If you are looking for work or trying to get yourself back into the job market volunteering may be a way of making you stand out from the crowd or updating your skills. This page explores how volunteering can support your job-seeking activities.

Many people with macular disease find themselves out of work or unable to continue the types of work that they used to do because of their condition. There is no getting away from the fact that it takes almost twice as long for people who have sight loss to find work. It is not impossible but can feel very frustrating. Volunteering is a way of being proactive with your job seeking and increasing your confidence.

What are some of the barriers to finding a job?

There are some barriers to finding work when you have central vision loss, some are real and some are perceived. Volunteering could be used as a way to understand more fully what these barriers could be and, more importantly, how they can be overcome. Some of the barriers could be:

  • Employers don’t employ people with sight loss
  • People with macular disease don’t or can’t work
  • No employer will take me on because of the cost of equipment
  • I am unskilled
  • I am too old to learn new skills or learn how to use specialist equipment

How could volunteering help?

Most of the barriers listed above are about confidence and the perception held by lots of people who have sight loss and are looking for work. Volunteering is a way of breaking down some of those barriers and therefore starting to increase the confidence of a job seeker with macular disease. Voluntary work can offer the opportunity to:

  • Get back into the habit of going out to work. If you have not worked for a while it is very easy to get out of the habit of having to be up and out of the house and to be at a place of work.
  • Try out a new line of work. If you had been employed as a lorry driver, for example, and then were no longer able to do this because of macular disease, volunteering in another industry will highlight to you whether you enjoy it and therefore if it is worth pursuing.
  • If you have been out of work for a little while voluntary work is a great way to have recent experience on your CV. This will potentially support you with looking and feeling more relevant to employers who are considering you for interview.
  • Update your existing skills but may also teach you new skills and enhance your experience which again will make you more relevant to a potential employer
  • Know what kind of work you are able to do with the level of sight that you have and more importantly what kind of support either from a person or equipment you will need to be able to fulfil a job role affectively
  • Demonstrate that you may not be quite ready to go back to work and perhaps you should put job seeking on hold and revisit it later
  • Volunteering for an organisation makes you part of their team. This can reduce isolation caused by sight loss which cannot be understated which is really good for your mental health and well-being.

Would you like further information about the benefits of volunteering as part of job seeking?

Please give the Macular Society Helpline a call on 0300 3030 111. Alternatively, contact Colin Daniels, Working Age & Young People’s service manager on colin.daniels@macularsociety.org

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Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to financial support from the government. Welfare benefits are available to help those living with macular disease, and their families, with extra costs.

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We provide free information and support to those with macular disease, along with their family and friends, to help people keep their independence.

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Free confidential advice and support

Call our helpline on 0300 3030 111

Lines are open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

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