Generous grant to support Coventry’s visually impaired
Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind is hugely grateful to the British Muslim Covid-19 Fund, which has made a grant of £2000 to help the charity support visually impaired people across the city during the pandemic.
People with sight loss have been particularly affected by the lockdown restrictions.
In normal times, many need one-to-one support simply to go out for a walk or to shop even online. Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind offers a wide range of activities to help visually impaired people learn new skills to help them cope but most importantly to provide a safe, supportive place to get together and break the social isolation that visual impairment can often lead to.
Along with everywhere else, the Resource Centre had to close, on 16th March, as Coronavirus struck. With most sight loss occurring in older age or associated with conditions such as diabetes, a great number are also in the at-risk categories that have been required to stay at home.
Staff and our wonderful team of volunteers moved swiftly to set up a comprehensive telephone support network and draw up a roster of support. Everyone who wants them has calls every week from volunteers, staff and other centre users, maintaining those all-important connections and reducing isolation and loneliness.
Our audio book library has come into its own with nearly 20 people now having books delivered regularly to their door. People such as Olga, who said: “When all the other book services stopped, being able to continue receiving talking books was a godsend. I can’t go out and I’d go mad without something to read.”
Volunteers have undertaken shopping for those shielding, supplied essential daily living aids, and helped to solve little problems before they become big ones, everything from resetting talking watches at the door to delivering vital bits of equipment to make life at home a bit easier.
Amazingly, our Creative Writing group has continued with their writing projects, linking up by telephone, and even some Braille tuition has continued over the internet, with students able to access Zoom for one-to-one sessions. Amardeep has had to have his supply of Braille paper replenished twice as he makes excellent progress.
The generous award from the British Muslim Covid-19 Fund has helped to offset some of the costs of providing these services but will also help the charity find new ways to work using with new procedures, new activities and more comprehensive outreach services.
Chair of trustees, Rosie Brady, who is herself blind, said: “I want to thank the British Muslim Covid-19 Fund. This grant has already helped us support lots of visually people in Coventry and will also help us get back on our feet.”
She continued: “I think despite the disproportionate impact of this crisis on blind and partially sighted people, that they have largely been forgotten. We are touched and grateful that the British Muslim Covid-19 Fund has remembered us.”