Intrepid visually impaired walkers head to O2 for charity

A team of eight visually impaired volunteers and guides from Southend in Sight will be attempting to walk over the dome of the O2 on 24 May. 

The team are climbing the 02 to raise funds for Southend in Sight, the Hamlet Court Road based charity for the blind and visually impaired.

Steve Wright, a long standing visually impaired volunteer for the charity said: “I have always wanted to climb the 02 even though I know it will be a challenge.  My sight loss has never held me back and I am looking forward to trying something new. I have been training on the stairs at home!”

Clare Mclewin explained that ‘Family and friends often comment that my actions and reactions are “Over The Top”. So, that’s exactly where I’m going – over the top of the O2. The support I have received from Southend in Sight, practically and emotionally has been immense.’

Lucy Martin, CEO of Southend in Sight said ‘We are tremendously proud of our visually impaired members, volunteers and their guides for undertaking this challenge. We wish them every success. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at our Just Giving page:

Queen’s Award Nomination

We are delighted and very proud to announce that Southend in Sight has been nominated for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.  This is a very prestigious award, the equivalent of an MBE for volunteers.  There are 16 very worthy charities that have been nominated across Essex. We now go forward to the next stage and are evaluated by a judging panel.  We will find out on June 2nd when the winners are announced as part of the Honours List on the Queen’s birthday.  We could not continue to run our charity without or volunteers, so we say thank you to them and congratulations!

Changing Chairs

David Hurst has stepped down as the Chairman of Trustees at Southend in Sight after serving the charity for five years and overseeing its modernisation and refurbishment. He passes the baton on to Russell Cable. 

David Hurst began his association with Southend Blind Welfare many years ago when, as a Round Tabler, he helped to collect funds for the charity during its annual Flag Week. In January 2015, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees and has been forward thinking and actively involved in the development of the charity, making connections with other organisations locally and nationally, who were assisting visually impaired people and new ideas were implemented. Under David’s guidance it was decided that the community arm of Southend Blind Welfare Organisation should become known as Southend in Sight. Refurbishments were made to the layout at the charity’s Hamlet Court Road base making the Resource Centre more accessible for its visually impaired users. The charity’s shop also received a makeover and David’s contacts and network have been vital in helping with these projects.

David said of his time as Chairman “I have learnt a great deal over the last four years and am pleased with the progress we have made: to be chosen as the Mayor’s charity this year and to be nominated for a Queen’s Award for Volunteers for example are tremendous recognisable achievements. These and many more significant gains for the visually impaired in Southend have only been made possible by the selfless dedication of the trustees, our strong, determined and loyal band of volunteers and excellent caring staff.  I am delighted that Russell is taking over; his knowledge and awareness of the needs of the visually impaired will, I have no doubt, be of great benefit to the organisation and those it aims to help”.

Russell Cable, the new Chairman of the Trustees said “I am delighted to take on my new role and would like to add my own thanks to David for his dedication and hard work over the last 5 years. I first became involved with Southend Blind Welfare in 2015 when I started volunteering in the equipment centre. I was welcomed into the charity at a low point in my life but I quickly felt at home and gained a real feeling of worth again.’

Russell, who has visual impairment himself, went on to manage the charity’s database. He continued: “Southend Blind Welfare Organisation has introduced me into a new group of good friends all with varying degrees of sight loss. Meeting others in similar situations to yourself is a real confidence booster. It has made me realise there is no point trying to hide the fact you are visually impaired, something I always tried to cover up from fear of ridicule. I now have the opportunity to flourish in a career I never thought I could have. I owe it all to the good work done at SBWO, and am really proud to be a part of the team here and have the opportunity to help others in a similar situation to my own.  I am looking forward to the challenge!”

Mayor’s Charity 2018/2019

Southend in Sight are delighted to have been chosen by The Worshipful the Mayor, Cllr Derek Jarvis as his chosen charity while in office.

Derek and his wife Val have been busy organising and attending events around the town and fundraising for us.  If you would like to attend one of their lunches or dinners please click on the link below to find out what’s on:

Southend in Sight celebrates national award win

Southend in Sight is celebrating winning the Life Changing Impact Award on Wednesday 24 October at The Visionary Conference held at Aston Conference Centre in Birmingham.

The Life Changing Impact Award, sponsored by Thomas Pocklington Trust, is open to Visionary members who can demonstrate the impact they have had on the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Southend in Sight, the Community Services division of Southend Blind Welfare Organisation, won the award because of its commitment to reducing financial concerns in those experiencing sight loss issues.

The charity, based in Hamlet Court Road Westcliff, introduced a volunteer-led service helping people to apply for Attendance Allowance, advising on other benefits and general financial help after finding that many of its service users had no idea that Attendance Allowance was available to them.

Due to their sight loss, individuals were struggling with cleaning, gardening, reading post, getting out and about, shopping, etc. and this regular allowance makes many of these day to day activities easier, meaning people can remain independent. All the attendance allowance applications made with the charity’s help have been successful. Service users can afford to get a taxi, have a regular cleaner, ask people to go out, go shopping and have help in the garden.
Lucy Martin, CEO of the charity said ‘We have helped reduce money anxiety for our elderly service users, who now know they have enough money to live on and they won’t be in debt or lose their property. And most importantly we have helped people take control of their lives. With changes to benefits, we see a group of people living day to day but feeling like their fate is in somebody else hands. With our help and support, blind and partially sighted people have felt like they are back in control of their life and their future.’

David Hurst, Chairman of Trustees for the charity attended the Visionary Conference in Birmingham to ceremony to accept the award and said, ‘I am delighted the volunteers and staff have been recognised nationally for the excellent work they do in Southend.’

Southend in Sight is the Community Services Division of Southend Blind Welfare Organisation. Southend Blind Welfare Organisation is an independent charity providing practical support and advice to those living with visual impairment and blindness in the Southend-on-Sea area. Registered Charity No: 1069765