A local charity supporting residents living with sight loss enjoyed an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of Shoreham Port this week. 4Sight Vision Support is a registered charity founded in 1921, that provides services for visually impaired people, their families and carers across West Sussex. The charity helps support people who fall between the provision of mandatory care services – helping to combat loneliness, encourage independence and confidence and build personal health and wellbeing.
4Sight Vision Support’s small staff team and over 300 volunteers support 32 social & activity clubs, resource centres, home visits, day trips, Low Vision Assessments, Low Vision Clinics and nurse specialist Sight Care Advisors in a number of local hospitals. Their aim is to make a positive difference for people living with sight loss across the county - ensuring that a diagnosis of sight loss does not also lead to a loss of independence and isolation.
Tony Parker, Director of Infrastructure & Climate Change hosted the tour for 4Sight Vision members and volunteers on Wednesday. Attendees were driven by coach to visit various sites on the Port, including a trip to the Port’s Operations Department. Here the group had the chance to visit the timber stores and learn about the Port’s efficient Track-a-Pack system. The tour then continued with a trip to the Port’s silo complex to see where grain, from local Sussex and Surrey farms is stored and then exported. The group were also interested to learn about the Port’s Pump House and the energy reductions being made since the introduction of new impounding pump controls.
Tony Parker commented “As a Trust Port, it is vital that we not only exist to serve importers and exporters but also to benefit our community and the environment. Investing our time and resources in charity groups such as 4Sight Vision Support, is another way for us to connect with local residents, and also provide an exciting day out for people who may ordinarily struggle to get out and about with friends.’’
Tony added ‘’It was a pleasure to share my knowledge of Shoreham Port with the 4Sight Vision Support group, who asked a range of questions about our Trust Port status and major imports and exports. They were particularly interested to hear about our efforts to combat global warming – specifically the power generated by our two wind turbines to power our Pump House.’’
One attendee commented ‘’The tour was so interesting and I really enjoyed the afternoon. It was so great to have a chance to get close to all the different parts of the Port. I haven't had the chance to get down to Port for years. I didn't realise what a versatile Port it was and how busy it is.’’
Many attendees remembered visits from their younger days, with another member of the group recalling ‘’I was a teacher of 14-16 years old youngsters with special needs at Downs Park school in Portslade during the 1980s. We did a whole school project on Shoreham Harbour. The youngest chose beach studies while my class picked a week's work experience at the Port. What a great time we all had. I was very interested to see all the changes since then.’’
Ellen Davis, 4Sight Vision Support volunteer said ‘‘Once again, thank you for a fantastic afternoon. We all found it so interesting. A special thank you to Tony for his excellent commentary - I will now be able to answer all those questions from my guests when we walk over the lock gates to the beach!’’.