Kilrea man Nigel seeks Red Cross helpers

Nigel Barnes
Nigel Barnes

The British Red Cross in Coleraine needs volunteers with good people skills who can spare a few hours a week to help people when they need a wheelchair.

Every year, the Red Cross helps hundreds of people to get moving again when dealing with restricted mobility due to an illness or when recovering from surgery or an injury.

Mobility aids service manager, Fionnuala Molloy, said: “Volunteers use their people skills to support people at what can often be a very difficult time. As well as finding the right wheelchair, they provide much-needed emotional support and understanding. We are looking for compassionate people of all ages and backgrounds with a couple of hours to spare each week, who would like to do something positive for the community. We are especially keen to fill essential customer facing roles and also need drivers who can deliver wheelchairs to people’s homes.”

Kilrea man Nigel Barnes is a volunteer with the British Red Cross’s Mobility Aids Service in Coleraine. He gives 6-8 hours of his time per week.

Nigel said: “My wife Alison is a local girl. We moved here from Wiltshire, where I previously volunteered for the British Red Cross Logistics in Warmley, about four years ago. Shortly after we arrived I took early retirement and I was wondering what I could do in my spare time. My sister-in-law saw an advertisement in the local newspaper and suggested I give it a try.

“The thing I enjoy most about it is meeting new people. You never know who will walk through your door. I’ve met lots of local people and I’ve also met people from all over the world. I’ve met people from Australia and Zimbabwe who have come to us for a short-term wheelchair loan. You get so much satisfaction from helping someone less fortunate that yourself. We are a lifeline for people. When they’re returning their wheelchairs we can signpost them to other things like our Independent Living teams for example. Or if they are interested in volunteering, we can let them know where the opportunities are for them.”