Jacqui Richomme volunteers with Guide Dogs
'When I left full time employment it was always with the intention of becoming a volunteer for a charity. I tried a couple of different roles before I eventually found the perfect one for me. This was always going to be a two way street, I wanted to feel I was achieving something as well as giving something back to the community.
'I saw an article in the JEP back in 2012 asking for anyone who may be interested in becoming a Guide Dog Puppy Walker (now referred to as a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser) to attend a meeting - I jumped at the chance. I really did not expect to be a successful candidate but I was soon to be proved wrong.
'I have raised 7 Guide Dog Pups to date. Five of which made the grade and have qualified. Even though the sadness of having to say goodbye to them was heart breaking when it was time for them to leave, I am so proud of these dogs. Taking on this voluntary role has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life. The rewards are immense, not only have I learnt so much about dog behaviour and psychology, I have met so many wonderful people from various walks of life. I have made many genuine friends along the way and even found the confidence to push my own boundaries.
'For anyone thinking of taking up a voluntary role, I encourage them wholeheartedly to do so. You are in control and can move away freely if the role is not for you. Finding the right role is a voyage in itself and you can do it under your own steam. The rewards are wonderful. To feel you are needed and to feel you are helping someone else gives you a purpose in life and you are rewarded with immense self respect.'