Introduction to Beacon Centre for the Blind
Beacon Centre for the Blind is a local, registered charity which helps people of all ages with sight loss live fuller and more independent lives. Our services include a mix of residential, day care and community services. We are the only organisation in the Black Country offering a full range of services to children and adults. We employ more than 100 people, have over 200 volunteers and more than 3,000 service users, of whom approximately 60 per cent have an additional disability.
Beacon at Boundary Way
Beacon Centre for the Blind have had a presence for almost 10 years now at Boundary Way encouraging Blind & partially sighted people to get involved down at the allotments.
Just for a minute put yourself into the world of gardening with visual impairment. Imagine trying to feel if you have weeded properly, or if you have already dug an area of soil and are trying to sow seeds the correct distance apart.
Although we are all at Boundary Way to grow and develop our gardening skills the allotment acts as a space for our clients to become more active, enjoy the benefits of the outdoors & exercise, but most importantly it helps to combat social isolation and enables our clients to feel valued members of their local community.
Gardening with sight loss can throw up all sorts of obstacles, such as keeping pathways clear, recognising different plants, navigating the plot & knowing when a crop is ready to be picked. Our visually impaired gardeners like to grow plants that are easily identifiable by smell, touch and taste. This allows them to identify plants without having to ask what they are and helps them become more independent around the plot. Again, certain plants can be useful for navigation, such as the pungent curry plant and lavender. Our gardeners try to avoid plants with spines or thorns, such as gooseberry bushes and roses! We also like to encourage new gardeners by planting crops such as radishes and lettuces, which give a quick crop and do not often fail, helping new gardeners with their confidence. Wondering how our gardeners take on these challenges, next time you are at Boundary Way just ask.
Over the years plot holders at Boundary Way have been brilliant with our clients, stopping to ask questions about their visual impairment, what they enjoy about gardening, passing on advice, useful ideas and generally making us feel really welcome.
We are always after people who wish to lend a hand or volunteer with our visually impaired gardeners, so if you have a bit of time to spare then please, get in touch. You can find our details on the Contact page, or for more information on volunteering or sight loss please visit our website: www.beaconvision.org
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