A knock on the door is a welcome sound for the folk who attend a weekly get-together at Galloway’s.
It heralds the arrival of a friendly volunteer and a minibus to take them to the charity’s centre in Penwortham.
While there, the service users enjoy a day of activities, including arts and crafts, IT sessions, cooking and a simple cup of tea and a friendly ear.
During National Eye Health Week, the sessions were ramped up.
Jenny Lloyd, who led the activities, said: “It was a fun-filled busy day. We had 30 blind and visually impaired people brought into Howick House, in our mini-buses, driven by volunteers.
“The day started with announcements, which included the exciting news about our forthcoming AGM, which is being held on Thursday November 23, and news about our 150 year celebrations.
“The cookery class, in the morning and afternoon, made the most delicious mackerel pate. Mackerel contains omega-3, which is a fatty acid which may help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.
“We also held IT and craft classes, which are volunteer-led. We made smoothies for all the people that came along on Tuesday, they went down really well.
“There was a mixture of smoothies, all contained leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, which are packed with Lutein and Zeaxanthun, studies show that this sort of vegetable, along with fruits, lower the risk of developing Macular degeneration and cataracts.
“To finish the day off, we held an audio quiz. All the titles of the songs contained words associated with eye health. Everyone was a winner, and won a Galloway’s T-shirt.”
Grandma Carol Riley, 68, of Ribbleton, Preston, who lost her sight as a teenager, has been picked up by Galloway’s minibuses for the last seven years.
The mother-of-three said: “I am more or less stuck in the house unless someone comes to take me out.
“I can’t get around like I used to so I have to depend on people.
“I love coming to Galloway’s on a Tuesday. I have particularly enjoyed the activities during National Eyecare Heath Week. When I come to Galloway’s, I do a bit of craft, making clay moulds and tiles, and I do a bit of baking and cooking.
“If the minibus didn’t come to pick me up, I would not be having this much fun.”
For Carol, coming to Galloway’s has been extra special, as she has reconnected with an old school friend.
Carol added: “One good thing to come out of my visits to Galloway’s is that I have found my old best friend again.
“When I first joined, I bumped into a guide dog. Later on, the guide dog came up to me. It turns out the owner was my best friend from a boarding school I went to down south.”
Offering support for more than 150 years
Galloway’s is one of Lancashire’s oldest charities.
Established in Preston in 1867, it has been supporting people living with sight loss for more than 150 years.
Today, the charity covers Lancashire and Sefton and supports more than 7,000 people every year.
As well as its main site in Penwortham, Galloway’s is located in 1 Farrington Street, Chorley; 12 Victoria Street, Morecambe, and 22 Wright Street, Southport.
The services offered are in seven key areas:
• Early reach support for newly diagnosed people
• Accessible information, advice and guidance
• Holidays and trips
• Social and community groups
• Audio services, including one of the UK’s largest Talking Newspaper services
• Seven independent living bungalows
• Equipment to enhance daily living
Galloway’s is a registered charity and has to raise £1m this year to maintain its services.
It now needs £50,000 for a new minibus to transport its service users to the centre in Penwortham and to social outings.
The Post has launched a campaign - Gallowheels - in conjunction with Galloway’s to raise £50,000.
To make a donation visit www.galloways.org.uk/gallowheels;
Call: 01772 744148
Or alternatively you can send a cheque payable to Galloway’s to: Galloway’s Society for the Blind, Howick House, Howick Park Avenue, Penwortham, PR1 0LS.
• Are you holding any fund-raising events to support Galloway’s?
Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• Galloway’s is hosting a sight loss conference for anyone needing support at Leyland Civic Centre on November 23, from 10am until 3pm.
To book a place call 01772 744148.