“An Enormous Difference”

A charity which improves the quality of life of blind and partially sighted people across Cheshire is to expand its services thanks to a grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Chester and District Federation for the Blind has been awarded a three-year grant of £69,000 which will contribute to funding the role of a Business Development Manager who will help develop the business side of the charity, all profits being used to maintain and extend their services.

The charity, whose central office is based in Ellesmere Port, was first registered back in 2009, and has provided support to hundreds of people in the local community ever since.

“This generous grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation will make an enormous amount of difference to us,” says the charity’s manager, Sue Hearfield.

“The new role will expand the business side of the charity to bring in greater income to be used to reach more people and provide a greater number of services.

“That will also improve our ambition to increase the number of our charity shops – we currently have shops in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Runcorn and are in the process of acquiring a fourth in Whitby.

“All of these developments will enable the charity to become sustainable for the future, as we continue our aim to improve the quality of life for people who are blind and partially sighted by combatting social isolation.

“We have a real focus on providing the opportunity for them to be able to help themselves and each other.

“We aim to achieve this in a number of ways, includingdifferent group activities such as bowling or cinema club, holidays, outings, meetings, parties – a real range – whilst providing transport is also a key part of what we do.

“We operate a service which we call ‘WINI’, standing for ‘What I Need Is’.

“Via WINI, individuals themselves can decide what help it is that they need and can then ask us to see if it is something we can provide.”

This isn’t the first time that Chester and District Federation for the Blind has been supported by the Steve Morgan Foundation, having previously also funded an outreach worker for the charity. 

“Sue and her team at the Chester and District Federation for the Blind, which includes a sizeable number of volunteers, are doing some fantastic work for some of the most vulnerable members of the community,” says Jane Harris, Director of Regional Funding at the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“Sadly more and more people are suffering from sight-related difficulties, especially in later life, and without support from charities such as this, can end up suffering from social isolation and depression.

“The charity helps bring back feelings and freedom and independence to those who need to access their services, as well as being extremely enterprising and innovative in their own fundraising.

“We are delighted to be awarding a Regional Grant to help them continue their development and aim towards becoming completely sustainable.”

Jane visited the charity to officially hand over the cheque towards the new role (see main picture).

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