November 2015

The Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, recently visited local charity, Balham Resources Centre, which supports people living with sight loss from across the Borough.

Before taking a tour of the service, the Mayor addressed service users, volunteers, and members of staff at the centre, which is located on Yukon Road, as part of her visit. She highlighted the important value the centre brings to the area, and commended the work being done to support vulnerable people with visual impairment in Wandsworth. During the visit, the Mayor was able to gain an insight into the services provided, and learned about the challenges faced by the visually impaired community.

Service user and volunteer, Natalie Wright, also had the opportunity to stand alongside the Mayor and speak about her experience at Balham Resources Centre, where she recounted the immensely positive impact the charity has had on her life.

Individuals living with sight loss and visual impairment often face significant daily challenges, and barriers to engaging in their local community. Balham Resources Centre, which has been run by the Thomas Pocklington Trust since 2002, aims to tackle these challenges head on by offering services which reduce isolation, provide communication support, and offer health related advice.

With over 500 registered service users, the centre runs a wide range of high quality services which provide holistic support for a community which can often be overlooked, marginalised, and isolated. This includes free counselling and a Low Vision Clinic, and a variety of social activities such as Tai Chi, art classes, IT skills sessions, healthy cooking classes, dance, and creative writing workshops.

Balham Resources Centre fosters community cohesion by supporting service users to become more engaged in local activities. The Link Up programme is run to support people living with sight loss to attend events such as theatre trips and sports matches, whilst the Befriending programme aims to reduce isolation by organising face-to-face meetups, telephone calls, and pen pal services through email, with the help of volunteers.

Peter Corbett, Chief Executive of the Thomas Pocklington Trust, commented:

“We were delighted to welcome The Mayor of Wandsworth, Councillor Nicola Nardelli, to Balham Resources Centre.

Service users, volunteers, and members of staff welcomed the opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by the sight loss community, and show the Mayor how the services being delivered at Balham Resources Centre are having a wide-ranging and positive impact on the lives of those living with visual impairments in Wandsworth.”