Blind support group needs vol­un­teer driv­ers

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO -

Be­ing blind can almost feel like you’re on home de­ten­tion, ac­cord­ing to Toko­roa’s Mike Judkins.

Join­ing the Toko­roa Blind Foun­da­tion support group has opened doors that he never knew ex­isted.

‘‘I’m nearly 70 and for me it’s an out­ing with peo­ple with sim­i­lar is­sues.’’

The group, which started in Novem­ber 2013, meets once a month, tak­ing trips away when­ever pos­si­ble.

Vol­un­teer or­gan­iser Sue Ra­m­age said the idea to set up a support group for South Waikato’s blind pop­u­la­tion felt nat­u­ral after watch­ing her mother do some­thing sim­i­lar in Hamil­ton for more than 50 years.

She teamed up with re­gional vol­un­teer ser­vices co-or­di­na­tor Tr­ish Mur­ray in Novem­ber 2013 and the group has blos­somed since.

Ra­m­age said about 10 to 15 peo­ple show up to ev­ery meet­ing but they hope to in­crease this.

Ac­cord­ing to the Blind Foun­da­tion there are more than 60 blind peo­ple liv­ing in the South Waikato.

Mur­ray said there are about 30 of those who would want to come to the meet­ings but can’t be­cause of lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons such as trans­port.

‘‘That’s one of the big­gest prob­lems is get­ting driv­ers. Pretty much for any blind or vis­ually im­paired per­son the big­gest is­sue is trans­port for what­ever so­cial or recre­ation event they want to go to and there’s a lot of grief at­tached to that.

‘‘Lots of peo­ple can still see pretty fine but are legally blind so can’t drive so they lose their in­de­pen­dence.’’

Group mem­ber agreed.

‘‘The only time I get out of town is if I go to the hos­pi­tal when my dad takes me,’’ Miller said.

The group is look­ing for vol­un­teers. All can­di­dates will need to com­plete a po­lice check.



GO­ING STRONG: The Toko­roa Blind Foun­da­tion support group is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help reach po­ten­tial mem­bers strug­gling with trans­port.

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