‘Providing help is extremely rewarding’

Ivan Dodds’ official job title is National Contact Centre Advisor but sometimes it might as well be ‘problem solver’.

He is one of the Blind Foundation team, but he is also low vision himself. He landed his role in our National Contact Centre after completing a work experience placement and has been working with us in the four years since.

Every day he receives calls from people looking for help. Whether they want to be connected with a service offered by the Blind Foundation, or whether he can help with another request, Ivan will.

Most commonly he helps with library requests, requests for our services, and helps with the administration of appointments with our rehabilitation staff members such as Adaptive Daily Living specialists.

He and his team members, often go above and beyond the call of duty to help with some unlikely requests.

“One time I had a gentleman call me asking if I could help him rehome his cat. And I did, I googled cat shelters in his area and gave him the contact details.”

The person that Ivan was assisting didn’t have access to internet so Ivan could make this task easier for him.

Often our National Contact Centre Advisors are someone’s first point of contact to the Blind Foundation and Ivan explains:

“A lot of the time people need someone to lend an ear in their time of need. It’s a very rewarding job when you are able to help someone through a difficult time.”

He recently received a call from someone who recognised Ivan’s South African accent: “She said that I helped her through a tough time in 2015.”

Understanding personally what it is like to have a vision impairment helps Ivan connect and relate to problems people are facing.

“When you tell someone you have a vision impairment, their whole attitude changes and they are prepared to listen.

“I have had a lifetime to adjust to my vision impairment, and sometimes it’s nice for people to know that it’s not the end of the world and hear from someone who is functioning and leading a normal life.

“When you are able to comfort people like that it is very rewarding.”

The National Contact Centre can help you with a range of queries including:

  • Joining the library, finding books you want to read and help with using a DAISY player to read your books on.
  • Equipment queries such as purchasing equipment and returning for repair.
  • Checking appointment details.
  • Assisting with requests for services – including both new clients and existing clients needing new services.
  • Assistance with obtaining Total Mobility cards – regionally dependent.
  • Letters confirming that you are a client of the Blind Foundation.
  • Trouble-shooting basic technology problems like voice-over on iPads.
  • Information about upcoming events, such as Let’s Talk events, pop-up offices and equipment display days.
  • Updating your contact details and checking membership status.

Get in touch with our National Contact Centre by calling 0800 24 33 33 or email generalenquiries@blindfoundation.org.nz