THE ONLY charity that helps blind and partially sighted people in Barnsley has made the shortlist for the Proud of Barnsley Awards.

The Barnsley Blind and Partially Sighted Association, based on Regent Street, Barnsley, has been operating for 32 years providing support and care to people across the borough who have visual impairments.

The charity - which helps an estimated 8,000 people - is among the contenders in the Charity Group of the Year category, reflecting its long-standing commitment to helping people.

Fran Lusha, a volunteer with the centre, said she joined after her husband lost his sight 25 years ago.

“My husband, Vic, was a long-distance lorry driver and because he had to rely on his eyesight in his job he just couldn’t handle it and went into himself and would barely leave the house,” she said.

“I reached out and found out about Barnsley Blind and Partially Sighted Association and met with Carol Green (the chairman of the group).

“When we came in these doors for the first time, we had a weight on our shoulders, but after talking to Carol, we left feeling as light as a feather.

“Carol helped Vic to get a cane and to start going out again and after seeing how much he came on, I started to volunteer here so I could help more people. Vic runs the computer club as well, so we are really grateful.”

Speaking about what the association brings to the community, Carol Green, 70, said: “We can provide people with the help they need and can show them ways they can go about their every day lives.

“Every day we’ve got someone here in the centre who needs help, we deal with everything, it’s different every day. We offer help and support for people such as reading letters or brailling birthday cards.”

A spokeswoman for the association said: “It’s such a worthwhile charity, and we can give help at a crucial time when it is needed. When people come back to us, they come back again and again.

“We have a social club where people can come for a cup of tea and a game of bingo, we do home visits and we do hospital visits.

“We don’t do this work for the acknowledgement, we do it for the people that need it and because it is absolutely necessary. It is very nice that we have been recognised for this.”