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      Spotlight on Annie Cornbleet

      This month, we caught up with Annie, our Volunteer Receptionist in London, who joined Action on Hearing Loss to satisfy a need for more structure in her life, after retiring from her role as a head teacher.

      How long have you been volunteering with Action on Hearing Loss?

      I started with Action on Hearing Loss in June 2017.

      What was your motivation to become a volunteer?

      I live near Highbury Station Road and often park my car there when I need to catch the train. The building kind of pulled me in one day when I was waiting to pick someone up from the train. I’d been retired from my job as a head teacher for several years and was bored and looking to add some much-needed structure to my life of ‘freedom’. As I have a serious hearing loss myself and have suffered from chronic tinnitus for more than 35 years, I was drawn to enquire about volunteering opportunities. The rest, as they say, is history…

      Tell us a bit about your role – what does it involve?

      I work on reception just one afternoon a week – Tuesdays. I help out with answering the phone, distributing the post and other admin tasks as required. I also welcome visitors and offer tea or coffee.

      What do you enjoy most about volunteering with Action on Hearing Loss?

      I really like the people. From day one, people have been kind and interested in me and.I feel very much part of a small team. I don’t know deaf people in my ‘real’ life and I find that, in just one short afternoon a week, I can really relax about my deafness and tinnitus and never feel judged. It’s such a relief! I also enjoyed the training I was given when I first started and the occasional biomed lunch-time talks which I’ve found really interesting.

      What great outcomes from your volunteering stick in your mind?

      It was heartening to be present at the Pod Awards, to see the very important work being carried out throughout the organisation.

      What advice or knowledge would you pass on to a new Action on Hearing Loss volunteer?

      Be open to learn as much as possible and be willing to be challenged on preconceived thinking about deafness and tinnitus…and to listen well.

      Tell us something interesting about yourself

      I have been a patient at the Ear, Nose and Throat hospital for more than 15 years. I was surprised and shocked to learn that the two groups of professionals with the worst attitude to deafness are doctors and teachers!

      Share your story

      To share your experiences of volunteering, your motivations, and advice, contact to appear in our ‘Spotlight on’ feature. 

      Annie Cornbleet
      Annie Cornbleet