By Elle Hartle, Digital Marketing apprentice.
Look Sussex is a charity for blind and visually impaired children and young people up to the age of 18. The charity aims to create a safe space and hosts a youth club every Wednesday at the 67 Centre in Moulsecoomb for a creative, fun and relaxed session where both the children and the parents are welcome.
As a digital marketer and because I have a keen interest in blind and visually impaired charities – as I am visually impaired myself – I went along to see what the session was about and what sort of activities the charity covers.
Before the session started there was half an hour or so for me to interact and meet some of the young people. This allowed me to get a better idea of how Look Sussex helps each individual, how long they have been coming to the sessions and why coming to Look Sussex is so important to them. I also took this opportunity to ask some of the volunteers and staff about what happens weekly at the Wednesday session and the different activities they do and organise.
As the session went on I felt comfortable in my surroundings. As a young visually impaired person myself I can understand some of the challenges the young people might be facing and how it might be affecting them, physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and mentally every day.
Lots went on throughout the session including Slime making. This involved putting a number of ingredients into a bowl (such as shaving foam and glue) then mixing it until the mixture stays together and it feels and looks like slime. In my opinion this is really good for young visually impaired and blind young people because they are not able to see very well, or at all, so most visually impaired or blind people tend to rely on other senses like touch and smell.
Though I only attended one session I could really tell how much these sessions mean to both the young people and the parents. It allows them access to a support network and gives the blind and visually impaired young people a chance to meet other young people their age who they have something in common with.
Coming to the Look Sussex youth club allowed me to learn more about how people from a younger generation (ie, anyone under the age of 16) copes with being blind or visually impaired and what was out there for them in terms of support for both the client and the client’s family. Before coming here I knew about the Blatchington Court Trust (which I am a client of), which offers services to young people up to the age of 30, but I wasn’t as familiar with what was on offer for the under 16s. This visit really taught me what Look Sussex was all about and how they can offer support for children who are blind or visually impaired.
The club is always open to new members and their families and the sessions are free of charge. Hopefully writing this blog post will help more people find out about the charity and encourage families with a blind or visually impaired child to get in touch and attend these sessions.
TDC works in partnership with Look Sussex to offer these weekly sessions for blind or visually impaired young people. Sessions take place every week during term-time at the 67 Centre between 5.30 and 7pm. Parents/ carers and siblings are always welcome to stay for a cuppa. All sessions are free.
The group is keen to grow its membership and offer these great opportunities to more young people locally.
The young people plan their activities with the youth workers and these can range from weekly cookery, craft making activities through to silent discos, singing, messy play and quiz nights. As the membership grows, the group hopes to fundraise for trips out and more interactive resources like a set of musical instruments and braille balls for the pool table.