GALLOWAY’S APPEAL: The importance of putting the wheels in motion

Stuart Clayton, chief executive of Galloway's Society for the Blind
Stuart Clayton, chief executive of Galloway's Society for the Blind
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The Galloway’s centre is a hive of excitement at the moment as the team is 
fundraising for a new minibus.

As it joined forces with the Post to launch the Gallowheels campaign, CEO Stuart Clayton reveals how much it means to the charity and its service users.

The launch of campaign to replace the current minibus at Galloway's Society for the Blind
Bob Sumner in the driver's seat

The launch of campaign to replace the current minibus at Galloway's Society for the Blind Bob Sumner in the driver's seat

He says: “It was a proud moment when I joined Galloway’s as the new CEO in September 2012 and now, five years on, I find myself humbled when looking back over 150 years of history.

“Galloway’s has changed dramatically over its 150 years of serving the local community and I am very proud to lead the charity through the next chapter.

“One of my roles is to raise the profile of sight loss and positive eye health care by attending and speaking at many different meetings and events.

“It never ceases to amaze me that so many people pay scant regard to their eyesight and understand even less about their eye health.

Galloway's Society for the Blind is campaigning for a new minibus

Galloway's Society for the Blind is campaigning for a new minibus

“The effects of sight loss can be devastating for people and is often likened to the grieving process. Which is why getting around is a major problem for many visually impaired people and why I am very grateful to the Lancashire Post for helping us with this appeal for a new minibus.

“Our minibuses are in pretty much constant use helping us to provide much needed transport to our various locations, take people on holidays in the UK, for our outdoor pursuits programme – regular guided walks across the county – as well transport to other amazing activities such as our driving day in Wigan.

“The loss of sight has a significant impact on people’s self-esteem and confidence, which is why being able to provide transport is critical to everything we do.

“The journey we take people on to rebuild their confidence all starts from being able to get out of their homes. Without our minibuses we wouldn’t be able to help people take that first step.

Howick House Galloway's Society for the Blind in Penwortham

Howick House Galloway's Society for the Blind in Penwortham

“I have met many amazing people over my five years with Galloway’s, all telling their own sight loss story.

“But one particularly sticks in my mind. A gentleman in his 70s wanted to tell me about the difference Galloway’s had made to his life, how coming to one of our Living with Sight Loss courses had helped him and his wife understand his own sight loss and how this had given him hope for the future.

“He told me about his career and life before he lost his sight and how his confidence had spiralled to an all-time low, not even feeling confident to leave his own home.

“By providing transport from his home, he had no excuse not to at least try his first visit to Galloway’s.

Galloways minibus appeal logo

Galloways minibus appeal logo

“Meeting people who faced the same challenges gave him the understanding that he wasn’t on his own and that for the first time, he started to consider what he could achieve rather than focus on what he had lost.

“I am immensely proud of the difference Galloway’s makes to the lives of people living with sight loss and I am grateful to all those who help make this happen – colleagues, volunteers, donors and not forgetting our trustees.

“That’s why we need your support. Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are a local charity aiming to be there for everyone affected by sight loss in our area and that’s a lot of people.”

There are several fund-raising events taking place to support Galloway’s.

A charity lunch for Galloway’s will be held at The Spread Eagle Inn, Sawley, near Clitheroe, on Sunday October 22 from 2pm until 5pm.

Tickets are £25 and includes a three-course meal and entertainment from Daniel Sings. Bookings only - call 01200 441202.

A four-day food and drink festival will take place at St Gerards Parochial Centre, Brownedge Road, Bamber Bridge, from Thursday to Sunday. Open from 7pm Thursday; 5pm Friday; 3pm Saturday and from noon on Sunday.