Blind and partially-sighted people can learn how to use laptops and mobile phones in a new Assistive Technology suite created thanks to a £38,000 charitable donation.
The Bournemouth Blind Society, which is based in Victoria Park Road in Moordown, has developed the Assistive Technology (AT) facility using specialist software to train visually-impaired people to use technology in a similar way to people with normal vision. It will mean that people will be able to receive free one-to-one tailored training.
Philip Tarrant, the chief executive of Bournemouth Blind Society, said that previously the nearest training centres were based in Bristol and Brighton, but the funding from the grant making cause, Talbot Village Trust, means that one is now available for Dorset residents.
He added: “With the help of the Talbot Village Trust, we are pleased to be able to provide a modern space for Assistive Technology tuition in a relaxed and friendly environment. It will make such a difference to the lives of the people who are supported by Bournemouth Blind Society.”
The donation has also paid for a disabled toilet to be built near the new suite to give people easier access, and for the re-development of the Sight and Hearing Resource Centre. Consisting of two rooms, the resource centre demonstrates items which are adapted to improve everyday living for the visually or hearing impaired. Sight room demonstrations include talking watches and clocks, canes, large print notebooks and crosswords and braille playing cards, while the hearing room demonstrates amplified phones, as well as personal and TV listeners.
“Before the grant from Talbot Village Trust, we were using a cramped space that looked tired and run-down, but now we have a large, bright and friendly room to use for visitors. As a direct result of the building and development work, we have seen an increase in the number of people visiting the centre, many of whom are new to Bournemouth Blind Society.”
Russell Lucas-Rowe, Trustee, said: “We are so pleased to hear that the grant is already benefiting visually-impaired people in the area and helping to extend the reach of the charity.
“It is also interesting to hear about how the new technology purchased with the grant is helping the society’s members to socialise with others.”
Talbot Village Trust meets biannually, and will be accepting applications for funding from both previous and new applicants in the area before the Trustees meet again in November.
For more information, visit Talbotvillagetrust.org