We are a friendly pro-active group of blind and partially sighted people that meet regularly at events where we have chats and plenty of laughs. We provide monthly talks on a range of subjects, social events; days out together; New Age Kurling; and New Age Bowls. Blind Life in Durham also enters New Age Kurling Competitions with any members wishing to take part.
“We welcome new members and I know for many, the organisation is a lifeline just as volunteering and setting it up was for me.”
And it shows “It is about what we can do”
The founder and Chairman of Blind Life in Durham, Jim Welch, has had to face a lot in his life – losing his mobility and being confined to a wheelchair, he only had sight in one eye from birth and then he lost the sight in his good eye. But Jim, together with his wife Margaret refused to let it get them down.
Not knowing any other people who were blind Jim felt very isolated and depressed. He missed doing things that you take for granted such as reading the paper and being able to do his diary. Jim soon realised there wasn’t much in the way of activities for blind people in his area, so by being introduced to a few visual impaired people Blind Life in Durham was born.
He explains why volunteering alongside his wife proved to be a lifeline.
“Losing your sight is like bereavement, not just for the person but also their family. It is hard to explain unless you experience it. The only word to describe it is, ‘devastating’. For me it came after a long fight against having to use a wheelchair as I injured my back during my 14 years working as a HGV fitter. I had always been a very active person, until then. I got that far down that there was only one way to go and that was – up. Blind Life in Durham is a lifeline for me. I couldn’t have done any of it though without the support from my wife Margaret. She works tireless voluntary hours, together with other volunteers to help the organisation progress.”
There is a need for such an organisation and it is run by a dedicated committee who themselves have varying degrees of visually impairment and other conditions. As well as being Chairman of Blind Life in Durham, Jim is also on numerous other committees, with other organisations, to assist with the communication and understanding of the needs of blind and visually impaired people.
His wife, Margaret who is also the Treasurer for the Charity, is always willing to do anything – from having a chat on the phone to try and cheer a member up to trying to arrange lifts for people to attend events. She has brought a smile and friendship to a lot of people. She helps organise events such as organising raffles, the Charity Night, social meetings and a lot more. You never hear her complain, she just gets on with it and a very remarkable person.
◾To promote the welfare, independence and quality of life for people with visual impairment in County Durham.
◾ To be a voice for blind and partially sighted people.
◾ To create awareness amongst organisations/service providers etc.
We always welcome new members, so why not join us. Membership is £10 per year per person and you get a great deal in return. For more information, an introductory pack and membership form contact Blind Life in Durham by telephone on 01388 763501, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the contact form on the Contact page of this website.
Some of the things we provide are:
Please see our EVENTS page to find out more about what we provide for our members.