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Photo of someone in the swimming pool at Hathersage

One of Sheffield’s Oldest Charities Still Adapting for the Needs of Today’s Visually Impaired People

Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) has been supporting people with sight loss in Sheffield for nearly 160 years (we are gearing up for this landmark anniversary in 2020). 

Over the years we have adapted the services that we offer to cater for the changing requirements of our charity’s clients.

One of the recent changes has been to our Activities Centre on Thursdays. We have run a regular group each week-day for a number of years, which is a lifeline to many people, meaning that they can access different activities and groups and meet people who are in a similar situation to them.

One of the challenges for people with sight loss is transport, and they are at risk of becoming socially isolated. It is with this in mind, and also taking on board feedback from clients and staff, that the decision was taken to offer more trips out on our charity’s three minibuses on Thursdays. There is a real emphasis on wellbeing, both physical and mental, and these trips are open to all clients who are interested in a huge range of activities. The change began in July and the trips have been a great success, with visually impaired people having accessible trips to venues that have included the outdoor swimming baths at Hathersage, pottery classes, afternoon teas, gym taster sessions, picnics, and many more. Sessions currently being planned include wellbeing walks, healthy eating, flower arranging, interesting talks and even axe throwing, along with much more

Joanne Ardern, SRSB’s Deputy General Manager adds “We are committed to our ethos of enabling clients to maintain their independence and to help them do things that they love, or try things that they haven’t before. Often, these trips are a starting point for other things, for example beginning a sport that they never thought they could play and getting more exercise, starting to think about eating more healthily or joining one of our cookery groups. Or often, it could just be that clients simply wouldn’t be able to get to the venues we are offering transport to.

“We love to see the change in people through the work that we do and this is just another arm of SRSB’s extensive range of support for people living with sight loss”.

Ron, who attended the swimming session at Hathersage commented, “Going on the trip to the outdoor pool session rekindled my interest in swimming, and I have now joined the swimming group that goes to a local baths each week. Through SRSB I have had an insight into what I can do, and not what I can’t do! I am proof of this now, as I have the confidence to do things that I haven’t done for years”.

If you are interested in finding out more, please check our Client Event page, call us on 0114 272 2757 or email

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