Fundraiser Charlotte Nickson, 21, from Coventry, joined HOME in 2016. She has a visual impairment but, working with guide dog Leila, it doesn't stop her from raising money for good causes with HOME.
How did you first get into fundraising?
About eight months ago, I was looking for a job in my gap year before going to university to study biology and I wanted to do something worthwhile with my time. I saw the vacancy advertised online and the work sounded really interesting.
I have a condition called Albinism which affects the pigmentation in my skin, hair and eyes. This means that I have blurred vision and struggle to focus. This can make life more challenging, but I don't want to let it stop me from doing the things I want to do.
How does this visual impairment affect your work as a fundraiser?
When I fundraise, my guide dog Leila helps me to navigate by guiding me to front doors and locating my team members. I'm quite independent: when I get to a front door, Leila will stand behind me. This means people don't always notice her straight away so they don't realise I have an impairment. When people do spot Leila it's always a positive reaction. They tend to fuss over her, especially if they have children.
What do you enjoy most about being a fundraiser?
The best part of the role is speaking to different people and hearing their stories. Some people can be very chatty especially if they're familiar with the charity's work. You also learn a lot about what's going on in the local community from other people which is great. No two conversations are the same.
One of my best moments was when a dog bounded out a front door and jumped on me and gave me a kiss. The owner had told me she didn't want to donate and was closing the door when her dog dived out. While rescuing the dog, the woman noticed Leila - who was stood quietly behind me - and we ended up speaking for 20 minutes. We had a great chat and, in the end, she decided she wanted to give after all.
If you like talking to people and you're good at listening it can be a lot of fun as you have some really interesting conversations.
What charities have you been raising money for?
Since working for HOME, I've fundraised for three different charities: Guide Dogs, Macmillan and Scope. It's always nice when you can share your passion for causes with other people. When fundraising for Guide Dogs for six months, I found it really helpful to draw on my own personal experiences of sight loss and life with Leila.
What's it like working for HOME?
I have a great team. We all have a laugh together on our breaks. I didn't expect it to be as challenging and interesting as it was. I know some people find it difficult getting to grips with speaking to new people all the time, but the training is good and it's boosted my confidence about what I can achieve. I really enjoy it.