Darryl began volunteering with the MS Trust in 2022. Here he talks about his experience of volunteering and what inspired him to get involved.
Darryl's volunteering story
5 December 2022
I have been volunteering for the MS Trust since the middle of 2022. I saw an advert on Twitter for Read & Review Volunteers, and after reading the description of the role, I felt it was something I could contribute to. I’d spent my career in education including twenty years as a primary school headteacher, and as well as writing documents for a range of audiences, I’d also reviewed many policies and documents written by others (including thousands of school reports!). I was pleased to be accepted for the role, although I must confess to feeling a bit daunted when the first batch of documents came through. However, the support from the MS Trust has been great, and I now feel like I’m finding my feet with the role and able to make a contribution.
The documents the MS Trust produces are many and varied, full of research-based detail and written with a range of audiences in mind. As Read & Review Volunteers we are asked to consider those audiences and whether the documents convey information in the right way – are they too long or too short, is the information clearly presented, are there any obvious gaps etc? There may be the odd typo (although most of the documents have been through several review processes, so these are very rare), but more often it is a case of looking at the information overall and suggesting minor tweaks for updating. It is a very rewarding role, and one that certainly gets the grey matter working again.
The most important review criterion is whether understanding of the issue has improved after reading the information, and here of course is where the self-interest in the role comes in. I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) in 2017 (although I had had a bout of optic neuritis in 2011 which was almost certainly my first relapse), and like most MSers I go to the tried and trusted places, like the MS Trust and MS Society, for my information. I know first-hand how good that information is and how important it is for it to be presented in the right way, and it’s therefore highly rewarding to be able to make a contribution, however small, to that process.
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