To help raise funds for the renovation of the Barony St John buildings, a unique Fashion Show took place on Sunday in Saltcoats – twenty two of the thirty models were blind or visually impaired.
The event was held at M&Co Saltcoats and also highlighted how, over the past two years, some of the models had attended my charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety’s confidence boosting safety classes, specifically designed for people with low or no vision.
Having established that many people struggled to maintain their previous confidence levels when diagnosed with a vision impairment and, as their vision decreased, would prefer to stay indoors rather than face a noisy world, full of dangers and threats that they could no longer see, I set about developing a course that could address these issues.
Why you may ask?
Well, Hate Crimes against disabled people have risen by 51% in the past year alone however people who are blind or vision impaired are more than twice as likely to be attacked than a sighted individual, mostly due to the fact that they cannot identify their attacker. I felt that this had to be addressed and so I worked with a variety of organisations for the blind to develop this course.
Last year, the course development was concluded and I began to offer free of charge in our Barony St John Centre, the Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, near Falkirk, and in Deafblind Scotland’s Learning & Development Centre in Kirkintilloch.
The course went on to win the “Pioneering Project Award 2018” at last year’s Scottish Charity Awards.
As the confidence levels of course participants built up, their anxiety levels decreased and so did their fear of being attacked and soon they began to venture out more, leading richer, fuller lives again…some for the first time in over thirty years.
The Fashion Show on Sunday was the culmination of all this training, showing the renewed confidence the course participants had received as they strutted their stuff on the catwalk in front of an audience of almost one hundred people.
It also highlighted the re-launch of my charity’s weekly Personal Safety classes for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which currently run free of charge at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre and will soon be running at the Barony St John Centre in Ardrossan and Deafblind Scotland’s Learning & Development Centre in Kirkintilloch.
If you know of anyone who would benefit from our training, contact me on 07900 950599.
Here are some photos from a fab day.