A GARDENING club for people with visual impairments is the latest beneficiary of a community fund set up after the closure of a major employer.
Rio Tinto Lynemouth Smelter is using its Community Fund to help volunteers at Bloomers Garden Club.
The club is part of the Northumberland County Blind Association, a registered charity, which provides important services for blind and partially sighted people throughout the county.
Rio Tinto’s support will allow volunteers to continue providing free transport to members in South East Northumberland so they can host regular outings to gardening venues, buy seeds, equipment, attract horticultural speakers and attend meetings at its Morpeth HQ.
Bloomers volunteer John Anderson approached Rio Tinto for help.
He said: “Being visually impaired can lead to personal isolation. Many of our members find it difficult to get out of their homes and take part in activities sighted people take for granted.
“Bloomers isn’t just informative, it’s also a very social activity giving members contact with other people, physical exercise and companionship.”
Rio Tinto’s Joanne Hannay said: “Bloomers is a fantastic club whose volunteers work hard to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing them with a social outlet through the joy of gardening.
“When we received John’s request for support, we didn’t hesitate to see how we could assist through our Community Foundation Fund which aims to support local charities, voluntary and community organisations throughout South East Northumberland.”