West Suffolk Voluntary Association for the Blind

Social Clubs

The leading cause of blindness in the UK , macular degeneration, occurs largely after the age of 65. Local statistics for this disease follow the national trend as evidenced by analysis of the Charity’s membership database which currently stands at over 1250. Of these, 83% of members are retired and over the age of 65.

Sudbury Club members on a trip to the London Eye
Sudbury Club members on a trip to the London Eye.

Vulnerable adults by definition, this group have different needs than younger counterparts, often having other health issues in addition to sight loss.  Moreover, the majority live on their own so where possible we encourage and support these members to attend one of the social clubs established by the Charity throughout the region.

Each club has an appointed volunteer leader who, together with a team of volunteers including visually impaired members, organise these invaluable occasions.

Pakenham Club enjoy a trip to the local park
Pakenham Club enjoy a trip to the local park

The clubs each meet once or twice a month and some members go to more than one club because they enjoy the company so much.  For many, it is their only real chance of a social life.  Most clubs run outings – some on a regular basis and other activities including ten pin bowling and regular coffee mornings.

Even when they don’t venture out beyond their meeting place, a guest speaker, games, raffles, refreshments and lively discussions provide a meaningful and therapeutic event.  Transport can be a challenge but the Association has established a network of 30 volunteer drivers to combat this.

The Association takes up references on all its volunteers in addition to conducting enhanced CRB checks.  The Charity also covers the cost of the various venues, volunteers’ expenses, appropriate liability insurance cover and mandatory training for each volunteer.

The images on this page highlight some of the things that our members who attend the clubs get up to when they have the chance.  Currently, around 25% of our members attend at least one of the clubs referred to.

Club on a 'pub lunch', the favourite outing of all
Club on a 'pub lunch', the favourite outing of all.

Including book clubs in Bury and Sudbury we have regular club meetings in Bury St Edmunds (3 clubs), Clare, Sudbury(2 clubs), Haverhill, Hadleigh, Mildenhall, Brandon, Newmarket and Pakenham.  We also run an age related macular degeneration support club on a quarterly basis which is very well attended.

See our Social Clubs pages.

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