Charity Profile: Kent Association for the Blind
Who do you help/what services do you provide?
KAB has been supporting visually impaired people of all ages for over 95 years. During this time, we have developed a wide variety of specialist services.
Right from the point of diagnosis KAB is there to support people with sight loss and their family. We are able to offer a completely tailored service which reflects each client’s needs and priorities.
At hospitals across the region our Eye Clinic Liaison Officers are available to offer emotional support and immediate practical advice at what can be a very upsetting and daunting time. From there, our specially trained rehabilitation workers provide a range of training including mobility training which gives visually impaired people the skills they need to get out about safely and confidently. We work with people of all ages including children, many parents feel anxious about what the future might hold for their visually impaired son or daughter but a visit from our rehab workers and their ongoing support can make a real difference to the outcomes. Investing time now, will pay off over their whole life. Our Children’s Workers also run a dedicated programme of events for visually impaired children and their families
Our Guide Communicators work with those experiencing dual sensory loss; we have many deafblind clients and our team of almost 30 GCs are available to support them 365 days a year.
At our Sight Centres in Maidstone, Bromley and Canterbury, our dedicated Assistive Technology workers, run group and individual training sessions on the latest software and hardware for visually impaired people. This includes desktop computers but also tablets, ereaders and smart phones. As well as a computer room, we have a well-stocked Resources Room. This gives people the opportunity to try out other technology which might help them with day to day tasks – these include talking watches and clocks, hand held sat navs, digital magnifiers, talking kitchen scales, iron guards etc…
Overcoming isolation is key; we have around 40 clubs across Kent which offer a programme of events throughout the year – from coffee mornings and theatre tours to bowling trips and craft activities. Our digital talking news is recorded right here in our Maidstone Sight Centre by Louise and her team of volunteers. It is currently received by around 700 homes each week and helps people feel engaged in their local community
As well as services for visually impaired people, we run training courses for those working in the industry, or interested in finding out more. Our OCN accredited training courses are well attended throughout the year – we are the only organisation in Kent offering these courses.
Finally, we provide a transcription service for businesses ensuring that their materials are provided to visually impaired people in their preferred format – be it large print, braille or audio. Again this is run from our Maidstone Sight Centre.
We are also so grateful to all our volunteers who support our work – be it driving clients to/from appointments, helping out at clubs or recording our talking news service.
How do you receive your funding?
We receive funding from the Local Authority but we rely on donations and sponsorship to fund our: Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, Talking News Service, Befrienders, Clubs and Assistive Technology service.
Have you got any upcoming events?
Two of our clubs are holding exhibitions in November:
Our Digital Photography Group is exhibiting at the Maidstone Museum Café Gallery until 28th November and our Gravesend Art Group are exhibiting their ‘Totally Touchable’ art in the Gravesend Civic Centre until the 22nd November.
KAB Christmas cards are on sale now – order forms can be downloaded from our website www.kab.org.uk/support-us
How can people help?
We want to encourage people to get together and think about their sight; when did you last have your eyes tested? Have you noticed any change in your vision? What about your loved ones, have they had their eyes tested recently? Organising a Cup of Tea for KAB event and getting together with friends, family and colleagues is an easy way you can raise awareness of KAB and sight loss, whilst also reminding each other to look after your eyes. We will use donations made at your event to continue supporting visually impaired people in our local area. For more information or to order your free tea party pack, please contact email@example.com
In the UK every 15 minutes someone is told they are losing their sight. We want to make sure we can be there for everyone who needs our support and be there for as long as they need us. We can only do this thanks to the generosity of kind individuals, businesses and community groups who donate their time or money to KAB. If you are a business, please consider nominating us to be your charity of the year. If you would like to volunteer for the organisation, we have many opportunities available including, drivers, club helpers and befrienders. To make a donation or for more information about how we use donations, please contact our fundraising team on 01622 691357 or visit our website www.kab.org.uk