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12th August 2019

Local woman sets up social group for blind and partially sighted people

BY: Nathan Spackman

A young woman from Barry is hosting a new social group for blind and partially sighted young adults in the area.

Lela Patterson, 22, who volunteers for RNIB Cymru, is working with the charity to set up the new group aimed at adults aged 18-50. It will offer a fun, friendly environment for people to meet, chat and play board games.

The social group will be held for the first time at the Barry YMCA Hub Café on Friday 16 August from 10am until 12pm. Friends, family and carers are also welcome to attend.

Lela, who has been blind since birth, was inspired to set up the social group after attending a ReBUILD workshop course in Llantwit Major. The four-week course is designed to help young people to build confidence, social skills and self-esteem through volunteering and community projects.

As part of the course, Lela took part in litter picking walks, art projects and helped to create a community garden area. The course has helped Lela to build her confidence and she now hopes to put her new skills to use at home.

Lela said: “It is important for blind and partially sighted people to feel connected at all ages. Being part of a community can make you feel really good about yourself and your abilities.

“I don’t get out much in Barry so it can be hard to make new friends, especially as a lot of people my age don’t know how to react to blind people. The ReBUILD course has been so helpful. I’ve developed new social skills and great friendships, and it has made me want to do more in my own neighbourhood.

“I’ve been to some social groups for blind and partially sighted people in South Wales but there was no one my age to talk to. I want to set up fun events that will appeal to younger adults and get people active. I am very excited to launch the new group in Barry and can’t wait to meet everyone who comes along!”

RNIB Cymru Director Ansley Workman said: “Getting out and about can be hard for people living with a disability, making it difficult to meet new people and socialise. Dedicated social groups can help to break down the barriers of loneliness and isolation, allowing people the chance to connect with others, share experiences and have fun in a friendly, inclusive environment.

“We are thrilled that Lela has developed the confidence to set up her own RNIB social group in Barry and we wish her the best of luck.”

For more information please contact Eleanor Rothwell at Eleanor.rothwell@rnib.org.uk or ‪07702821915‬.

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