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Local charity helps football fan

A lifelong Annan Athletic football fan has been able to rekindle his love of the beautiful game in time for the World Cup with the help of a volunteer from local charity Visibility, which works with people living with sight and hearing loss across Dumfries & Galloway.

Graham Wallace, 66, of Annan, has been a staunch supporter of the Black & Golds for many years, attending games and helping as a steward in the South of Scotland and East of Scotland Leagues before the club joined the Scottish Football League (SFL) set-up in 2008.

But a stroke left Mr Wallace with visual field loss and he was unable to attend games due to the difficulty of travelling to and around the Galabank stadium.

Now, thanks to a new initiative from Visibility, based at Nithbank, Dumfries, Mr Wallace caught the final few matches of the season and, despite being on the wrong end of an eight-goal thriller on his last visit, he is already looking forward to next season.

Mr Wallace said: “I’ve been going to see Annan for years, and I really missed getting out on a Saturday to the football. I think my wife missed her Saturday afternoons too!

“Jordan, the young lad who volunteers to take me to games, has been great. We get along very well and although the football season is now finished we are still planning on going out for walks over the summer.”

Jordan Sutherland, 19, a student at Dumfries & Galloway College, recently started volunteering with Visibility and he admits to being pleasantly surprised at ending up on the terraces on a Saturday afternoon.

He said: “When I initially volunteered, I thought I’d be helping people out shopping or sorting errands in town. So, as a football fan, it has been nice from that side of things. But most importantly it’s been great to help Mr Wallace do something again that, until recently, has been a big part of his life.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mr Wallace and I really feel strongly about what the See Hear project is doing locally. It’s been a rewarding experience from a personal point of view, and I couldn’t recommend it strongly enough to anyone who has some spare time.”

With National Volunteer Week taking place at the beginning of June, Allison McCourt, Visibility’s Volunteer Support Worker, said: “We are looking for caring volunteers like Jordan to assist with this exciting project across Nithsdale, Annandale & Eskdale. As little as an hour or two of your time a week can help reduce loneliness and isolation, giving people with sight and hearing loss the support to get out and about locally.

“Whether it’s getting out to the shops, going for a coffee or getting along to support your local football team, our approach is flexible and our aim to help support people living with sensory loss to lives their lives fully, confidently and independently.

“If you can help us meet these goals and make a difference to the lives of local people who may be struggling with a recent diagnosis or deteriorating condition, we’d love to hear from you.”

Visibility’s See Hear Project can provide information, the chance to meet other people, learning opportunities and practical support to people living with sight, hearing or dual sensory loss right across Dumfries & Galloway. Full training and on going support is provided to volunteers and expenses are reimbursed. This volunteer support is funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

To find out more, contact Allison McCourt, Volunteer Support Worker, on 01387 267 131, text 07508 685262 or email seehear@visibility.org.uk

 
 
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