My week: Janice Tillett

The trusts officer for Deafblind UK delivers a talk about sight and hearing loss.

Janice Tillett
Janice Tillett

Monday: I work from home in Northampton preparing letters and appeals. Because I am totally blind and have a hearing impairment, I have a support worker funded by the Government's Access to Work scheme. She provides the eyes and ears for the role - for example, she checks letters and appeals before they are sent and drives or travels with me to external meetings.

It has been a challenging week because my support worker has been on holiday, but thankfully she is back later this week.

Working solo means that it is more difficult to send out appeals or letters to potential donors, which can have an impact on the amount of money coming in to the charity.

Tuesday: My job, like my life, involves constant forward-planning. I work a 34-hour week but my support worker works only 20 hours, so it is essential to be very organised if I am to meet deadlines. For example, if I need to travel alone by train to meet another colleague, I have to let the station know exactly what train I am travelling on so that I can receive the appropriate assistance.

Today I accompany a colleague to Gloucester, where we deliver a deafblind awareness talk to hospital staff. Part of my role at the charity is to advise and to deliver awareness talks about any aspect of living with combined sight and hearing loss, either at our national centre or within the UK. Participants are quite shocked when we hand out blindfolds and ear plugs for them to get a feel for what being deafblind is like.

Wednesday: My support worker is back from holiday, so today we can start sending out the work that I have prepared in the past week.

I use a PC with assistive technology, which provides speech output. The voice is called Dave, and he reads out my emails and other documents.

At the end of the day, my childminder drops off my daughter Mary-Elizabeth and my evening support worker arrives. It is like the changing of the guard at my front door as one support worker leaves and the other arrives.

Friday: I round off the week by sending off a couple of thank you letters for grants that we received today. I have pre-arranged a well-earned trip to the gym with my evening support worker before my daughter comes home from the childminder. I am looking forward to a swim and a bit of relaxation after a very busy week.

Deafblind UK supports people who are deafblind or have progressive sight and hearing loss.

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