Will Sidebottom has been volunteering with us for just over a year now and in an interview he tells us about his experience.
You volunteer so clearly think it is worthwhile, why?
I volunteer for Deafax for a few reasons, one being that I get to spend my Wednesday’s in the company of really lovely people; two, that I know that the work I put in is helping to enrich Deaf people’s lives even more, especially so for those who are often missing out - for example, I did a music workshop at a school and it allowed me to see for myself that Deaf children can miss out on quite a lot of vital information due to not being able to access it easily. And three because it is allowing me to learn more about how charities work and how much effort is constantly put in with applications and meetings to find funding!
Tell us a bit about your volunteering and why you enjoy it.
I came into Deafax originally to bring a music element to what they offer to schools. I helped build up their website with information on more modern music other than classical. Since then I have led a music workshop in a school with deaf pupils (as mentioned above) and hope to lead more workshops in the future. Once that was completed, I then started doing a bit of everything from designing and building the website, filming BSL videos, promoting the social media and helping to source funding.
What have you learned about deafness and charities while volunteering at Deafax?
During my time at Deafax I have learnt a lot about deafness - I used to think that there was only one form of deafness - that you couldn’t hear anything and that was it, but now with the advances in hearing aids and cochlear implants, deaf people can hear a lot more when it comes to frequencies. I quite often get asked when I mention my work with music and the deaf “How can they hear the music?”, to which I explain that certain decibels can be heard, or that music can be felt or even seen visually. I have also learnt about the difference between lip-reading and sign language, and how important it is to be able to sign. It is tiring lip-reading and you can miss information. This also ties in to being deaf aware, which is something I am still working on. In terms of charities, I have learnt about the fundraising side of things, as well as how important it is to be heard (no pun intended!!).
What are your longer-term career plans?
I aim to do a masters in Music Therapy so that I can help people with disabilities and deafness through music. This will lead on from the current music workshops I lead for people with Learning Disabilities at another charity I volunteer for which supports people who have had strokes and people who have suffered a brain injury.
You grew up in Spain, tell us a bit about it.
I moved to Spain just before I turned 4 and returned to the UK aged 17. I was in Spanish school for 5 and a half years, where I became fluent in Spanish to the detriment of my English so my parents sent me to an international school where I could still have proper Spanish lessons but exposure to English as well. I really love the culture in Spain, it is very relaxed and the way of life is far more family orientated - you still see 18-year-old boys walking down the road holding their Mum’s hand without a care in the world! Not only that, the food and vino is delicious! I am very proud to have been brought up in Spain, and I plan at some point in the future to venture there again but possibly live in the North as I feel I have done the South now!
Interested in volunteering for us? contact us now!