Cash-strapped charity for the blind ‘lives to fight another day’ after being thrown lifeline

Bournemouth Echo: AID: Chris Ford and team AID: Chris Ford and team

A CASH-STRAPPED charity has been thrown a lifeline to help meet a £40,000 shortfall to save essential services for people with sight loss.

The Dorset Blind Association which helps around 1,000 local people every month, needs to raise £40,000 by the end of the year following a decline in council care and support.

Earlier this month the charity was accepted for The Big Give Christmas Challenge, which allocated £6,000 in match funding.

To gain the most from the opportunity, the charity needed to raise £6,000 in donations to reach a maximum of £13,500 including Gift Aid.

Charity fundraiser Jaya Da Costa said: “The challenge exceeded all expectations as we actually raised over our target in donations, making a total of £14,850 including Gift Aid.”

The charity’s supporters were also encouraged to hold fundraising events and donate the proceeds via the Big Give. The Rotaract Club of Bournemouth, a voluntary organisation for 18-30 year olds who want to make a difference to their community, raised more than £1,000 at a Christmas fayre.

Jaya added: “We still need to raise another £10,000 to cover our costs by the end of March which we hope to achieve through support from local businesses, but basically this means the charity will live to fight another day!”

One member, Chris Ford, who is 51 and from Poole, said: “I thought my life was over when I lost my sight. It took the Dorset Blind Association time to convince me that life was worth living again but I’m glad they persevered because in some ways my life is even better now.” Chris is now a volunteer for the Dorset Blind Association.

The charity has seen a dramatic rise in demand for its services and is determined not to turn anyone away. Chief executive officer, Jonathan Holyhead, said: “Being left alone to cope with sight loss is not acceptable.”

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