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Photo of Nomaan playing tennis

His Muslim faith, and what he describes as finding another world at SRSB/RSS, were both very important to our client Nomaan when he began to adjust to a different way of life with visual impairment after a life-threatening illness.

A father of two young children Nomaan was a taxi driver and also using his skills as a qualified plumber with a flair for interior design to help people renovate their homes, when he suddenly developed meningitis.

He was unaware of how serious his illness became because he was in a coma in hospital for five weeks. “I went in with 20-20 vision and woke up with almost zero,” said Nomaan who was left with around 10 percent sight in only his right eye.

He was in hospital from June until October and when he came out needed to fully recover and adjust to a new way of life. An introduction to SRSB/RSS helped him to begin that process. He had been very fit before the illness and played football three or four times a week. The activities on offer showed Nomaan that he could still be active and get involved in sport.

He’s been up for trying many of them. From playing tennis and joining in a tournament, to snooker, football and tai chi. He’s also gone on walks with the Sheffield Visually Impaired Walking Group and is planning to try out archery too.

“I’ve been to the Peak District, I never thought I would go there. The guides are amazing taking time out to help vision impaired people to be free and just walk. All these things make a big difference.”

As well as the involvement in sport Nomaan credits staff, volunteers and the other clients he has met and shared his experience with. “I was anxious going, but when I started meeting people similar to me I felt in place. Outside other people have no idea what I am going through but at SRSB/RSS they really understand.

“They helped me get back on my feet and never made me feel I would be left out. It was like joining another world. I’m not sure how but they seem to know when you need them. Having people who are visually impaired working there also helps. Even the staff who are not in the same position as you can relate to you and that’s what amazed me, how they know what your need is as a blind person. They make you feel it’s not just a 9 to 5 job, it seemed like they wanted an insight into what was going on with you.

“They will take you aside to see how you feel and give you information about what you can and can’t do. It’s all very upbeat. I never go there thinking it’s depressing. People are happy, laughing and talking. I am very outgoing and I kind of chuck myself into everything, but they also encourage people without confidence and motivation to join in. Things like the Looking Ahead courses made me feel I had not just lost something, I could join something instead.”

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