Halifax Society for the Blind Open New Centre

Halifax Society for the Blind opened their new Sight Centre last Friday. Here’s the official ceremony conducted by the Society’s Chief Officer, Pete Hoey, and Calderdale mayor, Dot Foster.

Chief Officer Pete Hoey also shared with us an article outlining the changes the society has recently undergone and its plans for the future:

Halifax Society for the Blind – Our Changing Service

As a local charity that has run for over 140 years, our Charity has changed the way it provides services to people with sight loss. From its early days of providing basic education and skills, through holidays and basic groups, to its present purposeful, and increasing range of sight loss support.

Our present changes have been driven by people with sight loss. As part of a major self-funded consultation, called Future Focus, people with sight loss told us that they wanted:-

  • A greater focus on services impacting on sight loss – rather than an orientation towards older people, per se
  • A greater choose from a range of practical and relevant sight loss services
  • Information about sight conditions – and how to get the most from people’s remaining sight
  • A wider range of social opportunities
  • A regular magazine giving lots of information and options, in multiple formats
  • A service which involved much wider numbers of people with sight loss

Our Board agreed the resources for this: agreeing a five year programme of expansion, including:-

  • Recruitment of a key staff to manage the service, and a new volunteering programme.
  • More than doubling its customer facing workforce hours, to manage the increased volume of work.
  • A new volunteer scheme, to recruit more volunteers, and to induct, train, and supervise them
  • The launch of a regular Home Visiting Service, to build up people’s social support and confidence
  • The starting of new groups – like the weekly “Peaky Blinders” tenpin bowling group
  • Recruitment of Sight Support Advisor and Activities Coordinator staff
  • A move to new premises at 36 Clare Road, which provided the space to deliver more services
  • The opening of our Sight Centre, providing advice, information and equipment on a daily basis (10-2.30pm)
  • The starting of a new teenage group, to support Calderdale’s young people experiencing sight loss
  • The review of part of our service which did not fit with our new general directgion

In our near future, we will:-

  • Continue many of our social groups, but improve their sight loss focus, and start new social activities
  • Grow our volunteering offer and deployment. We have so far grown this from 5 hours per week to over 60.
  • Expand our reach into the local community, and in particular the sight loss community.
  • Seek a long term accommodation close to Halifax Bus Station, so we can be reached easily
  • Develop services in full partnership with parents and young people, and help a new service flourish
  • Draw up a broader programme of activities, but continue to be guided by local people with sight loss
  • Launch new peer-based approaches, because people with sight loss can know as much as professionals
  • We will keep listening, learning, and doing our best for the sight loss community of Calderdale

For further details, or to make any suggestions from Halifax Society for the Blind, please contact us on 01422 352383, email info@blindsociety.org.uk, contact us via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SightlossCalderdale/), or simply call in at 36 Clare Road, Halifax, HX1 2HX, between 10am and 2.30pm, Monday to Friday.