Reading Association for the Blind


Supporting Sight Impaired people of Reading since 1883

We are a charitable association offering services to the Blind and visually impaired in Reading Berkshire UK.

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  A group from Young at Heart enjoying lunch out at the Goring and Streatley Golf Club in October 2014
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  RAB sight impaired person with his guide walking through woods May 2018

Index


News Archive

BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL FOR ALAN FUTTER

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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

Huntress Volunteer for their Local Blind Charity

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.

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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.

Reading FC Former Players Association makes Reading Association for the Blind their Charity of the Year for 2018

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(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.

RAB Christmas Fair supported by local community

View of the  RAB's Christmas Fair at Walford Hall 2017

The Christmas Fair held at the Day Centre on Friday 1st December attracted supporters from all over Reading and the local community. It’s estimated that around 100 people attended during the day. The Fair raised £905 to help continue providing services to sight impaired people of Reading. Service users, staff, volunteers, friends and families enjoyed buying Christmas cards & decorations, crafts, woodwork, beauty products and jewellery. Many of these items had been made by members in the Day Centre.

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Picture: left to right: Bob Bristow, chairman, the Mayor, Rose Williams, Dan Knowles, Volunteer, and Marion Haynes, community fund raiser

Bob Bristow, RAB Chairman, Trustee, and keen member of the rambling group, said It was lovely to come along and buy items which had been donated and which had been made in the Day Centre. It was also a great pleasure to have the Mayor present, and Maria Page who is the Community Champion for the Tesco Reading West Store.

The Right Worshipful Mayor of Reading, Councillor Rose Williams toured the stalls, and kindly prepared a broadcast for Reading Talking News.

Kerry Haynes who lives in Woodley, and who raised funds for the Charity in last year’s Reading Half Marathon, said I was delighted to win a lovely raffle prize and to see so many people from the Reading area supporting the event.

Here is a short video taken on the day

RAB's new Kiln

Marion & Ross standing behind the kilnWe are delighted to have built a special housing for our new pottery firing kiln. Ross from K.Maitland & Sons is seen handing over the building to our community fundraiser, Marion Haynes, on 7th April 2017.

Suzanne Weston, RAB’s craft leader, said Now that we have the kiln installed, our service users have the opportunity to explore a whole new range of crafts including pottery painting and clay work. We hope that in time we will be able to offer a firing service to the community and raise money for RAB.

NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE SAYS YES TO PROMOTING RAB

13 Young people from the Reading area visited the Day Centre at Reading Association for the Blind, to plan, design and make promotional materials for the Charity, and to hold a fundraising and awareness day in the centre of Reading on 23 August. The 16 year olds, were taking part in a week of activities under the National Citizen Service scheme, in which young people build skills for work and life while taking on exciting challenges, making new friends and contributing to their community. The team visited the Charity to learn about services provided to sight impaired people in the Reading area, and they planned the projects, which included a mosaic wall tile of the World, a banner and promotional coasters displaying the charity details.

Marcus Doctrove, Project Director for the team, pictured supporting the mosaic tile, said "I really enjoyed working with the staff at RAB and they gave me an important insight and understanding of visually impaired and blind individuals."

Mic Metolli, who planned some of the promotional materials, said "It was a really humbling experience to help and support such an inspirational charity, dedicated to giving visually impaired individuals a great life."

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13 young people from the Reading area taking part in the National Citizen Service with Reading Association for the Blind

The young people had to pitch their plans to a panel of Dragons and were successful in raising funding to help towards their challenge. At their challenge day on the 23 August they encouraged people to take part in fundraising events such as Reading Half Marathon, the Santa Run, and raise sponsorship for RAB, and to volunteer with the Charity.

Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser at Reading Association for the Blind, said “It was fantastic to have the team of 13 young people, volunteering with the charity, over the two weeks of the scheme. They were enthusiastic, motivated and worked hard as a team to produce all of the promotional material. The mosaic wall tile will be enjoyed by all the local community passing the Day Centre and the promotional materials will be excellent for raising awareness.”

Asda Community Tokens Donation

Asda image RAB was delighted to receive £500 from ASDA at Tilehurst, Reading. Jacqueline Fieldhouse, Community Champion, visited RAB's Day Centre on 24 July to present the cheque to Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser on behalf of the service users. Thank you to everyone who supported the community collection.

