My MVS Story


John McDonald of MVS Northumbria tells us about his experience of the MVS.

My name is John McDonald and I have volunteered with the MVS for five years.
I have a brain injury, however, my disability does not stop me from being an active member of the Northumbria Unit, although I do have to take some extra precautions.

To be a safe member of the unit I must declare my disability, not only on the membership medical form but also to my Head of Unit.
This is so that when I’m on active duty the necessary support is put around me to help me to participate and also to ensure the safety of myself and other crew members.

Reporting how I am on each day to the designated person in charge is also important.
I inform them of how my brain injury is affecting me as it can affect my balance and cognitive functions which is how I think.

If needed a designated crew member will keep a check on me or I may be on a vessel as a non-active member so I can gain learning without actively crewing the vessel.
Should I feel unwell I will either not attend, or I’ll watch from the shore.
If you have a disability, you can still be an active member provided you disclose your disability for effective support to be put around you.

I have enjoyed five years of active volunteering on the water with the MVS because of the support that has been put around me and having a disability shouldn’t stop anyone doing what they want to do.