We were thrilled to welcome 14 families to New College Worcester for our annual Early Years Weekend, each with a visually impaired child aged 0-5. For 8 of these families, it was their first ever VICTA activity and an introduction to the charity to show how it could support them in the years to come.

Once everyone had arrived and settled in, it was time for the children to join the volunteers in the VICTA crèche. Soft play, bouncy castles, arts and crafts and much more were enthusiastically greeted by the children with the volunteers ready for a fun (and exhausting!) afternoon. Alex from Clearvision came along aswell and was set up in a quiet room to read some tactile books to small groups of children.

While the children were looked after by our fabulous volunteers, the parents had workshops run by Wendy Sainsbury and John Turnbull from Guide Dogs. Wendy has spent many years working in the field of visual impairment and has supported over 8,000 families. She was able to share her great insight and wealth of knowledge with our parents. John is a QTVI and so was a very valuable speaker, as many of our parents are preparing for school placements, EHCPs and more.

With so many new families and faces experiencing their first VICTA activity, Head of Activities Luke Wakefield ran a workshop showing parents the many different ways VICTA could support families and their children now and as they grow up.

Tired after a full afternoon’s play, children were collected and after dinner, everyone made the most of the New College library, and spent the evening socialising, playing and making new friends.

On Sunday, we were thrilled to welcome back Rebound Therapy, which teaches important physical and communication skills on a trampoline. We also had African Drumming, which enabled children (and parents!) to make a lot of noise, and have a lot of fun in the process.

In addition to this, due to its success last year, we had Angie’s Animal Antics visit again. The children were able to cuddle and feed the animals, which included a chinchilla, bearded dragon, frog and barn owl! As all of the animals had a different texture and feel, it was a great sensory activity.

We all had a wonderful weekend, and we’re sure lasting friendships were made that will offer support and encouragement for years to come. Invaluable advice was given by our visiting professionals and other parents that will help families continue to adjust to life with a visually impaired child. As always, we’d like to give a big thank you to our volunteers, without whom this weekend wouldn’t have been possible.