RAB Stall at League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital Fete

Staff, volunteers and supporters of RAB at there stand at the League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital fete Staff, volunteers and supporters of Reading Association for the Blind were delighted to have a stand at the League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital Fete on Saturday, 3 June 2017. It was a gorgeous day and the Charity were pleased to support the League of Friends but also to raise funds to keep services running at the Day Centre. On the day an amazing £520 was raised by holding a tombola, selling goods made by the members who attend the day centre, and hosting a nearly new sale!

Grateful thanks go out to Maria Page, Tesco Community Champion from Tesco Reading West, on Portman Road, who not only donated her time on the day but also many of the tombola prizes. Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser, thanked all of the members, staff, volunteers and friends who helped make the day such a fun event for all to enjoy.

KERRY GOES ABOVE A3ND BEYOND FOR READING ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND

Poto of Kerry running the Half Marathon Local woman, Kerry Haynes, has smashed her fundraising target and has already raised £950 after completing the Vitality Reading Half Marathon on Sunday, 19 March in 2 hours, 17 minutes. Kerry wanted to raise funds to help keep services running at the Day Centre, in Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading, and she was supported by family, friends, and service users to exceed her fundraising target. Kerry said “I am so grateful for all those who have supported me to raise this incredible amount for RAB. I ran a good half marathon and was extremely pleased with my time and don’t ache too much! I look forward to sharing my success with service users who I am sure will be grateful for everyone’s support.”

Kerry’s Mum, Marion Haynes, who is the Community Fundraiser at Reading Association for the Blind, said “I am so proud of Kerry for her personal achievement, and am delighted that she has chosen such a worthy charity to support in her fundraising and volunteering. Thank you to every one of our supporters who lined the route to cheer Kerry to the finishing line!”

For more ways to support sight impaired people who live in Reading, and Reading Association for the Blind, then please contact Marion on 0118 957 2960, or funder1@raftb.org.

Making a difference to Sensory Garden!

Lionel Voke from Berkshire Masonic Charity and Eric Moyse from the Rotary Club of Reading, joined supporters and service users to launch the opening of Reading Association for the Blind’s newly improved sensory garden on Friday, 23 September 2016. The Day Centre at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading, provides services to sight impaired people in Reading. Members enjoy taking part in arts and craft activities, going on outings, joining the rambling group, gardening and socialising together.

Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser, said that the provision of a garden awning, raised flower beds, new garden furniture has made the garden enjoyable and accessible for members who are sight impaired, and who have physical disabilities. Bright sunlight is sometimes difficult for people who can see to cope with and sight impaired people suffer even more.


Enjoying the RAB Sensory garden refurbishment – left to right: Cynthia Beard, Lionel Voke - Berkshire Masonic Centre, Eric Moyse - Rotary Club of Reading, Marion Haynes – Community Fundraiser, Ricky Josey – Grants and Trusts Fundraiser. Lower left to right: Virginia Weeks, Gladys Mace, Wendy Gibson, Barbara and Alf Turner.

Gladys Mace, from Southcote and Virginia Weeks from Reading, both agreed that the awning gives shelter and shade from the sunlight. They said it has really made a difference for friends to meet in the garden for drinks and lunch. The raised flower beds allow members to plant, grow and water plants whilst sitting in chairs or wheelchairs.

William Kennedy, Treasurer of Reading Association for the Blind said that the charity was grateful to all the supporters who had donated funds to enable the garden improvement scheme to be completed this year, and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying being together in the garden.

Community Christmas Fair


A Christmas Fair held at our Day Centre, Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading on Tuesday, 6 December 2016 attracted supporters from all over Reading and the local community. The Fair raised over £1,000 to help continue providing services to sight impaired people of Reading and service users, staff, volunteers, friends and families enjoyed buying cakes, dog treats, crafts, woodwork items, beauty products and chocolates.

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  Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Ayub, Anne Price, Maria Page, Community Champion, Tesco Reading West, Portman Road, Dee Teeka, Community Champion, Tesco Napier Road Store and Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser

Anne Price, who is a member of Reading Association for the Blind’s rambling group, said how lovely it was to come along and buy items which had been donated and which had been made in the Day Centre, and to meet with Maria Page and Dee Teeka, who are the Community Champions for the Tesco Reading West and Napier Road Stores. Ken Tudgay, who lives in Tilehurst, said he was delighted to win name the teddy and he thoroughly enjoyed seeing people from Tilehurst and Caversham supporting the event.

