Monday, 2 July 2012

Walsall Society For The Blind


Walsall Society for the Blind is being supported by St. Martin’s Mission Giving for 2012, in this article, written for our newsletter, Ruth Gibbons writes about the work of Walsall Society for the Blind. 

In today’s society 90 % of people say that their sight is the one sense they fear losing the most. Too few people understand  the importance of eye health care and do not have regular eye check up’s at opticians.  Most people only have eye sight tests as their vision deteriorates and for some eye conditions that is too late.  In this country 50 % of sight loss is avoidable.

Too many people struggle every day with the emotional impact of sight loss.  Most people go through a process of grieving when they lose their sight but not me.  I have never had a sight test, never seen light or dark and never experienced colour, it’s all just one shade of what I imagine is the colour black.  I do not grieve something I never had and have learned to adapt and develop coping skills and strategies so that I am independent within my own home and even with all this independence I rely on support from others.

Too many blind and partially sighted people are living in a world  that limits their potential.  Just the simple things in life become a challenge..  It is not anybody that you want to read your bank statement or other private mail.  Although most blind people can operate a cash point it can become a problem if a message appears on screen as simple as would you like 10 or 20 pound notes? As I cannot read the screen I could stand there for hours.  I cannot vote alone as I cannot see the box in which to mark a cross and if mom helps me out in the kitchen and moves the tinned food, trust me, even with years of practice it’s hard to tell the difference between baked beans and tinned peaches just by shaking them!

At Walsall Society for the Blind from the initial onset of sight loss, we are there to support individuals, their families and carers’ needs.  We give reliable access and relevant information on eye conditions, eye care, sight loss services support networks and legal entitlements, in a wide range of formats. We also signpost to specialist services.  We enable people to understand their options, select services and make informed decisions.  Because we are a charity we benefit from being an independent service being able to support all people in the borough experiencing sight loss.  We are non judgemental and do not have to complete financial assessments.  We are here to support all individuals from all walks of life, the only common factor is sight loss. We are the major sight loss provider in Walsall and rely on the generosity of people, who continue to support us through volunteering, fundraising, donations and legacies. If you can help please contact us.  Ruth Gibbons, Walsall Society for the Blind.