Richard Rankin

Finalist category: Digital Volunteer of the Year Award


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Digital Volunteer of the Year, Finalist, 2018

Giving back to the community as an RNIB volunteer.

Previously an IT consultant, Richard began volunteering with RNIB after looking for something to give back to the community in his retirement.

In his role as a Technology Volunteer for RNIB’s Online Today programme, Richard offers support with digital skills to the charity’s blind and partially (BPS) sighted clients who are digitally excluded. Visiting people at home, Richard’s one-to-one support with digital activities helps clients to regain their independence through the use of technology.  Thoroughly prepared, he researches the IT issues the client is experiencing beforehand so he has good knowledge, and clients are left feeling more confident and better equipped.

Richard displays an outstandingly high level of commitment to technology volunteering, so much so that he has taken on another volunteering role as an IT specialist so he can extend his reach to clients. He has a high level of professionalism and is always reliable and consistent, which is key to helping people feel comfortable and confident.

One client said:

“Richard has such a calm presence, he’s so patient and never gets annoyed. As a result I feel less nervous and am now able to use my Notebook without assistance, he’s been incredible”.

Richard has carried out over 100+ technology volunteering home visits across Essex and surrounding areas in the last three years, which equates to over 300 hours of service. Richard has made a huge positive impact lives of BPS clients and in turn his community. For example, he helped one person use her IPhone, which massively changed her life as she now feels more independent, mobile and less isolated. After Richard’s visits, the client is now able to use her phone to order taxis as well as arrange hairdresser appointments. These may feel like small things but for a BPS person this can be an immense challenge. Richards clients describe him ‘empowering’ and ‘an inspiration’.

Richard has also been an ambassador for the organisation, taking part in an educational video to highlight and promote the role of technology volunteer. The video helped multiple audiences understand what the role encompassed, and inspired more volunteer sign-ups – with a 10% increase in numbers within the first three months of it going live.

Richards selflessness is an inspiration to all the clients and volunteers he deals with – either directly or through the video.

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