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Seeing a way forward

Seeing A Way Forward

How an East Grinstead group is helping people with sight problems.

Having a sight problem can sometimes leave people feeling lonely and isolated.

Unable to go places by themselves, many stay at home with little to look forward to in terms of days out or having fun.

East Grinstead Visually Impaired Group aims to change this by offering friendship, along with a range of events, to those who have problems with their vision.

Jan Barnard, the group’s fundraiser and Marketing Officer, is hoping more visually impaired people within the East Grinstead area, will join the group.

“It can be lonely to lose or partially lose your sight, but joining our group means people can make friends with the same condition,” she says.

“We are a very friendly group where everyone gets along and enjoys meeting up. The club is an outlet for people not able to take public transport to get places but who want to get out more.” Transport is offered from door to door.

The group, which used to be known as the East Grinstead Blind Club, meets year round on the second Monday of each month at Swan Mead Day Centre, in Queens Road.

Lunch is provided, along with entertainment and a talk in winter and visits out from April onwards.

Recent outings have included tea and shopping at a local garden centre, visits to Heaven Farm in Danehill and Barnsgate Manor, near Crowborough, and lunch at a hotel in Eastbourne followed by a walk on the pier.

“Current membership stands at around 25 and we would like to see this number rise,” says Jan.

“We are a mixed club with an age group of late 50s to 90s. Members have a range of sight problems, such as being partially sighted or having cataracts, but everyone
is welcome.”

The group is run as an independent charity with members making a small donation for lunches and teas.

Jan hopes more people in the East Grinstead area with sight problems will join in the group’s activities.

“Just come along and see what we do,” she says. “We’re a happy bunch, enjoying ourselves and having fun, and you will get a great welcome!”

For more details, call Jan on 07850 015825, or Joan Rees on 01342 323260.

By Caroline Hardy

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