N-Vision, the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Blind Society, has enjoyed a celebratory afternoon tea for 100 volunteers at its Squires Gate base.
The charity currently has 249 registered volunteers working across all elements of the operation, from Talking News to café clubs, charity shops to admin and finance.
Last year, the hard-working volunteers worked a total of 15,755 hours for free.
They have calculated that, at national minimum wage of £8.21 per hour, that would equate to a wage bill of £129,348.
In the last financial year N-Vision’s charity shops, at Highfield Road, South Shore, and Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, took £124,500 through the tills.
But all the volunteers insist they get far more out of it than they give.
Many have made friends through volunteering – such as Yvonne Osborne and Karen Hudson, both visually impaired, and Julie Pilgrim, whose husband Brian is partially sighted.
All three are volunteers.
South Shore charity shop stalwarts include Jackie Snowden, Liz Strathan-Hall, Yvonne Vitty and Dorothy Langshaw.
The shop celebrated its 21st anniversary earlier this year.
Yvonne, a volunteer for 14 years, says: “It’s a two-way exchange. If you’re feeling down, it’s great to have company but you also know you’re doing good.”
The charity’s trustees are also volunteers – with Pat Lord, Barbara Whalley, acting chair, and Joy Killip all members of a board guiding N-Vision towards a bright future complete with new new logo to highlight the sight loss support message.
Veteran Talking News founder and reader Joy Killip reckons the 40 years long service badges sells her short by about 18 years for voluntary service.
Father and son John and Martin Rogers keep it in the family as both volunteer –John at the Cleveleys charity shop, where he is Santa every Christmas, while Martin works with Susie Nicholas and others as part of the Beaverbrooks Gems team, helping record the Talking Newspaper.
Touching tributes to the volunteers were paid by Mrs Whalley and by volunteer coordinator Trish Hothersall, who organised the afternoon tea and other treats served by staff.
“We appreciate all the time that you give to us – and you make every minute count,” said Trish.
The charity hosted its Three Piers sponsored fund-raiser yesterday, ahead of National Eye Health week, which begins today.
The events lined up for the week include an awareness day at Blackpool Victoria Hospital today, and an assistive technology day at the charity’s Sharples Hall and Low Vision Centre on Friday, September 27.
by Louisa Gregson