A Hull and East Yorkshire charity, supporting people with visual impairment has today changed its name from HERIB to Sight Support Support Hull and East Yorkshire.
The rebrand and name change aims to engage more people, whatever their degree of visual impairment, through its wide ranging support services.
Ann Kohler was registered blind in 2011 and speaking at the special celebratory event on Friday, told the audience about her experience and why she is so grateful to Sight Support for the services they provide:
“My world fell apart when the consultant told me he was registering me as blind and initially I was helped very much by the Sensory Team with cane training and general awareness of living with sight impairment. When I was introduced to HERIB, they asked if I would like to be involved with a group sing at Hull City Hall as part of the Intergenerational Choir. Taking part was fulfilling, uplifting and the event was a great success, so we formed the HERIB singing group – now known as Sight Support Singing Group.”
“Through our SocialEYES Group, I enjoy tenpin bowling and have been able to participate, enjoying so many events and activities, all of which I could not have done alone.”
“I am an active member of the acoustic shooting group and was part of a team of visually impaired people who attended The British Open Blind Championships for Acoustic Shooting in Birmingham last year, I left with a gold medal.”
“We also attended the Rotary Disability Games this month for the first time. I came runner-up in the curling event and one of our other members came runner-up in the archery – but we’ll be winners next year!”
“The Blind Driving challenge has to be one of my favourite activities because I had really missed driving so this was the best feeling. And this year, I am hoping to do a tandem skydive in aid of Sight Support.”
“Overall, I can say that I have made many very good friends, it actually feels like one big family and with its new name and branding, I know Sight Support will be the number one place for anyone with a visual impairment to begin their own journey and gain confidence, friendship and support to live a fulfilling and independent life in the same way I am.”
Claire Potter, aged 18 has been blind from birth. She has been a member of HERIB for seven years and enjoys taking part in the activities but has also received training support and is currently on work placement as an aromatherapy masseur. Claire believes the name change will make more sense of the charity to people her age and invites them to come and get involved. She says:
“The name HERIB sounded nice but when I thought about it more in detail, the words institute and blind, were quite misleading because it made the whole charity seem old fashioned almost as if I would become institutionalised without any choices, much more old fashioned than it actually is and the word blind felt as if it were just for people with no sight, rather than having varying levels of sight impairment. The name Sight Support explains exactly with the charity is about. Support being the operative word.”
“There is such a big list of help from Sight Support. It has been a lifeline for me and the opportunities have been incredible. If I hadn’t come along, I would be missing out on the fantastic, fun activities that we all get involved in. Anything from going to a socialise walk or going on a trip and also getting training. I have recently taken part in technology training. I was struggling to use computers and to be able to progress in employment and education, something that is really important to me, it is vital that am able to use them.”
“My favourite activity at the moment is the walking group. We meet people, get outside and then go for a meal afterwards and just have a nice time with nice people.”
“I would like to tell anyone around my age group to come and get involved. Sight Support will give you choices and support you in the way you want to be supported. No one will judge you or patronise you, everything is person centred and you’ll be treated as the individual you are.”
Sandra Ackroyd, Chief Executive of Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire says:
“I am so happy to finally announce our new name and feel confident it will broaden the appeal of our services so that more people benefit.”
“To give you an idea, Hull Eye Clinic sees on average four hundred and fifty people each month with varying levels of sight loss. We had been aware of the issues surrounding our identity for some time and felt no-one should have to face sight loss alone, nor miss out on the support we provide, so we ran a market research programme amongst members, supporters, key partnership and members of the public to find the right name for us and I am delighted with the result.”
Sight Support’s services are vast and include; day centres in various locations across Hull and East Yorkshire (catering for two-hundred members), a resource centre full of useful aids, equipment and information, home visiting, telephone befriending, supported housing, transcription services and visual impairment training for businesses, organisations and the public.
Activity groups include a tandem cycling club, acoustic shooting, fitness sessions, walking, tenpin bowling, singing, football and a calendar of outings and events throughout the year.
Having a visual impairment does not always mean that a person is unable to see. There are many different types and over the coming months Sight Support will continue to raise awareness of sight loss through a social media campaign using the region’s iconic images including; the Humber Bridge, Beverley Minster and the KCOM Stadium, each adapted to simulate how people with various eye conditions view the world – #whateyesee.
For further information on Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire, please call 01482 342297.