A DORSET charity has launched a social media campaign to raise funds to save “vital” support groups for young blind people.
The Dorset Blind Association Club, which operates support groups for blind people of working age in Poole, Bournemouth and Weymouth, is hoping to raise £12,000 to keep the groups going throughout the year.
The fundraising drive comes after the charity, which receives no government funding, had to reduce its staff following a £40,000 shortfall last year.
Now it’s urging people to think about what they would miss if they lost their sight and spread the message on social media including the hashtag #whatwouldyoumiss.
It’s hoped the campaign will encourage more people to donate to the charity.
Jaya Da Costa, Dorset Blind’s fundraising manager, said: “The members of our young blind club tell us they would really miss the club if it wasn’t there, so we are turning that around and asking the community what they would miss if they lost their sight.
“We hope people will take photos or videos representing what they would miss and share them with their entire network. “This can be via social media or email, and by those who prefer word of mouth.”
The Dorset Blind Association Club reports almost two-thirds of people registered blind or partially-sighted never or rarely go out.
Miss Da Costa said: “Many report withdrawal from socialising and leisure activities causing loneliness, depression, isolation and social exclusion.
“This club tackles those issues and gets people together, in the community and doing things.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the charity can do so by visiting its fundrazr page www.tiny.cc/wwym To join the campaign on Twitter tweet @DorsetBlind including the hashtag #whatwouldyoumiss To support the group on Facebook search for Dorset Blind Association.
TIFFANY Deacon says Dorset Blind Association’s group for young people has been a source of support as her sight has worsened.
“You can feel quite alone so it’s a chance to meet others in the same situation to share ideas or it might just be a chat,” she said.
The group enables people to take part in activities – from board games in large print or Braille to sports such as tennis and cricket.
“If the group was to dwindle and close down, I think people wouldn’t be able to come together,” she said.
She pointed out that people who have lost their sight often suffer mental health problems. “Depression and sight loss have been linked by the RNIB quite significantly,” she added.
Tiffany, 40, has the genetic condition retinitis pigmentosa, and lost her sight in her mid-20s.