Blind and visually impaired people are celebrating the expansion of a Kirklees charity designed to improve their digital dexterity.
Kirklees Visual Impairment Network, or KVIN for short, were the recipients of £300,000 worth of lottery funding that has allowed them to open a centre in Dewsbury.
KVIN’s mission statement is to bring visually impaired people together to teach one another skills on smartphones and computers, in doing so make their lives easier.
Their expansion into Dewsbury is designed to attract people who would otherwise find it difficult to get to Huddersfield. They will initially meet at on Thursdays at Dewsbury Town Hall from midday until 2pm.
Pauline Nugent is one of the people who help to run the charity. Speaking at the opening of the Dewsbury branch last week, she said that it was always the next logical step.
“We badly needed to offer this service to people that couldn’t hope to make it to Huddersfield.
“The community is growing all the time and we hope to attract a number of volunteers to help one another.
“That’s what we rely on really, people, and we hope that even more people come forward to share what they know.”
One woman who’s life has been transformed by KVIN is visually impaired retiree Sue Dunne, who has been visiting their sessions for two years.
She said, “I enjoy it so much and they’ve really inspired me that there is a way to get more out of your smartphone. It’s changed my life.
“It’s a really friendly community for visually impaired people and it’s a huge support network, not just for tech stuff for for other things, we all pass information from one to another.”
Sam Heaton is registered blind and is one of the volunteers who has helped to set up the Dewsbury branch. She said, “It’s all about using tech to be able to go about your life.
“Something as easy as meeting friends can be an obstacle for visually impaired people just being able to speak to people online can make a huge difference to someone’s life. The charity is all about enhancing people’s lives through the use of technology.”
Alongside their new opening in Dewsbury, the £300,000 winfall will help pay for two part-time members of staff to assist with operations.
Anybody who could benefit from the services of KVIN should visit http://www.kvin.org.uk or call Pauline on 07982 434019.