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Legacy fund cash supporting ‘VIPs’

Rio Tinto's Joanne Hannay, seated, and Northumberland County Blind Association's Fran Smith, left, and Lorraine Dryden. Picture by Simon Williams / Crest Photography

Rio Tinto's Joanne Hannay, seated, and Northumberland County Blind Association's Fran Smith, left, and Lorraine Dryden. Picture by Simon Williams / Crest Photography

The charity that supports vision impaired people in the county has received a £25,000 grant from Rio Tinto’s legacy fund.

Northumberland County Blind Association (NCBA) provides a range of products and services to more than 5,300 people across the county.

Rio Tinto’s donation has purchased specialised aids including adapted IT equipment to enable users to access emails, the internet and social media.

Lorraine Dryden, chief executive of Morpeth-based NCBA, said: “There are estimated to be more than 9,000 people in Northumberland with sight loss.

“Thanks to Rio Tinto’s generosity we are able to expand our level of provision which will improve the quality of life for thousands of local people.”

The technology purchased by Rio Tinto includes hi-tech talking scanners which allow letters, books and other text to be read aloud and portable equipment to enable low vision assessments to take place in local communities.

Other items purchased include USB boom boxes for playing audio talking books and newspapers, a colour detector helping people with low vision to match items of clothing, a liquid level indicator which warns the user when a vessel is reaching the point of being full and a wide selection of talking clocks and watches.

Anyone wishing to find out more about NCBA or to access its services, should call (01670) 514316.

From its resource centre in Morpeth, NCBA provides information and advice, rehabilitation, low vision assessments and transcription services.

Rio Tinto’s donation will equip clinics across Northumberland to enable more people to access support in their own local community.

Joanne Hannay, Rio Tinto’s Lynemouth regional economic development adviser, explained why the company was keen to make this donation: “NCBA exists to help people help themselves and as sight loss is on the increase the association’s work becomes all the more important.

“The equipment and services provided by NCBA enables members to perform everyday tasks that those of us with full sight often take for granted.

“It’s a fabulous cause and one which we at Rio Tinto are truly privileged to support.”

NCBA is the 17th organisation to receive support from Rio Tinto’s legacy fund.

The fund was established after the closure of the Lynemouth Smelter in March 2012 and has so far donated more than £575,000 to good causes in south east Northumberland.

 

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