Supporting visually impaired people of Reading since 1883
We are a charitable association offering services to the Blind and visually impaired in Reading Berkshire UK.
About Reading Association for the Blind
Reading Blind Aid Society was formed in 1883 and then changed to Reading Association for the Blind in 1926 and has supported the sight impaired people of Reading ever since. Our objective has been to enable sight impaired people to live full and active lives by providing the opportunity to take part in activities that they may otherwise not be able to, such as visiting our social club, rambling, taking part in our craft club, social outings, theatre trips, sport, holidays, learning new skills such as IT or accessing support from our home visiting service. People suffering from sight impairment often suffer with isolation and social exclusion and we do all we can to promote social interaction and inclusion in society. In many cases it can be difficult for them to leave their homes, to get out and meet people, so the service we provide is vital for their physical and mental wellbeing. Older people with sight loss are almost three times more likely to experience depression than people with good vision.
Nine members of staff from the recruitment firm Huntress swapped pens for paint brushes as they decorated the day centre at Reading Association for the Blind, Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading.
The team, were taking part in a day of volunteering. The first of a number planned across the year for Huntress staff to help small charities, near to their offices.
The team took time out to learn about services provided to blind and sight impaired people in the Reading area and give something back to the community.
9 members of staff from Huntress, volunteer with their local charity Reading Association for the Blind
Huntress CEO, Chris Leeson was one of the members of the team. I really enjoyed working with the staff at RAB. They gave us all an important insight and understanding of visually impaired and blind individuals. We were all thrilled at the end of the day to have made a small difference in some way.It was really interesting finding out about a local charity that I knew little about. said Simon Evans based in Huntress’ Reading office. It inspired us all throughout the day to do a good job.
Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser at Reading Association for the Blind, said, It was fantastic to have the team from Huntress, volunteering for their local charity. They were enthusiastic, motivated and worked hard as a team to get the huge hall painted in a day. Everyone who uses the hall, which includes our service users, volunteers and members of the local community, will benefit from the new bright Day Centre, and hopefully staff from Huntress will volunteer with the charity again.
BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL FOR ALAN FUTTER
Alan Futter, BEM, speaking to fellow ramblers from Reading Association for the Blind
Alan Futter, who lives in Caversham Heights, was delighted to receive the British Empire Medal, for services to the visually impaired, in Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year Honours List in January 2018.
Alan has been a Trustee of RAB since 2000, and was Vice Chairman from 2003 to 2008, and Chairman from 2008 to 2015, when he retired as a Trustee. Alan has continued to be the lead volunteer for the Rambling Group. Every other Monday he checks the route that the sight impaired ramblers will walk, and on the following Monday he leads them in the ramble. The route has to be carefully planned as sight impaired walkers, with the support of volunteers, need to be able to face the challenge and enjoyment of the walk with safety. Alan has also volunteered for the Chiltern Society and has helped to organise the replacement of stiles with gates in South Oxfordshire, thus facilitating access to the countryside for disabled people.
The visually impaired ramblers really enjoy being in the open air, exercising, and making new friends. The exercise from the walks helps to keep members fit - one member carried on walking until he was 94 and another until 90. Guide dogs also enjoy the rambles. For them it is playtime whilst the volunteers do the guiding allowing the dogs to run on ahead where possible!
Brian Head has been a rambling group member for the past 5 years. Brian says As a totally blind person, it is an inspiration to take part in walking with such a vibrant group of individuals.
Alan Futter, says the most rewarding element of this activity is the appreciation shown by members of the group due to the fact that you are facilitating their access to the countryside and enabling them to enjoy the fresh air and keep fit.
Here is a video of Alan Futter being interview by Thames Valley TV