Sunderland group puts a spring in kids’ step

Children, parents, paedatric physicians, members of the visually impared team and family support staff at the launch of  Useful Vision Activity Group at Silksworth Tennis & Wellness Centre.
Children, parents, paedatric physicians, members of the visually impared team and family support staff at the launch of Useful Vision Activity Group at Silksworth Tennis & Wellness Centre.
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BLIND youngsters are having a ball at a new activity group.

The Bounce sessions at Silksworth Tennis and Wellness Centre feature a range of games, music and soft play for blind and partially-sighted pre-school children.

Run by charity Useful Vision, they also aim to help support families affected by sight problems, helping them to access services and funding as well as introducing them to other people facing similar difficulties.

Sue Cullingworth, a family support worker with the group, said: “Bounce Sunderland has been set up so that parents who have young children with vision impairments do not feel so isolated.

“By coming to the group, the children can have some fun, parents can access the information they need through our family support service and provide mutual support to each other.

Bounce, which is funded by BBC Children in Need, also runs a sensory room at the venue.

Ms Cullingworth said: “After the Newcastle group was launched in March this year, it became clear that there was interest in this type of early intervention in the Sunderland and Durham area.

“There is a particular need for somewhere for parents and their children to socialise and interact.

“It is also important that we can give the children their own space.

“Because they work by touch, they need plenty of room, which is why we’ve set up a specific group at a venue where they can regularly meet.

“Here, the children have enough room and activities to play, learn, and enjoy themselves, as well as make new friends.

“The vision is to create opportunities for vision-impaired children across the North East.”

For more information about Useful Vision or to volunteer, call 0845 60 48 49 1, email info@usefulvision.org.uk or visit www.usefulvision.org.uk

*COUNTRYFILE presenter Adam Henson has thrown his support behind the Useful Vision charity.

The farmer and star of the popular BBC show, who is patron of the group, said: “When my late nephew Ben lost his sight, it brought home to me the challenges facing families with a visually impaired child.

“Finding suitable leisure activities, accessing information, and learning about the latest equipment and technology aids was often an uphill struggle.

“Ben was the inspiration for Useful Vision which was set up in 2005.

“Since then Useful Vision has become the lead provider of events and activities designed specifically for vision impaired children and their families in the North East.

“I am delighted to be its patron and support the work it does.”