Inspirational Rosie Helps Those With Sight Loss

A group from Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, including Rosie Brady, cutting cake for an event

To help mark Deafblind Awareness Week, we revisit Ann Evans interview with inspirational Rosie Brady who helps those with Sight Loss. 

Rosie Brady would be the first to tell you that losing your sight can be devastating. She will also tell you that the thing to try to do is focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.  

It’s a message that she gives to everyone who finds themselves in need of Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, which Rosie co-founded along with Tricia Griffiths in 2010.  

Since then, the centre has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest honour a charity can receive. Both ladies also learned that they are to receive the British Empire Medal. Mention these honours to Rosie, who was registered blind in 2008, and she will quickly tell you that it’s all down to their volunteers.  

A Friendship Club

“They’re brilliant,” she says, listing the activities they provide, such as Information Communication Technology (ICT) sessions, creative writing, a devices workshop, a music group, craft club, an allotment club, a friendship club, braille classes, tai chi, theatre trips, “door to key in the door” minibus service, and a charity shop.  

Additionally, it’s a community building and home to Community Broadcasting Services, who produce a talking newspaper for Coventry people with sight loss.  

The journey to creating a centre that has around 100 regular users, and another 30 who drop in now and then, has not been easy.  

Mother and grandmother Rosie lost her husband, Jim, in 2002. She looked to the positives and decided to learn how to use a computer. Aware of Sense, the deafblind centre across town, she enrolled on a computer course. Also on the same site was the Vista Tandem Group, which arranges for sighted people to partner with a blind person on tandem rides. Tricia Griffiths was secretary for the charity.  

Help People With Sight Loss

However, Sense was moving to Birmingham, and everything was closing – meaning there would be no resources for people with sight loss in Coventry. Realising this just could not happen, Rosie and Tricia joined forces.  

For two years they battled through the red tape of the steering group set up to see if volunteers could run the centre and if a lease could be granted, among other problems.  

In 2010, armed with a seven-year lease, but no money, they set about building the charity. The CRCB has helped hundreds of people.  

“The centre has all kinds of useful equipment to help people with sight loss,” Rosie says. “Big pushbutton telephones, magnifiers and computers.

“If someone wants to come in and send e-mails or do some internet shopping, they can, and we help them with anything.  

“But the centre is so much more than that. People love coming here; so many great lasting friendships have been forged over the years.  

“But we couldn’t do this without our volunteers. We have about seventy, and we’d welcome more. Everyone brings their own particular skills – that’s how it works.”  

Less than 10 years after opening came a major highlight of the CRCB story. They were able to purchase the building, the land and the adjacent Boston Lodge, which had been a care home. This acquisition hopefully secures the future for visually impaired Coventry citizens for years to come.  

‘A Purpose For Living’

At the presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, one of the blind service users spoke. What she said echoed the feelings of all. “Going to the centre gives me a purpose for living.” 

For more information on Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, visit www. 

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Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.