Against All Odds
Ruban Shangmuganathan from Bexhill has overcome ill‐health and disability to become a valued volunteer with local charity, Hastings Furniture Service. His achievement was recognized with an Against All Odds award this week. Naomi Ridley, chief executive of HFS writes about Ruban’s achievements.
Ruban contracted meningitis which left him with memory and language problems. He also has arthritis in one hand, giving him a condition known as claw hand. Ruban has been living at the brain injury rehabilitation unit while he works on his recovery. Volunteering at Hastings Furniture Service (HFS) has become part of his recovery programme this year and has lead to Ruban winning the award from Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA).
HVA gives the Against All Odds awards for volunteers who have overcome their own challenges to help others through volunteering. The awards were established in memory of Fran McKeown who worked for HVA and was an enthusiastic campaigner for community action. The awards themselves are hand‐made works of art by Sussex Coast College Hastings students. Linda Coad made the award given to Ruban.
Joining the team at HFS one day per week in March, Ruban became more committed to his physiotherapy exercises, because he wanted to be able to do more at HFS. He now helps move furniture in the store, takes apart and mends small items.
“We have seen huge improvements in his communication and confidence, feeling part of the team. He is also gaining better use of his hand by carefully lifting and carrying items with others.” said Angie Lowe, who supports volunteers at HFS and nominated Ruban for the award.
The rehabilitation centre has also noted the improvements which make having his physiotherapy a little easier. Ruban now volunteers with HFS two days a week and plans to increase this soon, because he wants to give more back to the community.
“We are very proud and thankful to have Ruban as one of our volunteers” said Angie from HFS “Ruban’s story shows that volunteering can help people move towards their own goals, while doing something useful and helping others in our community. If you’d like to find out more about volunteering at HFS, please do get in touch via our website or phone 01424 441112.
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