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14th Oct 2019
The packed 213th Annual Meeting of the NNAB sm

One of Norfolk’s oldest charities has held its 213th annual meeting – at which it reported that after a challenging couple of years, it is looking ahead to the future with ‘enthusiasm and hope’.

The Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind held its meeting on World Sight Day to draw attention to the continuing need to support people with sight loss across the county, and it was attended by over 100 trustees, staff, volunteers, supporters and service users.

The meeting heard how the charity is evolving to meet the changing needs of visually-impaired people of all ages, with its name set to change to ‘Vision Norfolk’ early in 2020, to reflect the wide range of services it provides for both blind and visually-impaired people across the county.

Launching the organisation’s annual report, co-chair of Trustees Rev Canon Simon Stokes, who is himself blind, told the meeting that the year had seen many positive outcomes, including a ‘Good’ rating for the charity’s Thomas Tawell House care home from the CQC, a hugely successful exhibition raising awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, the winning of £95,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to develop a ground-breaking app to link volunteers with visually-impaired people, and a continuing investment in the use of technology to enable visually-impaired people to live independent lives.

“Technology is bringing such an important release to those living with sight loss,” he told the meeting.  “We are eager to see the charity embrace technology to support people with sight loss as well as to enable the organisation to build its capacity to support more people across Norfolk.

“We look back on the year with pride, and take from it energy to embrace the future.  We are also tremendously thankful to our supporters, volunteers, friends, staff and all those living with sight loss in Norfolk for trusting in the charity, enabling us to provide the support for people to continue to live active, independent and fulfilled lives.”

Fellow co-chair of Trustees Richard Hanson, who is also visually-impaired, added, “We need to build on our achievements and modernise to be relevant to the people we want to serve.  We must continually make ourselves a better organisation which is more relevant to those people, and enable them to live independent lives throughout the county.”

Chief executive Gina Dormer explained why the charity has chosen to change its name to Vision Norfolk.  “We took the step after much consultation with our service users, stakeholders, staff and volunteers.  Some people told us, especially those newly diagnosed with sight loss, that they had been fearful of being referred to a charity for ‘blind people’. As they do not regard themselves as blind.  This may be at a time when they need our support the most. 

“We are resolute in our aim that no-one should face sight loss alone, and we want to ensure we reach as many people as possible; we believe our new brand will help us to do this.

“We must work with determination and passion, and never stop reminding ourselves of that which brings us together – a desire to ensure everyone with sight loss in Norfolk is able to lead an active, independent and fulfilled life.”

The NNAB’s annual meeting was chaired by the Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk, Sandy Sankar, and was also attended by the lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Vaughan Thomas; the Mayor of King’s Lynn, Cllr Geoff Hipperson; the Mayor of Great Yarmouth,  Cllr Michael Jeal; and the Sheriff of Norwich, Dr Marian Prinsley.


Copies of the charity’s Annual Report can be downloaded at www.nnab.org.uk, or are available by phoning the NNAB on 01603 573000.