On 6th February 1914 a group of people came together in the Victoria Hall, Derby, all wanting to improve the lives of the estimated 600 blind and partially sighted people in the county.
Derbyshire Association for the Blind was born, with the 9th Duke of Devonshire accepting the position of President. Today the 12th Duke is our Patron, maintaining that connection. We became Sight Support Derbyshire in 2011
Our first services included home visiting, working with schools and education authorities and providing printed material in Braille. Dedicated volunteers carried out this work, funded mainly by wealthy benefactors including Herbert Strutt and Mr & Mrs FC Arkwright.
Although the original idea was to support blind and partially sighted children who were missing out on education, the outbreak of the First World War created the additional need to support young men returning from the Trenches with horrific eye injuries.
Blind and partially sighted people explored the twin histories of the Great War and Sight Support Derbyshire in our 100 Years and Still Serving Project, funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund, in 2014.
Over time our services have changed and expanded. We have over 4,000 registered members and have 13,000 individual contacts a year. Our services include rehabilitation, equipment, hospital support, advice and information, low vision assessments, children and young people’s services and more.
Society has changed radically since 1914. But our mission, to improve the quality of life of visually impaired people, remains the same. We will always be a local charity for local people.
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