Big year of fun and raising awareness for Northamptonshire Association for the Blind's 125th anniversary

Two Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) volunteers who will be busy next yearTwo Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) volunteers who will be busy next year
Two Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) volunteers who will be busy next year
'Massive celebration of success and innovation' as long as coronavirus rules allows

Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) has a big programme of events and projects to celebrate its 125th anniversary next year - coronavirus restrictions permitting.

A 'dinner in the dark' event, a trip to an outdoor adventure centre, a pamper day and more are in the works at the Northampton-based charity.

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NAB also wants to improve its support for blind and visually impaired people in BAME communities, encourage its clients to challenge themselves and raise awareness of its efforts.

Marketing and fundraising manager Vic Sheret said: "Our 125th anniversary will be a massive celebration of success and innovation.

"NAB employ blind and visually impaired staff, we sell equipment for visually impaired clients from our head office sight centre in Kingsthorpe and have great relationships with local companies and philanthropic groups.

NAB was set up in 1896 to offer employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired people from Northamptonshire so they did not end up in the workhouse.

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Over the years more services were developed, including a home visiting team to recommend suitable equipment and help prevent isolation, anxiety and depression.

Vic said: "Unfortunately, as the majority of clients were elderly, NAB developed a reputation for being a charity for frail, elderly people.

"Hence we launched several new, exciting services including our mobile sight centre that travels across the county reaching out to smaller communities.

"As well as our education programme where we visit primary schools and deliver presentations on blindness and visual impairment with a curriculum-based programme.

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"While our SocialEyes programme delivers activities to stimulate clients by offering rock climbing, horse riding, pottery, trekking, tai chi, yoga, football, swimming and many other activities."

In 2021, NAB has lots of plans to mark its landmark birthday but knows it is all subject to change if the Covid-19 rules do not allow them at the time.

Northamptonshire Sport has agreed to fund activity programmes delivered by Zoom to encourage isolated individuals to take up dance and exercise classes.

Working with the University of Northampton, NAB hopes to organise a 'dinner and dance in the dark' event, where clients and corporate supporters would eat and be entertained while wearing simulation glasses to give a better understanding of visual impairment.

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Another hope is for a 'pamper day' offering massages, sauna and jacuzzi as well as treats like a chocolate fountain, cream teas and more to stimulate the senses.

Stimulating the senses other than sight is a focus for NAB - for taste, it does a weekly cookery class with a blind supporter of the charity.

For smell, NAB wants to work with garden centres to encourage clients to visit and smell the flowers and plants or work with aromatherapists.

And for sound, the charity's talking newspaper service is growing week by week with plans to add more to the service.

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Overall, NAB wants to encourage blind and visually impaired people to challenge themselves, enjoy activities that give them self-confidence and take pride in their achievements.

This will be achieved with a week-long trip to the Calvert Trust, to allow clients to enjoy a host of outdoor activities like zip wires, rock climbing, abseiling, swimming and horse riding.

For more information, call 01604 719193, email [email protected] or visit

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