Maureen Hurrell, of Randalstown, has been named ‘People’s Champion’ by Action on Hearing Loss’ for her volunteer work befriending people with hearing loss in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust area.
The Awards, held annually by Action on Hearing Loss during National Volunteer Week (1-8 June), recognise volunteers for their vital role in delivering the charity’s services to people with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss in Northern Ireland.
Maureen volunteers for the charity’s Befriending Service, which matches older isolated people with hearing loss with a local volunteer who visits them twice a month to provide social support. Since starting as a volunteer in 2014, Maureen has supported four people with hearing loss and currently visits three ladies in the Northern Trust.
Mariette Mulvenna, Team Leader for the project, said: “Maureen is an extremely reliable, respectful and passionate volunteer with a warm, kind and caring nature. She finds things in common with her befriendees; they have a good chat, cup of tea, and laugh about lots of different things. She sometimes takes them out for lunch, and helps them go for groceries and appointments.”
The difference Maureen makes in lives of the people she befriends is evident: one lady recently said: “I have a great laugh and I enjoy the conversation. I look forward to Maureen coming to visit.” Another lady said “[Maureen] tells me all about her family and everything which is very interesting…She makes me laugh - she’s really comical at times.”
As well as providing social support, Maureen also volunteers for the charity’s Hearing Aid User Support Service, providing NHS hearing aid users in Cookstown with new batteries, retubing and cleaning their hearing aids and providing information on how to get the best out of their hearing aids.
She said: “I wanted to learn how I could better support the ladies I befriend so I began shadowing the Hearing Aid User Support volunteers to learn the necessary skills. To achieve this award is an honour. I love being around people and believe that time with others, is time well spent. This is especially true of the older generation – the people I have met through Action on Hearing Loss. They talk of their experiences – it’s a two way process. I learn a lot and I hope they enjoy my company.”
To find out about volunteering for Action on Hearing Loss, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/volunteering,
or call 028 9023 9619.