Ruth on Warren

Warren – when I think of LOOK events, the values and most importantly the people at the heart of LOOK – you’re at the centre of that mental picture. Having you involved in the LOOK community is an absolute privilege and a joy – thank you.

Your written mentoring skills are simply breathtaking – we know you pour huge amounts of energy and thought into all you do. Your mentees value having a mentor so committed to supporting them and who is eager to share their knowledge and ideas.

Your skill set encompasses so much; from making uni life as workable and fun as possible, to knowing your rights and what services can support you. When sharing ideas on getting more involved in the VI community, sports and travel you are helpful, dynamic and across it all.

Running this project with so many people involved across the country with different agendas and needs, is often a lot to map and make careful plans to support. Having a mentor like you makes this all so much more achievable – you attend all our meetings, again sharing fantastic ideas and support, you want to get involved in other LOOK projects and share a calmness and sense of fun in all you do.

We cannot wait for another LOOKFest and another opportunity for you to make photos hilarious; where will the next fancy dress take you?! From this tiny acorn springs a giant oak of knowledge and LOOK love.

Meet Warren

Warren stands in the middle of a group of people in a sports hall, wearing blue and white 'Cambridge Dons' Goalball tops.
Warren, coaching new arrivals at Goalball – on his birthday!

My name is Warren, I’m 31 and based in Ely, the ship of the Fens.

I lost much of my sight at 19, so didn’t use LOOK as a kid and first discovered the charity at a PGL when I was 23. After frankly too much time on my part deliberating about whether or not I would be able to be a good enough volunteer for the LOOK mentor project, I finally became a mentor in April 2019.

Any fears I had about not being able to do a good enough job as a mentor were allayed by LOOK at the training weekend. The training covered many of the basics I would need to be able to do a good job as a mentor. We had case study examples of mentoring, training on making sure we are able to keep ourselves and our mentees safe, sessions on active listening and much more. By the time I was on the Brightside platform I was feeling ready and raring to go.

The experience of mentoring has been incredibly rewarding, I have been matched with people going through a similar experience to me, losing sight in their late teens, early twenties and experiencing going through university recently after losing sight. I feel I’ve had the opportunity to share some of my experiences, hints and tips and work with people to support them as they work out what they want to do in life and how to do that after losing sight as a young adult. A huge thanks to LOOK for running such a brilliant service.

Goalball

Just a quick shameless plug here. One of the things that has provided me with so much support to adapting to living with a visual impairment after losing much of my sight at 19 is the opportunity to meet up with other visually impaired people of the same age. There are a few different things that have facilitated this, but the one I want to plug is goalball. I have met so many brilliant people through playing a very fun and accessible sport. When I started playing goalball I wasn’t hugely sporty, but thanks to their incredibly accessible structure with leagues at three ability levels, I was able to start at entry level and end up playing at each level domestically. I’ve made so many friends along the way, too. So, here’s a link to a club I’m a founding member of, the Cambridge Dons Goalball Club. Please give this great sport a go and I hope to see you at a tournament before too long 🙂

From Warren’s mentee

‘Warren is a lovely person I’m fortunate to have as my mentor. He has been helpful in signposting places and brings his advice and tips to life in a real way by sharing his experience. He totally deserves this award as he is such a well-intentioned, kind person and I am so happy to have met him. He has helped me build my confidence with my stick and going out socially. He’s also really helping me with uni and how to prepare for my dissertation. I am so grateful to him for his continued support.’

LOOK provides a free, tailored peer-mentoring service that connects VI young people with a trained VI mentor to offer advice, support and guidance on subjects such as school, Further & Higher Education, careers, opportunities and independent living, based on the mentor’s own experiences.

You can find out more about our mentoring service, here.