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Island charity launches new operational name

Tuesday 27 July in Community

Manx Blind Welfare Society has today launched its new operational name, Sight Matters.

While the charity will continue officially as Manx Blind Welfare Society, its core services will be delivered under the new name, Sight Matters.

Chairman of Manx Blind Welfare Society, Charles Fargher, said: ‘We have operated under the name Manx Blind Welfare Society since it was established under the Isle of Man Blind Welfare Act 1937, more than 80 years ago. However, feedback from members, volunteers, and staff in recent years has suggested that the name ‘Manx Blind Welfare Society’ could have the potential to convey negative messages to individuals who could otherwise benefit from our services.

‘We are grateful for the honest and frank feedback that was so important in the development of our new operational title. We believe the name Sight Matters will ensure our offering is inclusive to all and enable us to deliver our vital services to individuals and families at the earliest opportunity.’

The exciting announcement was made to members and volunteers at the official opening of The Freedom Field, a unique new outdoor space, specially designed to meet the needs of vulnerable people within the Island’s community.

The Freedom Field, which sits just behind the charity’s Corrin Court headquarters in Onchan, and will provide a safe space for exercise, relaxation and reflection. Utilising the healing and therapeutic benefits of nature to support the physical and mental wellbeing of those who will use it, this one-of-a-kind project comprises three primary zones:

Each area within the field has been carefully designed with accessibility and inclusion at the fore, catering to a wide range of accessibility requirements and intended as a sensory space for blind and visually impaired people. Incorporating local flora and encouraging local fauna, the space has been designed to allow everyone to enjoy the best of the Isle of Man’s natural world.

Although The Freedom Field will primarily be used by the charity’s blind and visually impaired members, it will also be open to individuals and groups from the wider community who are dealing with a range of challenges. This may include people from the health services, support groups and local schools. The facility will also be open to the residents of Heywood Court Sheltered Housing, which is situated next to Corrin Court, for exercise and relaxation.

Chief Executive Ian Cooil says that The Freedom Field will become an invaluable asset to the local community. He explained: ‘This project is the first of its kind on the Isle of Man, potentially even further afield too. Since we started its construction in 2019, a huge amount of progress has been made and we are so excited to finally open it to members and volunteers.

‘It will be a unique space for building strength, facilitating healing and aiding reflection and we are excited to be able to offer this to our members and also the wider community where possible. We’d like to say thank you for the funding support we have received thus far which has made the project possible.

‘Alongside the launch of Sight Matters, this is an extremely exciting time in our history, and we are excited for what the future holds as we continue to develop services to improve the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals in the Isle of Man.’

To find out more about The Freedom Field, contact the charity on 01624 674727 or email: [email protected]

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