Published: 14:00, 06 January 2017
We're pleased to announce that our charity of the year is Kent Association for the Blind (KAB).
We will be working closely with KAB throughout the year and each month we will be bringing you a different story.
Chief Executive Eithne Rynne said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the Kent Online and KMTV Charity of the Year.
"Sight loss is something which affects so many people and our rehab workers support thousands of people across the region.
"This exciting partnership with KentOnline and KMTV is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of visual impairment, the importance of good eye health, and provide ways in which readers can support us with our work.”
KAB has been established for more than 95 years and is the only local charity in Kent helping blind and partially sighted people to live fulfilled, healthy and safe lives.
The charity provides a unique range of services to thousands of people and anyone who needs their help.
Amanda Croft-Pearman, Head of Fundraising said: "Everything we do is tailored to meet the individual needs of our clients, from the very young, to those in work, to our more elderly users and range from training in mobility and daily living skills, to IT Training and equipment provision as well as advice, guidance and emotional support.
"Our workers transform people’s lives by providing expert training and advice on how to stay independent and to get the most out of life.
"Our Assistive Technology teams continue to inspire sight impaired people to try new ways of communicating and interacting with an increasingly complex world.
"However you choose to get involved, you can be assured your contribution will be making a real difference to the lives of visually impaired people in your local community."
If you need any help, or if someone you know is experiencing sight loss you can contact your local team for advice and support.
There are a range of services offered by the charity, from talking newspapers to rehabilitation.
This month, the charity is asking for help to raise £15,000 in January which could pay for six months of support for anyone who needs the skills of their specially trained team.
Their Christmas and New Year Appeal is inspired by two sisters in their fifties, Fay and Karen, who both have Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Until recently their mum was doing much of the cooking and housework for them as she thought that was best.
However, last year their mum’s health deteriorated and the two sisters had to step in to help her for a change.
With this upheaval, they desperately needed the experience and support of Nicola, a KAB Rehab Worker.
When Nicola first met them, they had no idea how a kitchen worked; they had never used any equipment and certainly never used an oven.
After six months of guidance the sisters have literally transformed their lives and amazed everyone with their culinary skills and growing confidence in the kitchen.
They've even compiled a braille cooking book to store their favourite recipes.
Without Nicola and the resources of KAB they would never have experienced the joy of creating their own food and the sense of fulfillment and independence that their hard work has brought them.
For more information, please visit www.kab.org.uk.
Within the total UK population of visually impaired people, only approximately 4% are totally blind.
Kent Association for the Blind work with more 11,000 people at any one time and their services are completely tailored to the individual needs of the people they work with, and importantly, they will work with them for as long as they need.
Last year their rehabilitation workers made 7,000 visits to people which equates to more than 10,000 hours of training and guidance.
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