THE One Good Reason campaign aims to encourage pensioners to give volunteering a try and to see first hand how beneficial, enjoyable it can be both for them and others in their community - and a Lisburn man is proof that it works.
71-year-old Walter Carswell from Mount Royal took up volunteering for the RNID last August - and is loving it. Walter, a grandfather of five, has a background in engineering, initially with Short and Harland, before moving to the motor industry before easing himself into part-time retirement working as a consultant for the NI Development Board and in outreach at Aldergrove providing careers guidance and coaching for those leaving the RAF and the Army.
When Walter retired from full time work he decided to learn how to sign-language and visited the 'Young at Heart' exhibition in the King's Hall last year where he approached the RNID stand to get information. Once he learned the skill he felt confident enough to become a volunteer with the charity.
Walter now volunteers for the Outreach Programme and represents RNID at exhibitions and information stands, providing information and referring people with specific enquiries regarding hearing impairment and or deafness.
He describes volunteering for RNID as challenging and enjoyable.
Walter said: "I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to think about how they can use their readily available skills.
"I believe that volunteering can be encouraged by promoting the ideas of 'giving something' back.
"For those approaching retirement, volunteering is something to think about, particularly those who are active and feel that they'll need some- thing to replace 'work," he said.
"Volunteering provides the opportunity to continue to learn and develop as a person, this is particularly important in later life.
"It's fun but most of all volunteering is 'flexible"."
Gabriel McManus of the RNID said Walter has been a great ambassador for the charity.
"Walter has shown great enthusiasm and commitment in his time with us and has been a very active volunteer; never shying away from taking on new challenges," she said.
"Walter flexed his true volunteer credentials when UNITE/AMICUS retired association approached us about giving a talk on the work of RNID and the service we provide. The talk was so well received that UNITE/AMICUS wrote a letter of thanks in appreciation and has asked about further talks in the future. Walter has been active in helping newer volunteers build their knowledge and confidence in carrying out their voluntary roles.
His volunteer work is always carried out with diligence and professionalism. He is a true role model for our project."
Anyone interested can find out more about the campaign and volunteering opportunities can visit www.volunteernow.co.uk or call 0845 652 60 65.