Working in the corporate world, it was all I could do to juggle a pressured job with family life.  However, while both were hugely fulfilling, I felt that there was something missing. Growing up, I had always been involved in activities that gave back to my local or wider community.  So, when I decided on a change of direction, at the top of my ‘to do’ list was to find some way of doing this again. 


But where to begin?  Sending off my CV to an organisation that matches skills with charities looking for support seemed a good start-point.  Within a couple of weeks, I received an email.  Would I consider applying for a position as a Marketing Trustee for Focus Birmingham?  As I read through the Application Pack, I became excited.  Focus was looking for someone with marketing and business skills.  My career experience ticked those boxes.  My father had recently passed but in his last few years I saw how much his life was changed by AMD.  How different that time would have been had he had access to services like Focus’s Sight Loss Support Service.  Around the same time, a friend confided that she was desperately worried because her daughter with complex needs was about to leave education and she did not know what would happen to her.  Again, how different her worries might have been had she had access to services like Focus’s Complex Needs Day Services.  Feeling like this might be the perfect volunteer Trustee position for me, and keen to find out more, I visited Focus, applied for the position and was accepted.


Jean McDougall - Focus Marketing Trustee

That was four years ago.  At the start of my Trustee journey I imagined volunteering would be very much a one-way street, that I would “give back” using my skills and experience.  However, what I’ve discovered is that as a Focus volunteer you don’t just give, you get!  Among the many wonderful things I’ve “got back” have been new friends through getting to know other volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life who help and support Focus in so many ways;  meeting staff in the Day Centre whose commitment, patience, sense of humour and respectful, caring attitude humbles and inspires me; seeing first-hand the difference the skills and expertise in our Sight Loss Support Services make to so many people’s lives; and feeling uplifted by the warm-hearted welcome I have always got when I’ve visited Millward Place.  My family always know when I’ve been to Focus because I come home happy and, as they always remark, in a great mood!