications, magnification aids and access technology, provide students with enhanced opportunities to access information and participate fully in school life.

“I work on the production of tactual diagrams for the students who use braille. It’s mostly maths books,” said Lois. Towards the end of the year is a very busy time as we get the texts ready for the start of school but I really enjoy the work.”

“I enjoy the companionship of working with the others in the office but most importantly, I feel I’m helping someone. It’s so rewarding knowing that what I’m doing is helping children learn.”

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children provides vital support to over 970 children with significant hearing and/or vision impairment and their families across Australia. As well, RIDBC provides vision and hearing screening to around 2000 babies and children each year.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in children's lives. In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.