A life without sight doesn’t have to have limits

Andrew Rose in amazon holding a fish he caughtAndrew Rose found out at 21 that he would eventually be left blind by a degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic eye condition that leads to incurable blindness.

Many people suffering from RP do not become completely blind until late on in life, however, Andrew is one of the unfortunate few who, now at 37, no longer has his sight. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is one of the most common forms of inherited eye disease with approximately 25,000 people in the UK suffering from it, there is, however, currently no cure.

Andrew’s Journey
When Andrew first learnt of his condition he had just completed his University degree and his unbelievable strength and determination is the only reason he has made it to where he is today, he was told that he would eventually lose his sight but could not be told how long it would be so he decided to take every opportunity he could, “I wanted to do my Accountancy qualifications, so I did, I wanted to travel the world, so I did, I wanted to help others in my situation so I did, I didn’t think I was invincible, I just realised how much I had taken for granted previously”.

After Andrews’s last travelling expedition 2 years ago he returned with almost no sight. He had already given up his job working at Cotrills as Head of Finance, which was a tough decision to take, and had to start facing the fact that normal everyday tasks were going to be a struggle. “I always knew this day would come but i hadn’t really thought about it all that much up until this point”. Andrew had to look for help from others and, after speaking to several organisations and not getting the type of help he needed, his mum suggested Henshaws.

How Henshaws helped Andrew
Andrew enrolled himself on the Skillstep course, a 12 week programme teaching all basic skills from IT to cooking. Andrew then went on to do an advanced IT course and has just started to learn how to read Braille. “I have to admit that the advancements in technology do help immensely, I’m a techno junkie and I like to keep ahead of the game when it comes to innovative new gadgets”.

The achievements he has made from first being diagnosed 16 years ago right up until today are inspiring. He has never let his situation get him down and he owes a lot of this to the people and the support network offered at Henshaws. “The staff at Henshaws would bend over backwards for anyone in need of their help and the people you get to interact with on a daily basis help to make you come to terms with the way your life will change and even offer some helpful tips for day to day life. Without their strength and support i could not have managed to get through this extremely difficult period in my life”.

Get in touch
If you need advice and support to cope with sight loss, please get in touch with us on 016 872 1234/ 0151 708 7055/ 0191 2759417

Sculptor creates unique artwork for Henshaws in memory of mother

David Burt in his workshopWe have recently been presented with a striking solid copper sculpture by renowned artist David Burt, from East Sussex whose work was exhibited in the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy.

David has supported Henshaws since the death of his mother, Constance Burt, in 1996. Constance was a staunch supporter of Henshaws for over 40 years and left a £1000 legacy for Henshaws in her Will. He wished to continue her good work and since her death has been a regular supporter of Henshaws himself, donating over £500 over the last 15 years and now, in her memory, has created the cast copper piece. The sculpture, which he has named ‘Helping Hands’ was created to reflect the spirit and values of Henshaws and features images of people who have used Henshaws services, is accessible and tactile and features the name of the piece in Braille at the bottom.
Nick Marr with Sculpture
David says of his sculptures “Creating relief sculpture is a journey which sustains my spirit and gives me the feeling that I am leaving a creative expression of my feelings about a subject, which will be my thumbprint in a hundred years.”

The artwork, which he generously donated to Henshaws, is now on display in the Manchester resource centre for service users and staff to enjoy.

“We want to thank Mr Burt for creating such a unique sculpture for Henshaws. Both he and his mother have offered us great generosity over the years, of which we are immensely grateful.” Nick Marr, CEO of Henshaws

Greater Manchester Marathon

If you’ve ever thought about running a marathon, but didn’t fancy competing for a place for the London Marathon, why not run the Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford on 29th April 2012.

A marathon is a great goal to work towards, and of course a great way to raise money for Henshaws.

This is Manchester’s first marathon for over a decade and as Henshaws was chosen as one of the charity partners for the event, we’d love you to run for us!

The race will take place right on our doorstep in Trafford and will start and finish in Longford Park in Stretford (5 minutes away from our Manchester resource centre) You will be joining the 5000 runners expected to take part and will pass iconic landmarks such as Old Trafford football and cricket grounds and Dunham Massey Park over the 26 mile course.

