Case Studies

If you volunteer with us you will be helping to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people. You will also learn new skills, gain confidence and put your talents to use.

All sorts of people volunteer with us, people who are students, working, retired, old and young, blind and sighted. Read what Darren, Richard and Chris say about why they enjoy volunteering. You can also read some case studies about our Volunteer Visiting Service Volunteers.


Darren Walker

Darren and Jet the DogDarren works as a volunteer for Devon in Sight providing training and advice on Assistive Technology. He is registered blind and has a guide dog called Jet. Before he started losing his sight he worked as a graphics designer for ITV for about 10 years.

Darren started getting interested in Assistive Technology to help him carry on with some of the things he needed to do on a daily basis – but because of his interest in IT he started to get involved with helping other people as well.

Darren went to the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford where he started to learn about all sorts of new technology. He then took on the role of Assistive Technology Co-ordinator for Action for Blind People in Devon and Cornwall – visiting people in their homes and giving advice and guidance on a whole range of IT issues.

He is now providing support for Devon in Sight and Action for Blind People on a voluntary basis, which includes running the monthly workshops at the Resource Centre in Topsham.

Richard Shuker

Richard Shuker informalRichard Shuker works in Housing for the South West at Action for Blind People and has a passion for encouraging support networks among local groups.

I was asked recently if I would like to become a Trustee at Devon in Sight. Of course I said ‘Yes’! So what can I bring and offer to Devon in Sight?

When I arrived in Devon from the North over 10 years ago I was unaware of any visual impairment community let alone a local society. However, I was soon offered the support and a grant that assisted me through those early days and ever since I have had a friendly, professional relationship with Devon in Sight.

I am 48 with two small but very energetic children. My wife is a Rehabilitation Officer. As part of my role at Action for Blind People I deliver the Living with Sight Loss course for people who have recently become visually impaired or feel they need to know more.

I am involved in trying to influence not only the Social model but also the Medical model through my work with Healthwatch (the independent consumer organisation for health and social care).

About 25 years ago I went to the RNIB Manor House at Torquay. There I not only had the re-training I had enlisted for but also fell in love with the South West; hence moving my family here 10 years ago.

I am also involved in local groups and charities and am always looking to do what I can to reduce isolation and increase access to information, so potentially reducing ignorance.

As well as this I enjoy sailing, climbing and generally being quite a sociable person.

I do look forward to supporting Devon in Sight grow and continue being there for people like me and others who wish to know: What, Where, When and How… I do hope that I do Devon in Sight justice and offer it the best of my abilities.

Chris Sumner

Chris Sumner informalChris Sumner has followed a career in the hospitality industry. He now plays a diverse and active voluntary role, helping to raise awareness of the needs of people with a visual impairment in the Torbay area.

I am registered as partially sighted through the diabetic retinopathy route and am using my organisational and business skills to become involved in the charity sector, in particular with the visual impairment community in Torbay.

I am involved with the new Torbay Healthwatch team, run the new Brixham Blind Club and volunteer at the Torbay Hospital Eye Clinic. I am also Trustee to two other charities in Torbay not directly involved with visual impairment.

I am privileged to be invited to take a more active role as a Trustee with Devon in Sight. We are in a great position now to re-establish ourselves as a leading charity for people with a visual impairment in Devon. This is at a time when all organisations are adapting from top to bottom to the current economic climate, and relying more and more upon voluntary involvement.

I look forward to working with Trustees, staff and volunteers to improve the daily quality of life for all those with a visual impairment. Our aim is to bring together the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the various groups in this field, so we can work together to strengthen delivery, improve signposting and gather information about services for people with a visual impairment.