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.
Easter celebrations get local community support at Reading Association for the Blind
Service users, staff and Maria Page, Community Champion, for Tesco Reading West
An Easter Party held on Tuesday, 27 March, at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading was enjoyed by over 30 service users, staff and volunteers. Easter bonnets, egg decorations and chocolate Easter eggs had all been made in the day centre in the weeks before, and everyone entered into the celebrations in party mood.
Abby Knowles, Craft Tutor, hosted an Easter Quiz and word search, and the 3 winners of the Easter bonnet parade were awarded medals for their Easter bonnet creations. Abby Knowles said It is a great pleasure to be able to help the members to create their own Easter bonnets and to celebrate important moments in the calendar throughout the year. I love seeing them being able to wear their own hats as they did a parade round the hall.
Maria Page, community Champion for Tesco Reading West, based in Portman Road, donated an Easter egg for each member, said It is so lovely to be able to spread a little happiness to all those lovely people.
Marion Haynes, said It was wonderful to have such amazing community support from Maria Page, and the Tesco Reading West Store, to make the party so much fun for all our members, staff and volunteers.
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