Seeing Clearly: Torch Trust
Sight loss affects us in many ways. It may impact the work we can do or prevent us from continuing a hobby. It can restrict our mobility – losing our driving licence, bringing difficulty in finding our way around or crossing the road - even making it unsafe to go out unaccompanied.
Then there is the problem of reading and writing. We rely on the written word for so much.
What about church life? Blindness can present some very real problems, both to those exploring the Christian faith and to those who are already Christians. Sadly it is possible for visually impaired people to feel excluded from church life and fellowship when even simple things like getting to services, singing hymns, reading the Bible and then finding and making friends can be so daunting. This is where the Torch Trust plays its part.
From it’s humble beginnings in the 1950s Torch Trust for the blind is today an international organisation that still majors on accessible Christian literature and fellowship for blind and partially sighted people.
In 2004 Torch moved from an old manor house in the heart of the Leicestershire country to purpose built premises on the outskirts of Market Harborough. It is a fantastic new building, setting out to make it an example of good practice for disability access - for all disabilities - but especially for blind and partially sighted people - yet without looking like a hospital!
Something to read …
One of the main activities of Torch is to produce Christian magazines in braille, audio and giant print formats, designed for different ages and interests. “The Torch” magazine is one of six magazines published bi-monthly and has a circulation of over 9,700 extending to readers in 100 countries. A total of 150,000 Christian magazines are sent out annually.
Books in a form that visually impaired people can read are bulky and expensive to produce, so few can have much of a collection in their own homes. For example, a Bible in braille takes 5 foot of bookshelf space! Libraries are therefore of special significance to blind and partially sighted people. Torch runs a postal library service with more than 3500 Christian titles now available in combinations of braille, giant print and audio media. Books ranging from fiction to ethics.
Fellowship that fits …
But reading materials only address one aspect of the needs of visually impaired people. People who are blind and partially sighted often find themselves isolated and lonely-excluded from many of the social things that sighted people take for granted. Therefore the Torch Fellowship Groups fulfil a real need, the majority meeting monthly in over 121 centres around the UK. They provide an opportunity for Christian companionship and community. Informal and done in a way where eyesight isn’t an issue, these Groups complement the ministry of local churches - whom Torch seeks to encourage and equip to be fully inclusive and involving for people with visual impairments. In the different communities around the UK we aim to work alongside all the mainstream evangelical churches in starting new Torch Groups.
Peterborough Fellowship Group
One area we are seeking to open a new Group is Peterborough. Currently we have a small team of both sighted and unsighted people but would value more help.
Can you spare 2 to 3 hours each month? We need people who can collect and drive blind people from their homes to the monthly meeting or folk who enjoy meeting people by visiting and befriending blind people or people who have a flair for making cakes and sandwiches. All appropriate advice and training is provided.
Torch relies on the prayerful and voluntary support of Christian people and people sympathetic with our aims to sustain and to develop its vital work.
For further information please contact David Palmer Torch House on 01858 438260, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.torchtrust.org Torch Trust, Torch House, Torch Way, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 9HL. Reg. Charity No 095904© 2005 Torch Trust for the Blind