‘Volunteering has raised up my confidence’ Mary Gilbertson

Mary Gilbertson is a Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council member.

She joined in November 2020 and in just a few months, Mary has helped facilitate a VI forum, been interviewed about the Sight Loss Councils work on BBC Radio Manchester and told her volunteering story to a rapt audience of TPT staff and volunteers at a recent ‘Volunteers’ Week event’

When Mary joined the Sight Loss Councils she took part in media skills training, Welfare Rights training and learned about the equality act. She also loved meeting her fellow SLC members.

Mary said:

“My confidence was raised up because I’d lost it a bit after being medically retired. What I loved about joining TPT was the can-do attitude of all the staff and volunteers.

I never knew about the VI community before and then to meet an organisation and contribute to all the projects was brilliant.”


Mary describes taking part in the Greater Manchester VI forum (which focused on the benefits of taking part in sport and the arts) as “A Turning point”

She said: “Our team, we just jelled together. It was my first time facilitating a Q&A. It was a real turning point for my confidence.”

Mary says her media skills training came in handy when she was asked to do an interview on BBC Radio Manchester with Engagement Manager Matt Cliff.

Mary said: “I wasn’t expecting to be chosen for that, but I gave an interview with Matt about Sight Loss Councils work and it was a real achievement.”

Mary recently spoke alongside TPT volunteers at a volunteers’ Week learning lunch shining a spotlight on what volunteering has enabled our volunteers to do. Speaking about the benefits of volunteering, Mary said that TPT has encouraged her to step outside her comfort zone. She added: “There is laughter as well as work in what we can do and achieve, and this is beneficial to our well-being.” She also encouraged all TPT teams to involve volunteers in their work so they can benefit from volunteers’ passion and commitment.

Publication date: 09 June 2021

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