capture2A summer garden party marked the official opening of garden set up by blind and partially sighted people in Selby on Sunday 11 September 2016. The Optimeyes Garden was created by Selby District Vision (SDV), with the help of RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Members of SDV designed the garden so local blind and partially sighted people can maintain and enhance their passion for gardening. The group worked tirelessly to secure a space for the garden, and transformed it from a strip of wasteland in to a beautiful allotment space. It also acts as a place for people with sight loss to socialise in.

Emily Havercroft, Development Worker at SDV, said:

“Our summer garden party was the ideal opportunity to celebrate the launch with all the garden’s members, staff, family and friends. I’m thrilled everyone is enjoying the Optimeyes Garden and proud of all the members who have contributed to its success.

“We’re grateful to the local businesses who have supported it and we look forward to the garden, and our members, continuing to blossom.”

optimeyes-garden-after-2Claire Cawkwell, RNIB Optimeyes Project Manager, said:

“RNIB is delighted to have worked with SDV to create the Optimeyes Garden. It’s fantastic to see blind and partially sighted people from the community come together to celebrate their hobbies and support one another.”

Brian, who is partially sighted, helped create the garden. He said:

“Being involved in the Optimeyes Garden has done me such a lot of good. It gets me out of the house, which makes me feel happier and boosts my confidence.

“It’s important to have my own interests and independence, without always needing to rely on my wife. Until the garden, I didn’t have other people I could talk to about dealing with sight loss.”

Susan Ferguson officially opened the Optimeyes Garden. A local gardening enthusiast, Susan regularly opens her own garden for the public through the ‘National Garden’s Open for Charity’ organisation and is a keen supporter of SDV.

Just before she cut the ribbon Susan said:

“I know that gardening can be very therapeutic and this community garden project is a wonderful transformation.”

SDV would like to thank the following people, businesses and tradesmen for their generosity and time, without them the project could not have happened:

       Selby District Council
       DS Fencing, Darren Sowden
       Websters Fencing
       Selby Community Furniture Store and Workshop
       Selby Garden Centre
       Selby Homebase
       Plumbing Service, Danny Scott
       And of course all of our fantastic
       Garden Group Members, Volunteers, Staff, Families and Friends

The garden is part of a wider Optimeyes project led by RNIB in partnership with six local independent sight loss charities, including SDV. The project was launched to identify older people in the community living with or at risk of sight loss. It also aims to tackle loneliness and improve the quality of life for older blind and partially sighted people in Yorkshire and South Lincolnshire.

To find out more about Optimeyes please visit: http://www.rnib.org.uk/helping-older-people-take-control-through-new-lottery-funded-project.