Camelon's sensory centre gets £45,000 boost

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Forth Valley Sensory Centre will be able to help even more people with sight loss find the support they need thanks to £45,000 of funding.

The cash from Blindcraft trust will allow the centre to appoint an ambassador, with lived experience of sight loss.

As the centre’s ambassador, Laura Cluxton, along with her guide dog Sadie, will be out doing talks across the area, meeting people and giving advice based on her own experiences.

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Thanks to the cash boost, the Camelon-based facility while now be able to specifically target people who struggle with their vision and who live in the wider Forth Valley area, including those who are not currently engaged with the charity and possibly not aware of the range of support available.

Forth Valley Sensory Centre ambassador Laura Cluxton joins Blindcraft Trust chairman Robert Mooney at the Camelon centreForth Valley Sensory Centre ambassador Laura Cluxton joins Blindcraft Trust chairman Robert Mooney at the Camelon centre
Forth Valley Sensory Centre ambassador Laura Cluxton joins Blindcraft Trust chairman Robert Mooney at the Camelon centre

Forth Valley Sensory Centre chief executive Jacquie Winning MBE said: “This generous support from Blindcraft Trust, is great news for blind and partially sighted people in Forth Valley.

"It will allow us to appoint an ambassador who understands the day to day challenges of living with sight loss. The pandemic has made things even harder for blind and partially sighted people who have become more isolated since lockdowns began in March 2020.

“We know there are lots more people, especially those who are struggling with age related sight loss who would benefit from the services of ourselves and our partners.

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"However, travel, mobility issues or just confidence in getting out means they are not currently taking part in our groups, classes, activities and are not getting the support they should.

"This project is designed to tackle that issue head on, employing someone with lived experience of being blind to reach out to other blind and partially sighted people and offer support.”

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The Centre has been supporting blind, partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing people across Forth Valley since 2006, along with partners RNIB Scotland, RNID, Falkirk and Stirling Councils, NHS Forth Valley, Sight Scotland Veterans and Blind Veterans UK.

Support the centre offers is peer led and comes in the form of the many groups, classes and social activities provided at the centre and in Stirling, which are all designed to boost confidence and encourage independence.

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Councillor Robert Mooney, Blindcraft Trust chairman, who has sight loss himself, said: “Around 250 people in the UK lose their sight each day. As the population ages, incidences of sight loss are only going to increase.

"This project is designed to help engage this often hard to reach group of people by providing examples of lived experience and offering ongoing support. Sight loss can be very isolating and saps people’s confidence very quickly.

"Forth Valley Sensory Centre has been a leading light for people with sight loss since it was built 16 years ago. Over the past few years everyone has come to appreciate the challenges that loneliness can cause and we were delighted to support this project to take help, advice and a friendly ear out to the people of Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.”

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