Creativity is at the heart of one former trainee’s volunteering
Lenny Jordan, 54, is a former adult trainee at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC). He studied Level 2 Instructing Exercise and Fitness and since then has also rediscovered a love for art, creating pieces that have been commissioned to go up in thePoint4, RNC’s local gym and sports facility. He also enjoys spending his time with the ASPIRE group, helping them with their creations.
His passion for sport, combined with his previous study of anatomy and physiology at RNC, led Lenny to sketch images of the body in different forms. The initial sketches are undertaken in the kitchen-turned-studio of his home in Luton; he then paints in acrylic and oils at the College in Hereford, where they go on display around thePoint4. Ten large pieces will be on show in total, capturing various aspects of leisure and fitness.
When in Hereford, Lenny volunteers with students on RNC’s ASPIRE course, and intends to continue to support them regularly when he has completed his move to the city. He gets stuck in with the students, creating items for sale, but has found that this shared time is spent doing so much more:
“I am helping one blind student to ‘think’, to see with his hands and to build an awareness of objects, shapes, and surroundings. For example, if he is holding a tool, I am helping him to think of it as an extension of his hand, creating an awareness of the space around him, which allows him to work more safely for himself and others. It is about giving him the confidence to do things for himself in a mindful way. Working with the ASPIRE students challenges me, too. It teaches me things, and I love helping out.”
Kerry Hunter, Teacher in Charge of ASPIRE, said: “Our students have grown in confidence and developed their skills so much during this first term, and look forward to Lenny joining in their sessions. Having someone who lives with very low vision has given us, as teachers, insight into how we can help the members of ASPIRE, as well as encourages the students to come up with working strategies of their own. This kind of volunteering truly is invaluable.”
Students develop a range of skills from woodwork and painting to customer service and team work. This provides fun, hands-on work based learning activities, allowing students to gain real skills in a variety of areas, contributing to their future employment prospects.
“The world of visual impairment can be a frustrating and lonely one. Art has helped me to feel a sense of wellbeing and empowerment, enabling me to feel equal to my sighted counterparts. Ultimately, I hope that I may share my strengths and life experience and offer opportunities to support others’ confidence, improving their spirit, wellbeing and reconnection with others.”
If you would like to know more about the ASPIRE course, please contact Student Enquiries on 01432 376 621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about Lenny’s artwork at thePoint4 fitness centre, call 01432 376 376 or email email@example.com
Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications and Outreach Officer at RNC