VICTA activities are designed to instil confidence, promote independence and build social networks to share information and reduce isolation. From our early years day to international adventures for young adults, our activities help the families and young people we support grow and gain valuable life experiences.
Independence for children and young adults who are blind or partially sighted
To empower children and young adults who are blind or partially sighted
Our charity’s objectives
- To support and empower children and young people who are blind or partially sighted
- To represent the needs and interests of children and young people who are blind or partially sighted
- To promote learning, social and physical activities for children and young people who are blind or partially sighted
- To support families and to enable them to help their child or young person who is blind or partially sighted reach their full potential
Our beginnings as a local support group
When the charity was established as a family group in the 1980s, no-one envisioned that we would come this far and touch so many lives. Winning the Charity of the Year Award at the AOP Awards 2018 tells us that all the hard work is worth it, and that people do notice.
In the early days VICTA was established as a local support group where families came together for coffee and days out. For parents, it was an opportunity to talk with others in the same situation: a time to share, laugh and cry with each other about the highs and lows of living with a vision impaired child. For the children, it was a chance to meet and get to know other visually impaired youngsters, and for their siblings to share their thoughts with other siblings about living with a blind brother or sister.
From those simple days out, today, we offer a range of activities from Family Days to international expeditions. We have partnered with some amazing organisations such as Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the John Muir Trust, British Exploring Society and the Jubilee Sailing Trust to provide opportunities for adventure, friendship and personal growth. Of course, these activities have a serious side. Depression, mental health issues and even suicide are very real concerns around our young people. By getting children and young people involved in our activities, we are giving them a lifeline. Not only do they get the opportunity to leave the confines of their four walls, they are given the chance to learn greater independence, they gain tremendously in confidence, learn new skills, experience the world out there both in the UK and internationally and make connections with others who often become lifelong friends. Many of the young people who have attended our activities go on to travel around the country and the world independently after learning that they can. For us, that’s empowerment.
Our founder – John Brookes
As a father, John Brookes noticed the lack of provision for blind children in local schools. He fought the local education authority on behalf of his blind daughter to secure her a ‘statement of special educational needs.’ But more importantly, he wanted to ensure that it was correctly written so that she received the appropriate support. John decided to share his learning with other families in the same situation to help them to achieve the same result.
John’s determination and resolve, indeed his ‘notoriety’ for getting things done was soon in demand country wide. In helping families to overcome the challenges presented by local authorities, John began to realise that there were also financial challenges to be overcome. Some families just couldn’t afford to purchase the desperately needed equipment or to pay for holidays so that their children could learn much needed living and social skills. When John was offered the opportunity to purchase places in the Virgin Money London Marathon, to raise money to support children and young people who are blind or partially sighted across the UK he said yes.
VICTA was born out of this.
John Brookes sadly died in August 2015. His wife Nina, daughter Lara and grandchildren continue to live in Wales. We are grateful for the work that John has done for VICTA over the years and for his Patronage until his death. We will endeavour to continue the good work he began.