Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Sporting Life for Blind Youngsters; I Can Do That Being Made Redundant Was a Major Shake-Up for Darlington Dad Mike Ferguson - but with Help from Action for Blind People It Has All Turned out to Be Change for the Better

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Sporting Life for Blind Youngsters; I Can Do That Being Made Redundant Was a Major Shake-Up for Darlington Dad Mike Ferguson - but with Help from Action for Blind People It Has All Turned out to Be Change for the Better

Article excerpt

Byline: MARIE TURBILL reports.

WITH redundancy looming Mike Ferguson was unsure where life would take him next.

The Darlington dad-of-two had been an audio-typist with the same company for almost 16 years.

"It didn't come as a complete shock because we had known for a while that it was in the offing," says Mike.

But when the news finally broke in March last year he says it was obviously a worrying time.

"It was a job that I had just sort of drifted in to and didn't expect to stay for that long but you get in to your comfort zone," he says. "It was a job that I could do independently and didn't need to rely on anyone else."

Leaving his comfort zone came as a jolt to Mike but he says it also made him rethink his future.

"The job suited me but it wasn't particularly challenging," he says.

"Being made redundant made me think that perhaps I should stretch myself a bit more."

For advice and inspiration Mike, who is blind, contacted Action for Blind People.

The charity was able to help the dad-of-two examine his options.

"About last May I started doing volunteer work with the Actionnaires club in Sunderland," he says.

He explains that Actionnaires is a multi-sports club for blind and partially sighted children, set up by Action for Blind People.

"I used to go up there on a Saturday to do voluntary work helping to encourage the youngsters," he says. "I am blind so I wanted them to see that if I can do it they can."

Mike, who has always enjoyed sport, found he enjoyed the new challenge.

In the mean time Action for Blind People assisted Mike by helping to negotiate with his former employer to see if there were any other positions in the company he could transfer to.

When it became clear there were no suitable vacancies the charity then helped him to write a CV and develop his interview techniques.

"Obviously I hadn't had an interview for a long time so they asked me potential interview questions and we went through face to face meetings," he says.

"When you have been in a role for so long it is hard to imagine yourself doing something else.

"I was finding it hard to decide what I would like to do and would be capable of. …

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