Henshaws Volunteer Set to Retire After 16 Years of Service

Ann UrmstonDedicated Henshaws volunteer, Ann Urmston is retiring from her role as leader of one of our social groups after 16 years of service. Ann, who worked for the Health Service for over 40 years came to Henshaws in 1996 after seeing an advert for volunteer drivers for social groups meeting at Henshaws.

Ann’s commitment didn’t stop there, after deciding that she wanted to get more involved with the groups she was helping to transport to Henshaws, she was asked if she would like to take over the lead role in organising the groups and the activities.

“After working for the Health Service for most of my career, I knew that I would need something to not only occupy my time but which would also be helping others too, that’s why when I saw the advert in the local paper for Henshaws Volunteer Drivers I decided to apply.”

The group, which gives members an opportunity to meet and find out more information about the kinds of support they can access for their visual impairments, it is also a great opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences peer to peer.

Ann will be sad to leave her post, but retiring will mean that she has more time to dedicate to her family and endure less of a commute to Henshaws every week from Sefton. This won’t however, stop her from visiting the group, “It’s the members of the group that keep you coming, I’ve made some great friendships over the years and will be sure to pop in every now and again to see how they are getting on. Some of the group members only venture out once a week for this opportunity and really look forward to it, an

BREAKING: £15,000 raid at Henshaws Offices

Picture of Nick Marr by the broken into equipmentComputers worth over £15,000 used by our visually impaired service users were stolen during a raid last Sunday night at our resource centre in Manchester. The equipment, six new lottery-funded Hewlett Packard Pro-Book laptops with 17-inch screens which use a magnifying facility for visually impaired people, including children, were taken.

Nick Marr, Henshaws Chief Executive, said: “We are shocked that someone would steal from a charity.”

Detective Constable Stephen Mathias, said: “It is shocking to think that burglars would go to such lengths to steal computers which that play a vital role in the education of blind children.”

If you or a company can help Henshaws replace these invaluable pieces of equipment so we can continue in our work to support people with visual impairments, then please contact us on fundraising@henshaws.org.uk or call 0161 872 1234.

Do you want to run in the Manchester Marathon for free? We’re giving away 6 places!

Men in running poseDo you need a little push to run for Henshaws in the Greater Manchester Marathon? Well we are giving away 6 free marathon places to the first 6 people to get in touch!

Henshaws was recently announced as one of the charity partners for the brand new Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford, Manchester’s first marathon for more than a decade, alongside local charity The Christie.

The race will take place in Trafford on 29th April  2012 and will start and finish in Longford Park in Stretford. The five thousand runners expected to take part will pass iconic landmarks such as the Old Trafford football and cricket grounds and Dunham Massey Park over the 26mile course.

To be one of the first lucky 6 to gain free entrance to the Manchester Marathon (normally £48!), minimum sponsorship is £500, contact Hannah.saxon@henshaws.org.uk or call 01423 814501.

Good luck!

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