Latest News


Our Exercise class is now up and running every week on a Tuesday from 10:30 – 11:15am.  Why not give it a go,.  We want you to enjoy the sessions as exercise is not everyone’s cup of tea but is vital for our healthy wellbeing.  Call Julie on 0191 5673939 to book your place.

Focus Groups

The Society's move to Pallion gives us a wonderful opportunity to increase the services we offer to members and their families. You can read all about the services we currently offer on this website and in our latest newsletter, however, we are extremely keen to explore additional support. During the coming year it is our intention to create Focus Groups, made up of members, staff and volunteers, to discuss what gaps there currently are in our services and how we can provide the support that will be necessary to fill these.

We would be delighted to hear from any member who may be interested in joining a Focus Group. It is envisaged that the Focus Groups will meet during daytime on a monthly basis. All we ask is that you are keen to get involved, are enthusiastic and can spare a couple of hours once per month. It is our hope that we can create Focus Groups in Sunderland and throughout County Durham.

If you would like to get involved or would be interested in learning more about this idea, please contact the office on 0191 567 3939 and speak with Richard Wood.

Charity Shop

We will be intergrating our Charity Shop into the building in Pallion when the lease for the premises in Waterloo Place expires in February. This will enable the shop staff and volunteers to feel part of the team in Pallion.


The mindfulness Course has proven extremely popular and we are now taking names for the next 6 week course which is starting on Friday 2nd August, 10:30 till 11:30 at our offices, 53 St Luke's Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland. If this is something you would be interested in taking part in or for further information, please contact Julie Stormont on 0191 567 3939 or email

Mobile Phones, Tablets and Computers Wanted

Have you been given a new mobile phone, tablet or computer for Christmas and do not know what to do with your old ones?

Have you thought of donating them to the Society?#

We are looking for more mobile phones, tablets and computers that we can use to teach people on, who attend our IT mentoring scheme. If you are in the position to donate mobile phones, tablets or computer equipment please contact Paul Smith, telephone 0191 567 3939 or email

My Guide ‘Friends & Family’ training in Sunderland

Would you like your friends and family to have a better understanding of your eye condition and have more confidence guiding you? If so, My Guide Friends & Family training can help you! 

We can provide free, bespoke training for friends and family members tailored specifically to your needs. The training is part of the My Guide service, provided by Guide Dogs in association with Sunderland & County Durham Royal Society for the Blind. It consists of a basic introduction to sight loss awareness and sighted guiding techniques. The session will make you more confident that your family understands your eye condition and how to guide you safely and correctly. As friends and family, you can be confident you’re providing the best support possible.  We are planning a number of training sessions in the new building, date to be announced shortly.

To book places on this training, please call Julie on 0191 567 3939 or email


Sunderland Coffee Mornings 2019

Sunderland Coffee Mornings are held at our office at 53, St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland commencing at 10am on the second Wednesday of each month. Future dates are;

12th June

10th July

14th August

11th September

9th October

13th November

11th December


Durham Coffee Morning

Durham Coffee mornings are held each month at North Road Methodist Church commencing at 10am.

4th June

2nd July

13th August

10th September

8th October

5th November

3rd December


North East Action on Transport (NEAT) 

North East Action on Transport (NEAT) is an informal user led group which aims to make public transport more accessible to people with a visual impairment. The group started with a Newcastle focus, but since 2013 has widened its scope to cover The North East Combined Authority (NECA) area.

The group is chaired by Angus Huntley, the Empowerment Officer at Newcastle Vision Support and Jonathan Mears, formerly of Gateshead and South Tyneside Sight Service.

The group meets by-monthly and is comprised of service users and staff from other sight-loss organisations including local sight loss charities and national organisations such as Guide Dogs and RNIB.

If you wish to find out more about the group, it’s aims, objectives and current priorities then please contact Angus, our Empowerment officer on: 0191 232 7292.

Or email:




The Access with Confidence Workshop aims to give you the confidence, skills and knowledge when accessing goods and services.  Date of course is Tuesday 17th September - 10:30 / 15:00.  Venue at Sunderland & County Durham Royal Society for the Blind premises at 53 St Luke's Tce, Pallion SR4 6NF. Places are by booking only. To register please confirm, by Friday 6th September, via telephone on 01642 265240 or email   


We are running a Glaucoma Support Day on Thursday 21st November.  If you would like more information and to book a place at the event please call Julie on 0191 5673939.


Enhanced Vision are looking to hold one to one appointment days within the Local area.  Anyone interested in aids for Macular degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts and Retinitis Pigmentosa can add their name to a waiting list and once a date has been confirmed we will arrange this for you.  Please contact Julie on 0191 5673939 to add your name to the waiting list.  


The research study, SIGHT, being carried out at Sunderland Eye Infirmary since September 2018 came to an end at the end of May 2019.  This was aimed at patients who had Dry Macular, but no other sight condition.  We were able to submit a number of willing participants. Recent contact from the Eye Infirmary thanked the Society for all their help in recruitment for the sight study. News from the study sponsor is positive and the Eye Infirmary recruited a good number overall into this study.  Recruitment has now closed and as yet there are no interim results to give.  Sunderland Eye Infirmary have just started recruiting for another study called SCOPE.  They are looking for atients with Geographic Atrophy (advanced dry AMD) in one or both eyes and who havent taken part in previous trial (SIGHT) 

Please contact Julie on 0191 5673939 for more information


Our Spring raffle raised a grand sum of £129.00 so a huge thank you to all those who contributed to the prizes and helped us raise vital funds for the Society.


Sorry to mention this even before the Summer holidays are over. This year we are holding the annual Christmas Lunch at our Pallion premises where there will be a buffet lunch and entertainment.  The date for this is the afternoon of Thursday 12th December. Times & cost to be confirmed. Please add your name to the booking list by calling Julie 0191 5673939.

We also have other services ongoing including Telephone Befriending, IT Support, Bowling, Social Support Groups in the form of Coffee Mornings and Macular & RP meetings to name but a few.

Another of our services to be aware of is that we are an Agent for British Wireless for The Blind that provides audio equipment on loan.

If any of the above are of interest, please give Julie a call on 0191 5673939.


A Centre for Sight in Sunderland is a new service the Society is providing.  The scheme is designed to assist visually impaired people gain employment by offering help with CV writing, identifying and applying for relevant volunteering opportunities to increase work experience.  In-house IT training and advice with assistive technology is available. Assistance with career options, job search and job applications.  Help and guidance on interview techniques will also be available and we can investigate the possibility of Access to Work applications.

Advice and support can be provided for companies with visually impaired employees.  If you require any further information please contact Julie Anderson 0191 567 3939,

Charles Bonnett Syndrome

A new organisation has been formed called Esme’s Umbrella and its aim is to provide support for all those people who suffer from hallucinations alongside their sight loss.

Sunderland and County Durham Royal Society for the Blind is to become an Ambassador for Esme’s Umbrella and will be forming a support group for anyone who has the condition. The Society also hopes to host a conference on the condition in the future. Please contact Julie Anderson on 0191 5673939 or

Gentle reminder, membership fee of £5.00 for 2019 still being taken.