Independent charity, Aid for the Blind, has gone about their work of enabling independent living for people with low or no vision without fanfare or fuss. This year, however, the charity is stepping out into the community spotlight by again showcasing Aid for the Blind Awareness Week, 19 – 26 July 2015.
The Aid for the Blind Awareness Week will celebrate decades of achievements and promote the community support that has enabled the charity to improve the quality of life for so many people with low or no vision.
Now in its 48th year, Aid for the Blind is the only organisation in Queensland providing self- contained accommodation for people with low or no vision. The charity offers its units at heavily subsidised rates and actively encourages and supports residents to lead an independent life.
“Living independently is something that most of us take for granted. Our units do more than provide shelter – they give our residents a feeling of pride and dignity, and our Cameron Street complex builds a sense of community and identity.” explained Aid for the Blind CEO, Mr. Terry O’Neill.
The charity’s acquisition of its 40 units has been a self-funded exercise with little to no government funding or major sponsorship assistance, carried out over 35 years.
“Aid for the Blind opened the units in four stages in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 2009. As you can imagine, the older units are now in desperate need of renovation of things like kitchens and bathrooms so that residents can continue living independently.” Mr O’Neill stated.
Mr O’Neill hopes that the Aid for the Blind Awareness Week 2015 will inspire the community to assist with the cost of renovations and updates.
“The renovation of a single unit costs $35,000 and will make that unit fit for purpose for another 15-20 years,” Mr O’Neill said “Obviously the more community support we receive towards our goal, either as cash or offers of trade services, the more money we can put towards our other programs like our Computer Club education service for young children”.
“We are also very serious about expanding our unique service both in Brisbane and throughout Queensland. The demand is very high at the moment, and we need funds to satisfy that demand”.
The Aid for the Blind “Computer Club” is a mentor based program with blind tutors assisting young children with low or no vision learn vital computer skills such as touch typing and using software. The program was initiated by well-known Brisbane musician and blind person, Graham Pampling, and has aided over 50 young people live more independently and improved their opportunities for inclusion and participation. Raissa Martin, well known Blind sporting identity, is also a wonderful role model and mentor in the Computer Club.
Aid for the Blind contributes to the funding of its accommodation and education services from proceeds generated at its six Op Shops located around Brisbane. The Op Shops are dependent on the donations of quality new and pre-loved clothing and goods, and are predominantly managed by dedicated volunteers.
“The Aid for the Blind Awareness Week is really about celebrating our residents, our members, our volunteers and staff, and the community whose generosity make it all possible.” Mr O’Neill stated.
Aid for the Blind Awareness Week will culminate in a Donated Clothing Fashion Parade, held at midday, Friday 24 July, followed by a Gala Cocktail party the following evening. There will be many other activities through the week, centred around Aid for the Blind Op Shops.
Terry O’Neill, CEO, Aid for the Blind 0412 725 177
Chris Coonan, President, Aid for the Blind 0404 015 888