There’s still plenty of time to start your training for the marathon – Coach Julie Fairclough has put together some fantastic training plans for everyone from beginners to experienced runners. Even if you have just a little experience in running, Julie is confident her training plans will help you to complete the marathon in a good time. http://www.greatermanchestermarathon.com/training/training-plans

We have a limited number of places available, but they’re going fast. If you want to take part in this landmark event and run for Henshaws, please book your place by contacting Hannah.saxon@henshaws.org.uk 01423 814501

Be part of this historic event and run for Henshaws!

Double your donation this Christmas

This year, Henshaws are taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

Image of Girl - FaithThe thought of losing your sight is terrifying, but learning that your child suffers from sight loss is indescribable. Our specialist Children and Families team help families to overcome the barriers that sight loss can cause. 

If you want to help, now is the time to do it, as this year for our Christmas appeal, we are teaming up with the Big Give to take part in their annual challenge. If you donate to us between 5th and 9th of December online The Big Give will


If you can help us reach our target of £4,000 by donating during challenge week, the total will be doubled to £8,000 

This will allow us to provide 695 hours of specialist support and care to visually impaired children and parents, and without this support; many families would not know where to turn. 

If you donate £40 we will get £80Parent and child

This will pay for a family with a VI child to join one of our day activities – which give families with visually impaired children the much needed support to enable them to do activities they wouldn’t ever think were possible 

If you donate £125 we will get £250

Which would pay for a volunteer to be recruited and trained to support our children and families team in the valuable work they do. 

The more you give the higher the final amount will be, so please consider making a donation to help families in need of support. Please visit our project page on the Big Give Website between the 5th and 10th of December to make your donation. 

Your money will help families like Kait’s recive the support they need

Kait and Oscar

“I can’t thank Henshaws enough for what they’ve done for Oscar and our family. Oscar is a wonderful little boy, so full of life, interest and adventure. I know things aren’t always going to be easy for him but we’ve learnt how we can support him and I’m confident that he has a wonderful future ahead.”

Kait Hughes, whose son Oscar is blind.


Save the date!

Remember, your donation will only be doubled if you donate here between 5th and 9th of December – so add the date to your diary and the web address to your bookmarks or please email – fundraising@henshaws.org.uk if you would like to recieve a reminder email on challenge week.

Thank you for your support.

Henshaws goes mobile with free IT sessions for visually impaired people

Mobile IT Henshaws are offering 12 week IT courses for blind and visually  impaired people. The courses, supported by the Big Lottery Fund, are a great way to gain all the  computer skills needed to get to grips with IT and participants  will learn the basics of IT, how to use specialist magnification  and speech-based ‘access technology’ as well as internet and  email tuition to enable people to send emails and browse the  internet.


The sessions last for 2.5 hours.  And as well as taking place at the Manchester and Merseyside Henshaws resource centre, take place in the following community venues;


  • Bootle Library, Stanley Road, Bootle, on Monday morning
  • Birkdale Library, Liverpool Road, Birkdale on Wednesday morning and afternoon
  • Knowsley (Bradbury Centre until New Year) Yuens Way on Thursday afternoon
  • Ashville Lodge, Ashville Road, Birkenhead  on Thursday morning
  • St Helens Millennium Centre, Corporation Street, St Helens,  on Tuesday morning and afternoon and Thursday morning and afternoon

Greater Manchester:

  • Oldham Link Centre, Union Street, Oldham  On Wednesday morning and afternoon
  • The Action for Blind people Centre, Albert Street, Eccles on Friday morning
  • The Walkden Link, Smith Street, Walkden  Centre on Friday afternoon
  • The Methodist Centre in Oldham Street Manchester City Centre on Thursday morning and afternoon
  • Atherton House, Talbot Road, Old Trafford on Tuesday morning and afternoon and Friday afternoon

Bill Milner, Merseyside Area Manager, says the courses are great for people who are visually impaired, even those who have never used a computer before. “Being able to use a computer and surf the web is just as important for blind and partially sighted people as it is for anyone else. Whether it’s to look for a job, shop online or keep in touch with friends by email, these sessions will give people all the skills they need to use their computer with confidence.”

Anyone interested in booking a place or finding out more, can do so by phoning Neil Kynaston, Henshaws I.T. Training Manager on 0151 708 7055.