A CHRISTMAS appeal launched to raise awareness of Edinburgh-based charity Royal Blind has been hailed a success.
Funds raised under the Evening News campaign first launched last month will go towards providing vital equipment for the charity’s five services – the Royal Blind School, Braeside House, Scottish Braille Press, Forward Vision and Kidscene.
The appeal opened with an insight into the experiences of Paralympians Libby and James Clegg at the Royal Blind School’s Craigmillar Park campus.
Libby, a two-time Paralympic silver medallist who suffers from a degenerative eye condition, said without the school she would never have achieved her potential.
The 22-year-old, who spent six years at the facility, added: “They’ve made me a much more confident person. I got to know who I was myself and accept that I had a sight problem because I did struggle with it for a few years. They were really there to support me.”
Teenager Damon Horne has been another beneficiary.
The 17-year-old from Penicuik was never expected to walk or talk after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby. Thanks to Royal Blind, he has instead matured to work shifts at the school’s cafe and is chasing his dream of becoming a music DJ.
The campaign also revealed how retired Hibs doctor Gordon Batters, now blind, convinced Scottish football legend Jock Stein to take the job of Celtic manager, while readers learned about the translation of the Harry Potter series into Braille.
Royal Blind chief executive Richard Hellewell said: “We are lucky that every day we see how important the services we provide are and how they help the people in our local community. Through the Evening News we have now had the opportunity to share our stories with you.
“From the children at the Royal Blind School who go on to become Paralympians to the thousands of people who benefit from the Braille and alternative format materials we produce at the Scottish Braille Press every day, we see a difference. Without the support of people like the Evening News’ readers donating to our charity, the work we do here would not be possible.
“Each donation, large or small, makes a difference to blind and visually impaired children and adults across Scotland.”
New Braille app speaks for itself
A NEW phone application that transcribes personal messages into Braille code is being launched by Royal Blind.
The Say It With Braille app will be available for the first time tomorrow in conjunction with the start of National Braille Week, which runs each year from January 4-11. The app, compatible, with Apple’s iPhone will allow people with normal vision to send a message in Braille to a friend’s Facebook page or email inbox.
The Edinburgh charity is hoping the initiative will encourage individuals to learn more about Braille.
Blind users of the iPhone can already use apps to dictate emails, identify clothing, colours and currency, record blood pressure and even read restaurant menus.
National Braille Week was launched for the first time in 2008 and celebrates all aspects of the written code for the blind and visually impaired.
HOW TO DONATE
Christmas may be over but you can still donate to the Evening News’ festive appeal. We are calling on all our readers to donate whatever they can and make a real difference to the lives of blind and visually-impaired people.
The money will be used to help purchase vital equipment including everything from talking microwaves and high-sided plates, which help provide blind people with a greater degree of confidence in preparing and serve their own meals, to moving and handling equipment which gives them greater freedom in performing tasks.
There are many ways to donate to the charity.
To donate by mobile phone, simply text XMAS10 to 70070 to give £10 to the appeal.
For online donations go to www.royalblind.org and visit the Support Us section of the website.
To donate by mail, make cheques payable to ROYAL BLIND and send to Royal Blind, PO Box 500, Gillespie Crescent, Edinburgh, EH10 4HZ. Please do not send cash.