The Right Worshipful Mayor of Reading, Councillor Mohammed Ayub toured the stalls, meeting everyone, and kindly donated his raffle prize back to the Day Centre for their enjoyment over the festive season.

Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser said It was lovely to see so many people from the Reading area visit the Day Centre and support our event and fundraising plus Our sight impaired members were thrilled to have such community support and they gave a special thanks to our Tesco Community Champions. People also came from Strathy Close Day Centre in Tilehurst plus she was grateful to everyone who had promoted the event for the Association.

Santa Fun Run for Sight Impaired of Reading


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  Team RAB including Bob Bristow, Chairman, Bill Kennedy, Treasurer and Marion Haynes Community Fundraiser

Service Users, staff, volunteers, friends and families from Reading Association for the Blind had an exciting early morning run and walk in the Roc Search Reading Charity Santa Run on 4 December 2016. 35 people joined Team RAB at 9 a.m. to run and walk the 5k route through Reading town centre and along the River Kennet ending up in the historic Forbury Gardens. Lisa Hendy, who is a member of Reading Association for the Blind’s rambling group, said it was lovely to join with others runners and her family to complete the route, whilst her guide dog took a welcome break to wait for her return! Bob Bristow, Chairman, said it was lovely to have a complete team of members, staff, trustees, volunteers and family and friends taking part and enjoying the marvellous sunshine on the walk. He confirmed that Team RAB runners completed the route in 30 minutes and all the rest of the team were through in the hour! Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser said It was lovely to see everyone joining together with others in a community event and to see the enjoyment had by all. How great it was to be involved in such an inclusive an event as Roc Search Reading Charity Santa Run, which was well organised, well marshalled and well attended. Our sight impaired members were thrilled to be part of this wonderful event. The Association provides services through the Day Centre and by its visiting officers to sight impaired people in the Reading community. Local fundraising is a large part of helping to keep services maintained and added to, and if any community group or individual wishes to help in any way then please contact her on 0118 957 2960 or funder1@raftb.org

Notice of Reading Association for the Blind AGM 2016

The sixteenth Annual General Meeting of the Charity was held at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading on Tuesday, 22nd November at 2.30 pm. The MINUTES OF THE previous ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2015 can be downloaded as a PDF document here: AGM minutes 2015 or a word version here: AGM minutes 2015
The 2015-16 annual accounts can be down loaded as a PDF document here annual accounts 2015-16

Celebration Cake at Caversham Court

Thank you cake made by Suzanne Weston – Craft TutorA celebration Pimm’s and Afternoon Tea was arranged by Reading Association for the Blind to thank its volunteers and trustees for all their support and hard work over the past year. Over 40 volunteers, trustees and staff enjoyed the afternoon spent in the beautiful gardens of Caversham Court by the River Thames on Friday 2 September 2016. Bunting and balloons decorated the gazebo which sheltered a superb array of savoury food, Eton mess and a celebration cake! Suzanne Weston, Craft Tutor, kindly made the ‘thank you’ cake and Wendy Whitehead, Visiting Officer, arranged the flower displays in the garden troughs which had been made by service users who attend Walford Hall Day Centre, in Carey Street, Reading.

Chimene Fitzgibbon, William Kennedy, Suzanne Weston, Brian Wigham and Robert O’Neill, about to cut the cake made by SuzanneBob Bristow, Chairman, said it was lovely to be able to thank the trustees and volunteers for all their help over the past year in providing services to sight impaired people in Reading.

A raffle was held for all to enjoy and raise funds for the Association, and Maria Page, Community Champion at Tesco Reading West, in Portman Road, had kindly arranged for the raffle prizes to be donated. Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser said It was lovely to have support from Caversham Court and Tesco Reading West to make the party such a success. The Association provides services through the Day Centre and by its visiting officers to sight impaired people in the Reading community. Local fundraising is a large part of helping to keep services maintained and added to, and if any community group or individual wishes to help in any way then please contact her on 0118 957 2960 or funder1@raftb.org

Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation logo

DONATION SUPPORTS ARTS AND CRAFTS for RAB

Reading Association for the Blind is grateful to the Yorkshire Building Society, Charitable Foundation for their kind donation of £474 which was recently awarded to sight impaired people of Reading.

The Association is this year celebrating 90 years along with Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday, and many activities and events are being held at the Day Centre, at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading for blind and sight impaired people to enjoy.

