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Amy Rollitt

Photograph of Amy

The Magic of Mappin Street 

SRSB client, supporter and volunteer Amy Rollitt credits what she calls: “The magic of Mappin Street,” with giving her a new lease of life. Now she’s got her mojo back she’s on a mission to do all she can to help other people improve their lives too.

Amy’s name will be a familiar one to anyone who reads the SRSB blog. She’s written lots of the articles this year and also co-ordinates stories to be uploaded to the site. Taking on that challenge marked a turning point for the 29-year-old.

“I’ve got a lot more motivated, I am a lot happier than I used to be, a lot more willing to try new things. I have realised that I am not going to regret trying something but I might regret not doing it.”

Amy’s first real contact with SRSB was after her vision deteriorated to the extent that she had to stop working as a nursery nurse and was registered as sight impaired.

“A few days later I got a call from Carolyn Green, one of the Community Advice Officers, and she was really informative and understanding and helped me with lots of things I didn’t know I was entitled to. Carolyn has been trying to encourage me to come into the centre for years but I didn’t deal with things well and I was in denial about my worsening sight.”

Then last year Amy agreed to do a mobility training course learning to use a guide cane. Despite her reservations about it she found it useful and it helped her develop her new-found confidence. That coincided with being asked to help at SRSB with the blog.

Now she comes into Mappin Street at least once a week and gets involved  with lots of other things as well as the blog, including the new My Guide project which aims to help people with VI to get out and do the things they want to do.

“I love coming here. I find the writing very therapeutic. I just put down my thoughts about living with sight problems, I try to use a bit of humour too. I try to make people a little bit more considerate by writing about my own experiences. I am surprised by the good comments I have got. I’m encouraging other people to contribute too. Even if they cannot read or write very well we can find a way to make it work for them.

“I have gone from being someone who dreaded even making a phone call to going on the radio and doing a live interview.”

The other big change for Amy has been taking up a sport she loved at school – trampolining!

“I know the thought of a blind person trampolining seems to be asking for trouble,” she laughs, “but I just needed to do it and I did. I go to Ponds Forge. I tried a one-to-one session and then a group taster session. As soon as I got on I loved it, I was hooked. Now I go as often as I can.”

Amy’s next goal is to return to paid work and she’s working with Carolyn to explore the possibilities of training to be a counsellor. It’s a goal for the coming year but she has already decided that whatever happens she will still make time to come into Mappin Street – and enjoy the magic.

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Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind links