BLIND and partially-sighted people got their skates on as they enjoyed a sociable day out in Dorchester.

The Dorset Blind Association organised a day trip to Brewery Square in the county town for its working age group.

As well as enjoying shopping and lunch at Carluccio’s, members of the group were given use of the synthetic ice rink at the square for an hour.

The Chief executive of the charity, Jonathan Holyhead, said the charity runs social groups in Weymouth, Poole and Bournemouth.

He said while other groups tend to cater more for retirement age or older people, the working age group was for a younger audience and was more focused on getting people out and about in sociable situations and doing normal things people their age do.

Mr Holyhead said: “It’s just one of a large number of things we do to work towards our general goal, which is enabling blind and partially-sighted people to lead independent and socially active lives.

“One of the real strengths of all of our groups, but possibly even more so with the working age group, is the peer support element.

“It’s amazing how someone who is going through a bad experience or struggling a bit can find a real comfort in talking to others who are in the same boat.”

He added that, while some benefit from the advice of their peers, other members of the group also benefit from the sense of self-worth they get when passing on advice or helping fellow members.

Mr Holyhead said that the group also just had a lot of fun when they met up and enjoyed trips such as their visit to Dorchester.

He said: “They are an incredibly chatty bunch and get on very well.

“They enjoy the interaction and opportunity to be out and about like other people do.”

Mr Holyhead said through its various groups and services the Dorset Blind Association comes into contact with around 1,000 people a month, but faces difficult financial times as it does not receive any funding from central or local government and is reliant on fundraising.

He said the other key to keeping the charity going is its ‘army’ of volunteers and he is always keen to hear from anyone who is willing to join the team.

For more information about the Dorset Blind Association visit or call 01202 712865.