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Tees Vision Connect is a group based at Thornaby Pavilion which supports individuals who are blind or partially sighted, together with these we have developed a project called Active Vision. After working in partnership with Tees Active they were awarded funding from the Sport England Tackling Inequalities Fund. The funding enabled them to provide physical activity opportunities to the group to get them active after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Tees Active interviewed several members from the group to discover what impact Active Vision has had on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Alex’s Story

Alex is the newest addition to the Tees Vision Connect family and he was generous enough to share his story with us. “My wife Janet found out about Tees Vision Connect and the Active Vision project. I was nervous coming along to my first session, since the pandemic hit, I’ve stayed inside other than when taking the dog for a walk. I had cabined up; I was staying inside most of the time and it effected my health. I’m enjoying playing indoor bowls, I’ve made some great friends and have even bought myself a set of bowls. I feel healthier and happier in myself, and my confidence has grown since coming to Active Vision sessions, I can even jump on a bus by myself now.”

The Active Vision project has not only impacted on Alex’s life, but his wives too. Janet told us “I can’t thank Tees Active enough for everything they’ve done for us. Since coming to Active Vision sessions Alex’s energy and mood have increased a lot, which has done us both good. Before he started coming here, Alex didn’t interact with anybody and now he’s met a lot of nice people and it’s really brought him out of his shell. Alex taking part in these sessions means that I’ve got my own space and time back too, I can continue to keep active with my Activ8 Health & Fitness membership.”

Tees Vision Connect member Sue is from Sunderland and travels via public transport to Tees Active’s Active Vision sessions once a month. “I like coming down here, Sunderland doesn’t offer events like this where groups like ourselves can go out and do activities. The last few years have been very difficult and it’s great to be able to get active again with a great group of people. This group shows people that yeah you might be losing your eyesight or have no eyesight, but you can still have a life.”

Mick Riley, Tees Vision Connect Chairman adds “Tees Vision Connect brings visually impaired people from around the Northeast together and provides a family unit where no matter how visually impaired you are, you are not alone. Dealing with sight loss is already a challenge, but the limited access to activities and emotional support often leads those with visual impairments to become incredibly isolated.

“As a non-blind person, I was super confident, would go anywhere and deal with anything but when I lost my sight, I spent about 18 months indoors and went nowhere. I know what it’s like to come out of that dark place, so I set this organisation up to help others and the support we’ve had from Tees Active has been fantastic!”.

If you or someone you know would benefit from speaking with the team at Tees Vision Connect click the link below.

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