Sight Matters Formally Opens The Freedom Field

Aug 30, 2022


Sight Matters officially opened the Freedom Field at a recent formal celebration.

The official opening was timed to coincide with the 85th anniversary of the Blind Persons’ Welfare Act 1937.

Sight Matters members expressed a need for somewhere safe to enjoy the outdoors; the result, a consciously-designed, fully-accessible community space with an open field, fragrantly-scented wildflower garden, and a summerhouse and shelter for inclement weather. Here, assistance dogs can be exercised safely, events can be held, and time taken to reflect, and breathe in the peaceful atmosphere, specifically designed for the enjoyment of those Sight Matters care for.

The project was brought to life throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the celebration was held to thank those involved in the construction of the facility.

Proceedings began with a touching address from Chief Executive Officer, Ian Cooil, who introduced some of the charity’s longest-serving members, including June, who became a service-user in 1939, and 101-year-old veteran, James Fenton, who had the great honour of cutting the ribbon.

Chief Executive Officer Ian Cooil said: ‘It’s been such a joy to see the Freedom Field embraced by service-users, and local residents with additional needs who also benefit from this safe space, and have found new freedom in nature.

‘We’re grateful to all who have helped us at any stage of the creation of the Freedom Field; a milestone in the charity’s history which can be enjoyed by generations to come. Our friend June’s retired service dog, Zesty, was the star of the show, making new friends and bounding about the open space and we’re very thankful to Onchan Silver Band for playing.

We would love to hear from local residents interested in helping to maintain this new facility by becoming ‘Freedom Field Rangers’, and if you know someone who would benefit from access to this safe and peaceful environment, please do get in touch.

Sight Matters has been providing vital services to support the blind and visually impaired community of the Isle of Man since 1936, providing access to support, tools, and facilities which helps people with sight issues to live as independently as they choose.

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