Bradbury Fields Forever!

A long-running Merseyside charity which provides vital services to blind and partially sighted people has received the keys to a brand new Smiley Bus from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Bradbury Fields is a charity which was actually set up in 1857 and now provides a range of services across Liverpool, Knowsley and Sefton.

These are based around rehabilitation offering advice, training and support to help blind and partially sighted people find new ways of dealing with the practical and emotional difficulties they may suffer as a result of losing their sight.

The charity’s two previous minibuses had been in use for ten years, and were becoming unreliable, and so the Steve Morgan Foundation has stepped in to provide its 63rdSmiley Bus.

This will enable the charity to continue to help visually impaired people to participate in activities throughout Merseyside and the North West, such as swimming, the gym, a walking group and attending a variety of other activities.

Phil Longworth, the chief executive of Bradbury Fields, said: “It’s no secret that we’ve been looking at ways to replace our minibuses.

“Thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation, we’ll have a state-of-the-art ‘Smiley Bus’ which will mean we can help our visually impaired service users to get out and about safely and in comfort.

“I speak to our service users very regularly and there’s no doubt that they very much enjoy being able to attend social and sporting activities at the Bradbury Centre and further afield.

”I would like to thank the Steve Morgan Foundation for their extremely kind donation of the ‘Smiley Bus’. They can rest assured; our service users and volunteers will appreciate it hugely.”

Naomi Ditchfield, one of Bradbury Fields’s service users and volunteers, added: “I would like to echo what Phil has said. As both a service user and volunteer, I know how much we value the opportunities we get here to take part in all the activities they lay on for us.

”There was a time when I barely left the house but since I started coming to Bradbury, my life has changed massively.

“And, when I talk to people who attend the social clubs on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I hear the same story.

“The new minibus will make sure visually impaired people like me, can carry on benefiting from the information, activities, advice and support on offer here.”

The keys to the minibus were officially handed over to Naomi by Jane Harris, Regional Grants Director with the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“When we visited Bradbury Fields to assess their application for support, we could see straightaway that this is an organisation providing vital services to blind and partially sighted people in Merseyside”, said Jane.

“There is a vibrant friendly atmosphere in the centre and we were made to feel very welcome by the staff, service users and volunteers.

“We have no doubt that the ‘Smiley Bus’ will make a huge contribution to the service users’ cultural, social and sporting lives, and ensure that they are able to continue to enjoy the variety of visits and activities which are organised by Bradbury Fields.”

The Smiley Bus follows previous funding over three years provided to Bradbury Fields by the Steve Morgan Foundation for the role of an Activities Co-Ordinator.

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