Happy Christmas!

Dear Friends, I hope this finds you well in this festive season. What another busy year it has been for us at Galloway’s. We have made great progress in continuing to support those living with sight loss through a variety of services, in addition to the introduction of new ones. We were delighted to welcome the expertise of Andrew Coleman, our new ‘Assistive Technology Co-Ordinator’ this year; to make sure that Galloway’s is at the forefront of the latest technology available to blind and partially sighted people. We know that technology can be an aid to reduce social isolation and promote independence. I feel this new service, across all of our sites, is a really big step forward for us all.

Back in September, we took part in “National Eye Health Week”, a week-long campaign promoting better eye health. We attended 39 events in just one week to help spread the message about the importance of eye health checks. We also used this as an opportunity to remind visually impaired people of the importance of continuing to attend regular eye health checks. Going forward, prevention work will continue to be a theme across all our work.

We have received really positive feedback regarding the benefits of our Living with Sight Loss courses, which provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the practical implications of living with sight loss. Next year, we will be delivering four courses across each of our sites. We know from speaking to people who have attended courses that it’s a frightening and challenging time, often resulting in depression, social isolation and reduced independence. The courses aim to address just that, whilst putting people in touch with others in a similar situation.

Looking forward to 2018, we have an ambitious but exciting time ahead. We will be working hard to improve how we include people with sight loss in our decision making, to help us shape our future. We’ll also be working to ensure our services provide opportunities for all age groups, which means that we will be developing new initiatives that appeal to a younger audience. As part of this work, we recently introduced a Macular Group in Morecambe for people of working age. A looming piece of work will see us become compliant with the new General Data Protection Regulation, ‘GDPR’, meaning that we may be approaching you in the New Year to confirm If, How, and When we can continue to contact you.

As I know we’re all aware, donations and legacies form the backbone of our funding and continue to support the £1million we need to raise every year. It’s been a turbulent year for Fundraising. The cancellation of our flagship event, the Morecambe Bay Walk, was a real low point and saw us face a £20,000 gap in our fundraising target. However, we have been working hard with our volunteer fundraisers, amazing donors and volunteers who continue to inspire us. We’ve seen people hop, skip, jump, dress as elves, swim and run marathons; all to help local people living with sight loss.

If you have given a donation of any size in 2017, a heartfelt thank you from all of us. Every penny makes a real difference to what we’re able to achieve. If you are in a position to support our work in 2018 in any way please click on this link where you will find more information about how to support us financially.

Over the festive period, all our sites will close on Friday 22nd December and reopen on Tuesday 2nd January. Our last Talking Newspaper recording will resume on 4th January. May I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

With Warmest Wishes,

Stuart Clayton