VIPs learn through hotel break

Sixteen 'VIPs' took over a Cromer hotel – but not one of them was a household name.

These VIPs were visually impaired people, who gathered for a learning mini-break at the Virginia Court Hotel aimed at finding out how they can continue to live independent lives, support each other, and find fun and friendship at the same time.

The three-day programme was put together by the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, which provides services for 20,000 people across the county each year. The association relies entirely on donations to carry out its work

The NNAB's equipment and information centres manager Dorothy Bowen said the sessions had been designed to address issues surrounding the emotional impact of sight loss and to reassure people that they could still live rich and fulfilling lives.

She added: 'It was for people who may recently have become blind, and for those who have found things have changed for them as they have become older and are now facing fresh challenges.


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'We looked at practical things like finding out what's available for them, but also about coming to terms with blindness and about mutual support, building up you confidence and pulling together.'

Talks from NNAB staff members over the three days included an update on the latest home aids available to sustain an independent lifestyle by Richard Polley, a leisure activities and sensory gardening session by Mark Smith, and an exercise class conducted by Rachel Aldus.

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Stephanie Ash from the Norfolk Museums Service explained how many artefacts on display in the county's museums could now be handled by blind people, and blind cook book author Maxine Turkington and Norfolk County Council's senior rehabilitation officer Sue Warnes staged a cookery demonstration.

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