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Inverness resident leads the way with sight loss walking group

By Andrew Dixon

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Inverness Walking Group members crossing the Infirmary Bridge.
Inverness Walking Group members crossing the Infirmary Bridge.

An Inverness resident, supported by a national sight loss charity, meets monthly with other blind and partially sighted locals for a wander around Inverness city centre.

Angela Clelland, who is originally from Aberdeen, started the group to support others with sight loss, having been supported herself by RNIB Scotland.

“I started volunteering with RNIB Scotland in October 2021," she said. "The reason that I started was, in the January 2021 I started to lose my sight, and I was a member of a walking group. However, it no longer suited my needs.

“I then got in touch with RNIB Scotland and joined all their different online groups. Support with living with sight loss and different things, which really helped.

“But because I wanted to go walking and there was nothing suitable, I decided that it would be a good idea to start up a walking group up here.

“I organise monthly walks for people with sight loss, and we have got a lot of volunteers and helpers that come along. Every month I organise a walk, we meet at the same place. We then come for lunch or a coffee after the walks.

“It’s a very social experience, and it’s really good because there's been so many different friendships that's been formed out of it.

“People's confidence has grown and it's just a nice catch-up.”

Angela Clelland.
Angela Clelland.

Angela is also grateful to the support RNIB Scotland have given her in creating and continuing the walking group.

“I've had a really good experience. RNIB Scotland have been extremely supportive – I've had two volunteer managers, and we meet every month just to make sure that I'm supported and if they can do anything else to help, so it’s been very productive."

Angela has witnessed the benefits that the walking group has had on its members, not just physically but mentally as well. She has also noticed a dramatic increase in the number of regular attendees.

“I like the fact that people are getting out, they are no longer as isolated. The company, the friendships that's been formed, the group has grown.

“Two years ago there was five of us, and now there’s 27 of us, so it's worked quite well!”

Angela has urged others to get involved in volunteering with RNIB Scotland, due to her own positive experiences.

“What I would say is, if you're interested in volunteering, RNIB Scotland is a great organisation to volunteer with – they’re extremely supportive, they will push you out of your comfort zone, but the benefits are huge.

“As you can see, our group has gone from strength to strength, and that's all with the support of RNIB Scotland and our group members.”

The Inverness Walking Group meets on the second Monday of every month, from 11.30am-1pm. If interested in joining, email RNIBScotland@RNIB.org.uk

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