FOR nearly a century a small but dedicated group has been hard at work in Wigan Borough providing a little extra help to those who have no sight.
The names and faces behind Wigan and Leigh District Society for the Blind may have changed many times over the years but the spirit of the organisation, founded in 1917, remains strong.
The group provides help and advice to members of the blind community across our borough throughout the year – from regular social events and activities through to practical assistance with money matters and getting the right support.
Anne Fairhurst, who is the society’s secretary, explained: “For many blind people in our borough there are real issues about isolation and feeling trapped and alone so a lot of our work is about improving social contact.
“We hold many regular events in different parts of the borough aimed as bringing blind people together in an atmosphere where they can enjoy each other’s company and support each other.”
And now the help offered by the group is about to improve even further with the opening of the society’s new resource centre in Wigan.
Based on Scarisbrick Street, the small, yet perfectly formed centre is a one-stop-shop for blind people.
As well as people like Anne being on hand to help out, the centre offers visitors the unique option to ‘try before they buy’ when it comes to aids and equipment.
Anne said: “With finances being very important it is better that people are allowed to try before they buy and avoid buying the wrong item.
“When it comes to items like ‘talking’ clocks and watches, sticks and other aids they can often be very expensive. The resource centre stocks demonstration models of lots of different items so the visitor can try them and make sure they are right for them before choosing to invest in them.”
There are currently more than 360 people across our borough registered with the Wigan and Leigh District Blind Society, but Anne and her colleagues believe there could be many more who would benefit from their help.
“It could be simply that people are not aware of us even though we have been around for quite some time,” said Anne.
“We believe the new centre will help us to reach even more blind people in our borough and we look forward to welcoming them in.”
The new Wigan and Leigh District Society for the Blind’s Resource Centre is at No 4 Scarisbrick Street, Wigan.
For more information you can call the society on 01942 242891 or email Wigan and Leigh District for the Blind