County Sight Organisations promote greater independence for people living with sight loss and Wiltshire’s is called ‘Wiltshire Sight’. These Centres often have wonderful meeting rooms and are very accessible.
Meeting with a potential partner organisation
Various Living Paintings books and packs were taken to a meeting at the Wiltshire Sight offices. The Direct Service Manager, Maggie, instantly loved the concept. She agreed to offer their venue for free and help with finding people to join a new club by publicising it through their extensive database.
Next step was to find a Club leader
Maria forwarded a small advert to various local voluntary support services and through Living Paintings media outlets. Within a couple of weeks a lady called the Living Paintings office saying that she had seen the advert. Her name was Julia and she was an ideal person to lead a Book Club. Maria met Julia on 15th December 2014. Julia immediately fell in love with Living Paintings resources and she agreed, with Maria’s support, she would take on the role of Wiltshire Sight T2C Book Club Leader. Maggie and Julia were introduced and they met on the 5th January at the Centre. After the meeting Julia told Maria “I had a positive meeting with Maggie at Wiltshire Sight in Devizes on Monday. They have an excellent venue and it looks like there could be quite a bit of interest from their members in joining a Touch to See Book Club.”
Connecting a new to an existing T2C Book Club
Julia was keen to find out more about how a Club could be run so Maria put her in touch with Kerrie who leads the Newbury Corn Exchange T2C Book Club. After speaking to Kerrie Julia said “I have just spoken to Kerrie on the phone and her Club sounds fantastic. She was talking to me about the speakers she invites and how she integrates it with creative arts at the Corn Exchange. Talking to Kerrie has given me more understanding of how the raised images can be used in the meetings and how it all works in practice, so that’s good.”
Through one of Maria’s contacts in the South of Wiltshire another volunteer was recruited. Her name is Karen and she lives locally within the Devizes area. She will be a great support to Book Club members and Julia as she will be helping to set up tables and chairs and assisting with refreshments. Karen is also already aware of Wiltshire Sight as she is partially sighted herself.
Spreading the word and being fit for purpose
It was time to publicise the Book Club and sign up prospective members. Beginning of February the publicity was finalised and ready to be sent out by Wiltshire Sight early March. Mid March Julia and Maria will be meeting to discuss how the publicity is going and talk about the format of the first Book Club meeting; the Club’s aims and objectives; health and safety; data protection, compliance and possible training. Getting this in place ensures that the Club is healthy and set up for life.
Maggie said “I look forward to watching this project develop”.
Julia stated “The process so far has been really positive, I feel included in decision making and I don’t feel under pressure to do more than I have time for. I am really excited about getting the Club off the ground and know that Maria is someone I can work well with”.
“It is so exciting to see this Book Club develop. We look forward to reporting on the positive impact of this Club and look forward to changing people’s lives, creating long lasting friendships and bringing the visual world to life for blind and partially sighted people in Wiltshire.” Programme Manager, Maria