One of the highlights of attending the Day Centre on a Tuesday and Friday is the ability to design and make various arts and crafts along with friends and volunteers. Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser, says The centre is a lively, active meeting place with so many talents being shared and enjoyed in one place. At the moment we are making red, white and blue bunting for our celebration parties in June, along with pots and planters for our garden.

Ginny Williams, Manager, says The donation from Yorkshire Building Society will enable us to purchase more craft and arts materials and allow our service users to continue to gain the rewards of meeting up outside of their own homes.

Double Celebrations for 90 years!

Two Royal tea parties were held at Walford Hall, Carey Street, Reading, on Friday, 3 June and Tuesday, 7 June to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday along with 90 years of Reading Association for the Blind.

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Maureen Tegg, Club Member, Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser, Dee Teeka, Community Champion

Over 50 service users, staff and volunteers enjoyed the festivities each day, and dressed in red, white and blue. Flags, bunting, and flower arrangements had all been made in the day centre in the weeks before, and everyone entered into the celebrations in party mood. Maureen Tegg, who lives in Wensley Road, Coley, Reading, is pictured wearing her Union Jack top pushing the cake trolley with Marion Haynes, Community Fundraiser for Reading Association for the Blind and Dee Teeka, Community Champion for Tesco Reading Extra.

Maureen said coming to the partially sighted club is a fantastic way of meeting others like myself with sight impairment, and the parties held for the Queen’s Birthday were brilliant. It was nice to see what we have made being used by us all.

Dee Teeka, volunteered her day going out on the Association’s mini bus to collect people from their homes to bring them into the Day Centre for the parties, and then helped serve the Coronation chicken sandwiches and other savoury delights, along with cakes kindly donated by Tesco and Warburtons.

Marion Haynes, said It was wonderful for staff to arrange the parties which over 100 service users and volunteers enjoyed, and they were a double celebration.

Reading Association for the Blind Rambling Group turns 25 on June 6 2016


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RAB Past and present ramblers out side the Red Lion PH at Peppard Common

Reading Association for the Blind Rambling Group celebrated its anniversary on June 6, 25 years after Pat Davis and her sight impaired friend Wendy Clayton christened the club. Ms Clayton decided to set up the group because her eyesight stops her from driving, which in turn restricts her ability to get out to typical walking groups in the countryside.
You have to meet out in the country which is no good because you have to have a car, said Ms Clayton. So we set up our own group and now we meet once a fortnight and walk five or six miles. It is so nice to go out in the countryside and to meet with everyone. We have got some really wonderful volunteers.
Over the course of its quarter of a century the group have wandered further afield than their usual paths in West Berkshire and North Hampshire to the Seven Sisters, Devon and Wells.

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Wandering through the blue bells
Marion Haynes Community Fundraiser

at Reading Association for the Blind, said: “The visually impaired ramblers really enjoy being in the open air, getting exercise, making new friends, and recently ramblers were delighted at the fragrance of bluebells in the woods of the Chiltern Hills.
The exercise from the walks helps to keep our members fit. One carried on walking until he was 94 and another to 90. Guide dogs also enjoy the walks as for them it is playtime as volunteers escort ramblers which allows the dogs to run free.

Of course, the main talking point for the group is when things go wrong. We never heard the end of it when we lead the group across a field that was in the process of having manure spread over it. So far as the walk leader and helpers are concerned, walking with visually impaired people brings a different perspective as to how one thinks about rights of way and in particular stiles. However, 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.

Sharma joins launch of new minibus for Reading Association for the Blind

Alok and Mayor Jenny Rynn at launch of RAB minibus with Allan Futter & RAB members & supporters On Tuesday 18th September 2012 Reading West MP Alok Sharma joined Reading Association for the Blind (RAB) for its Annual Open Day. On this occasion the Open Day included the launch of a new minibus by the Mayor of Reading, Councillor Jenny Rynn. RAB has been fundraising for some two years and has recently raised sufficient funds to purchase two new minibuses to help transport the Association’s visually impaired members to various clubs, which include a Handicrafts Club and Ramble Group, which offer activities and outings for members.

Visit our clubs & handicraft page

The Mayor of Reading, Councillor Jenny Rynn, said: I was delighted to be invited to launch the new minibus for Reading Association for the Blind. I know the minibus will be an important tool in helping the Association carry out the brilliant work it does in Reading and I wish the volunteers continuing success in their work.

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