FEATURE: Visual aid network poised to venture into Dewsbury
A group that aids people with visual impairments is expanding into North Kirklees in the new year, thanks to lottery funding.
Kirklees Visual Impairment Network (KVIN) has secured a five-year grant thanks to the Reaching Community Lottery Grant.
The group, predominantly based in Huddersfield, is now putting plans in motion to move into a Dewsbury base and offer its services to people in the town and nearby.
Pauline Nugent, a development worker at KVIN, says the grant not only means the group is secure financially but that they can branch out into more areas and hopefully help more people.
“We’ve secured a grant that will help us run for the next five years,” said Pauline.
“It will allow us to hire three part-time workers and will really help us develop our service across more parts of Kirklees.
“This will help more people get involved.
“We’ve got a fantastic base in Huddersfield.
“But we will be doing sessions in Dewsbury and we will be advertising dates in the not-too-distant future.”
The group sees members meet up and get specialised one-to-one advice and support from volunteers.
Pauline added: “We rely mostly on volunteers but we’re always looking for more.
“We want to develop and get people interested in helping out.
“We want people to get involved.
“We run three days a week and we often get people travelling in from Dewsbury and Batley but we really want to get into those areas too.” KVIN started in 2008 but has grown over the past nine years, hence the expansion into further parts of the county.
Pauline says that the funding means they are quickly having to try and secure a base in Dewsbury – something she is hopeful of confirming later this month.
“We’re in a state of flux at the minute,” she said.
“It was a big desire of ours to expand.”
The group offers help in many ways but one aspect that proves popular is helping people with visual impairment decide what technology is best suited to them.
Pauline added: “We’re doing a lot of work with VR (Virtual reality) to maximise people’s independence.
“Technology is constantly changing and we want people with sight issues to be able to use these things that are being produced.
“We try to get the new phones in and we invite people to try and come and try out the latest technology before they buy.
“We do our best to help people to find what is best for them.
“We want them to try before they buy.
“We don’t sell products, we are just objective.”
Sam Heaton, from Dewsbury, will be one of the regular IT peer support volunteers when the new sessions begin. Shes said: “As a volunteer for the organisation and also someone who is visually impaired, I understand the value in terms of independent living that technology can bring to a blind or partially-sighted person’s life.
“I can also appreciate the difficulties many people with sight loss face when it comes to travel and accessing services, so the out-reach sessions planned by KVIN will no doubt be very welcomed by North Kirklees’ visually impaired community.”
To find out more about KVIN and keep up-to-date with its impending Dewsbury dates, visit kvin.org.uk or search for the group’s Facebook page.