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.
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
Reading FC Former Players Association makes Reading Association for the Blind their Charity of the Year for 2018
(left to right) Marion Haynes, Tony Lawton, George Friel and David Woolford, with Hesta, Tony’s guide dog
A Christmas Party held at the Day Centre on Friday, 15 December, was enjoyed by over 60 service users, volunteers, staff and trustees, also joining in the celebrations were David Woolford, Chairman, and George Friel, Vice Chairman of Reading Football Club Former Players Association. Reading FC Former Players Association have elected RAB as their charity of the year for 2018, and donated a further £500 to provide a projector and screen so that sight impaired people can meet together in the comfort of Walford Hall and enjoy listening and watching sport on a big screen.
Tony Lawton, a season ticket holder from Caversham, was delighted to meet with David and George, and spent time talking about football with them. Tony said I so enjoy attending Reading FC matches, and my guide dog, Hesta, gets a welcome break with friends, when I go to the matches!
Barbara Preater, from Reading, also an avid Reading FC fan, said I love listening to the games on the radio now that I cannot attend the matches, and I hope that the donation of the projector and screen will enable more members to get together and enjoy all sports in the Day Centre.