Our History

Established in 1895 the Isle of Wight Society for the Blind is one of the oldest independent charities on the Isle of Wight.  It was set up following the amalgamation of two other charities, to provide practical help and emotional support to blind people who lived on the Isle of Wight, enabling them to live independently.

In 1920, the Blind Persons Act laid responsibilities on local authorities to provide services for blind people. This responsibility was delegated to the Society on the Isle of Wight. The Society then became the sole provider of specialist services to people with visual impairment on the Island until 2014 when a new dual sensory contract was created and the service transferred to a new provider.

The Society was originally run from the home of the Secretary but, by the mid 1960's, sufficient funds had been raised to build a centre in Newport and all work relating to the Society was carried out from Wallace Court, in Staplers Road.

In 2006, the Society purchased Millbrooke House, a fine Victorian building in Carisbrooke,  as the Society's headquarters and from where the Society continues to operate.

Our ethos is still to provide practical, emotional and educational support for visually impaired people, their families, carers and professionals with an interest in visual impairment.

We strive to help people maintain independence, learn new skills, participate in social, physical and educational activities to reduce loneliness and isolation. We currently organise weekly coffee mornings, educational talks and seminars, craft clubs, private weekly swimming sessions, walking and golf, alongside a visiting and befriending service, a weekly audio version of the Isle of Wight County Press and a library of audio books.

We provide:

  • Information and support to visually impaired people  
  • A weekly talking newspaper 
  • A library of audio books on tape or cd 
  • Sports activities, indoors and out 
  • An equipment resource facility 
  • A volunteer visiting service 
  • Social activities
  • Newsletters