A 10 mile walk along the Taff Trail organised by charity Sight Life and supported in partnership by Templeton LPA, showed that people with sight loss enjoy the outdoors as much as anyone.
Starting in Womanby Street, Sight Life members, staff and volunteers, including employees of local firm Templeton LPA, headed to Radyr Weir before returning to the City Arms.
Along the way, Templeton staff tried sim-specs for a glimpse of life with cataracts and other eye conditions.
They soon learnt that going down steps with limited vision on a Taff footbridge is no walk in the park. And guiding a blind person has its challenges too in busy parks like Bute and Hailey.
Cries from the stewards of “Keep left!” and “Bike!” kept order as the 40 strong group hugged the tree-lined, riverside route on a perfect autumn day (September 15th). Sight Life volunteer Stewart added his powerful voice, admitting that his dad used to be a Company Sergeant-Major.
Stewart was one of more than a dozen people with varying degrees of sight loss on the ramble. He’s a Sight Life volunteer in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is planning an 18 mile run in mid Wales next year. Another sight impaired walker, psychotherapist and bass guitarist Nicky talked of her ambition to form a band to play Nirvana and Foo Fighters numbers.
Andy, who was in the Navy and could drive before his sight deteriorated, belongs to the Sight Life photography group. Now, he’s exploring macro photography and stunning water drop photos.
Connor, one of the younger walkers, ran back for a white cane left at the picnic stop. He’s more used to the stage and will soon audition for work at the Sherman Theatre.
The sponsored walk provided an opportunity to talk to members of the public, including cyclists, about Sight Life, sight loss and what we do. Not surprisingly, guide dogs Peggy and Rea made many new friends. And many on the walk enjoyed seeing parts of Cardiff they’d never seen before.
Sight Life staff, volunteers and members are grateful to everyone who said hello, to the team from Templetons and the staff at the City Arms.
As well as giving people in Cardiff an insight into life with sight loss, the walk raised over £1,300 to support our work with blind and partially sighted people across south Wales.
Thanks again to Templeton LPA for supporting the event and to the City Arms for hosting the reception.
About Sight Life
Sight Life (formerly Cardiff Institute for the Blind) supports people who are blind or partially sighted in south Wales. In 2020/21 we helped more than 3,000 people in Cardiff, Swansea, RCT (Rhondda Cynon Taf), Neath and Port Talbot.
We provide statutory services to people with sight loss on behalf of the local Councils in Cardiff and Swansea.
In cooperation with the NHS, we provide a support service (ECLO: Eye Clinic Liaison Officer) for patients newly diagnosed with sight loss in University Hospital of Wales (UHW “The Heath”) in Cardiff.
Our aims are to ensure that people with sight loss can take part in all aspects of society, including work and leisure.
We offer a range of training, clubs and activities including audio-described theatre trips, confidence building, cooking, drama, employment support, fitness, gardening, IT, music, photography, rambling and yoga to people with sight loss.
Established in 1865, we are one of Wales’ oldest charities. In spring 2022 we returned to being an independent charity after being part of the UK wide RNIB Group since 2009.
We have approximately a dozen staff and annual income in the region of £440,000 from statutory contracts, grants, trusts, The National Lottery, donations and legacies.
Sight Life changed its name from Cardiff Institute for the Blind in 2019 to reflect the fact that we work beyond Cardiff, including Swansea and RCT (Rhondda Cynon Taf). The name change also recognises the fact that we support people with any degree of sight loss, not only those who are blind.
Please support our work and make a donation to Sight Life by clicking donate here.