Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind helps 7,000 but says still ‘huge need’ for services
- Credit: Archant
A Norfolk charity which helped more than 7,000 people living with sight loss in the past year said there was still a 'huge need' for its services.
The comments were made during the 211th annual meeting of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) - one of the county's oldest charities.
More than 100 trustees, staff, volunteers and service users attended the AGM on Thursday.
Chairman of the trustees Kit Cator said 2017 saw the charity's first fully trained eye clinic liaison officer take up their post at the James Paget Hospital.
He said it was hoped the position will be replicated at all of the county's hospitals.
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'We have looked after over 7,000 blind and visually-impaired people in Norfolk over the past 12 months,' he said.
'Our equipment centres in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Cromer, along with our mobile unit, saw nearly 5,000 visitors during the year.
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The charity's new chief executive Gina Dorma, who joined in August, said it was 'vital' to continue raising awareness about the support available to the visually impaired.
The meeting heard how 500 people are diagnosed with serious sight loss each year in Norfolk.
'I have been bowled over by the breadth and depth of the work done by the NNAB; there is an energy in the organisation which is inspirational,' she told the meeting.
'We do so much, but there is so much more to do,' she added.
'We need to find ways of raising awareness of the challenges that visually-impaired people face, and of the support which we can provide to help them enjoy independent and fulfilled lives.
'And we must ensure that our services are easy to access and available for every visually-impaired person in Norfolk who needs them.'
The meeting also welcomed guest speaker Steve Tyler, a former head of solutions, strategy and planning at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The NNAB's annual meeting was chaired by the High Sheriff of Norfolk, James Bagge, and attended by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, David Pullman, the Mayor of King's Lynn Carol Bower, the Mayor of Great Yarmouth Kerry Robinson-Payne, the Sheriff of Norwich, David Walker, and the Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk, Anna Dugdale.