A POPULAR resource centre for blind and visually impaired people in Solihull is under threat of closure.
Around 30 users meet monthly at the outlet within Solihull Library sharing experiences and a coffee.
Grandfather Michael Hulse, is a regular visitor to the resource centre. The Lode Lane resident has Macular Disease, a condition usually of older adults that results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces although some peripheral vision remains.
The 77 -year-old said: “We were told this week that it will close and they have given us three months until that happens. The library is great - there are enlarged books and the computors are set for us to use so we can go any time of the day. I know another lady who goes to the group has written a letter about the closure. Its’s a shame really.”
A spokesperson for Action for Blind People, an associate charity of RNIB, who run the group said: “In April 2009 Action for Blind People became an Associate charity of RNIB, in an innovative partnership combining regional service delivery across England. This partnership enables both organisations to share skills and deliver services in line with the UK Vision Strategy.
“Action is currently considering options for an improved way of delivering its services that will contribute to the delivery of the UK Vision Strategy as an Associate charity of RNIB.
“Action can confirm that the provision of the resource centres in Solihull is currently under review. However, it must be stressed that any proposals that have been put forward are under consultation and a final decision will be made no later than January 2010.
“Should proposals go forward, Action will look at other options available in the area to limit the impact on the local visual impairment community, who remain at the heart of everything Action for Blind People does.”
l The Macular Disease Society helpline number is 0845 241 2041 or 01264 350559. The Solihull branch meet monthly at St Augustine’s Church Hall in the town centre. Action for Blind People can be contacted on their National Freephone Helpline 0800 915 4666.