Celebrating 160 Years of iSightCornwallOctober 11, 2016 11:46 am
October is a significant month for iSightCornwall as it marks our 160th birthday, making us one of Cornwall’s oldest charities.
Founded in 1856, the charity supported Cornish miners many of whom lost their sight due to mining accidents and the hazardous working conditions of the time. It was the first organised attempt to improve the lives of people with visual impairments living in Cornwall, over a decade before the RNIB was founded.
Originally called The Society for the Itinerant Teaching of the Blind in the County of Cornwall, the charity has been known by a few different names over the years. The most recent transformation coming in April 2015 when the charity changed its name from Cornwall Blind Association to iSightCornwall in order to reflect the views of visually impaired clients, many of whom did not identify themselves as being ‘blind’.
Each year, iSightCornwall supports approximately 4,000 people living with sight loss to lead active and independent lives. But with an estimated 22,000 people living with sight loss across Cornwall, a figure that is expected to grow to 32,000 over the next 15 years, the charity has extended its services in order to reach more people.
A new Community Outreach Service has been introduced for people who face isolation and barriers to transport so that they can access personalised advice and information either in their own home or at local community events.
In addition the charity’s Resource Centre in Truro, which was officially opened in September by His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, provides a hub of services and support. Clients can try out gadgets and technology that make everyday living easier, discover which low vision aids they could benefit from, and gain confidence in the new independent living kitchen which is kitted out with specially adapted equipment. The shop also stocks a wide range of practical gadgets.
We rely heavily on donations and fundraising in order to provide these services. One of the initiatives launched during this anniversary year was only possible thanks to the generosity of people remembering the charity in their wills. The Inspiring Futures Fund was launched to provide grants of up to £1,000 for visually impaired people in Cornwall to help remove barriers to independent living.
Terri Rosnau-Ward, CEO of iSightCornwall said: “We are proud of our heritage of supporting people living with sight loss, and as the charity celebrates its 160th birthday we look forward to inspiring the futures of the generations to come.”