A GENEROUS donation has been made to help blind and partially-sighted people use computers to “change their lives”.
Councillor Paul Stradling, 65, who is Horden’s representative for Durham County Council, has helped to supply the Horden Youth and Community Centre with specially-adapted keyboards, mice and adjustable workstations.
Microsoft then offered software licences for free, which in total would have cost nearly £25,000.
In 2007, centre manager Barbara Dunn and committee chairman Tony Robinson met with a representative from Blind Voice UK. They began plans to create a specialist centre for the visually impaired.
A further grant of £15,000 from Social Care Institute for Excellence in November 2011, helped to buy laptops, headsets and a converter that turns text on a Kindle into spoken word or braille print.
The Visually Impaired People scheme has become a vital part of HYCC’s commitment to help over the last 18 month.
Coun Stradling said: “I think it is difficult to come to terms with a computer in the first place.
“It is a marvellous achievement to have this software put in place and I am very pleased to say I am a part of this.
“I am sure that the scheme is valued throughout the area and it is making a difference to lives across the area.
“It is important to make sure that everyone gets a fair crack at learning to use computers.
“The people who are involved are benefitting from a fantastic scheme and facilities.”
Barbara Dunn added: “The VIP project offers one-to-one instruction on using computers, helping vision impaired people become more independent.
“They can gain confidence, and get the chance to do all those techie things that the rest of us often take for granted.
“People have been helped and now there are equal opportunities to learn and develop for the visually impaired people of the area in a fantastic environment.”