Blind charity needs support from public

Darsdale Home ' Raunds.  The Home is run by Northamptonshire Association for the Blind which is struggling because of funding cuts. They are hoping for more support from the community. 'L-r resident Mavis Bland works with  Kelly Bowyer (activities coordinator) 'Monday 30th January 2012
Darsdale Home ' Raunds. The Home is run by Northamptonshire Association for the Blind which is struggling because of funding cuts. They are hoping for more support from the community. 'L-r resident Mavis Bland works with Kelly Bowyer (activities coordinator) 'Monday 30th January 2012

A charity which has to raise £250,000 a year to keep its services going is calling on the public for more help.

Northamptonshire Association for the Blind relies on grants and donations to run a range of services throughout the county but like many charities its funds are being squeezed by cuts and a drop in legacies.

One of the ways it is trying to relieve some of the pressure on funding is by raising the profile of its Darsdale residential care home in Raunds to help the facility break even.

Association general secretary John Wood said: “We have a tender going in to Northamptonshire County Council this week for £82,000 and are bidding for £100,000 from the National Lottery but even if both of these are successful that still leaves us with a £70,000 shortfall.

“This is why it’s important to try to fill the beds we have at Darsdale.

“It’s a wonderful place but a lot of people don’t seem to know about it. If we could attract at least another three people the home would break even and we could concentrate our fundraising on the other services we provide.”

Darsdale can accommodate 30 residents but regularly has five or six empty beds. It can take three people aged over-55 and the rest are over-65. It always keeps one bed available for respite care.

As well as taking people with sight problems, since August 2011 it has been caring for elderly people, those with sensory loss and people with low-level dementia. It runs a wide range of regular activities and outings for residents.

Mr Wood added: “The future of Darsdale isn’t in danger. Because our charity has been going for more than a century we have built up some savings which we can dip into but we can’t do that indefinitely.”

Other services the association provides include visiting people at home to assess their lighting and visual aids.

The association estimates there are 19,000 people in the county who have considerable sightloss. On the back of an ageing population, it is estimated this figure will rise to 22,500 by 2015 and 32,000 by 2025.

To find out more about Darsdale, call manager Sue Henderson on 01933 622457.