We have been so lucky to be part of Co–op’s Local Community Fund, which has raised an amazing total of £4162 to support our work! As we couldn’t make the instore Payout Celebrations Day last weekend, we invited some of the team to our Visitor Centre for a behind the scenes tour of the Bridge.
Karin, James and Matt met with Hannah Little our Archivist and got to look at some items from our collections, including some original documents, stereoscopes slides through a special Victorian viewer and our very unusual peep egg.
Laura Hilton, Visitor Services Manager, took everyone on a vaults tour, where the team learnt about the construction and discovery of the vaults. It was great to show them round and to be able to say a huge thank you to them. It was also interesting to learn about the other causes that they have been able to help in the Bristol area. It was a really enjoyable afternoon!
So far with the money raised we been able to buy a T (or Hearing) Loop which will be a great help at our Welcome Desk and when our volunteers are explaining the exhibits or answering questions in our Visitor Centre. We will also be getting a tactile booklet with ten images of the Bridge and other items in our collection so that people who are visually impaired will be able to understand the construction of the bridge and the scale of the gorge, as well as our history and engineering. Once the books have been made, they will be available at the front desk of our Visitor Centre and free to use. In addition to this we will arrange for our volunteers to undergo training on how to use the equipment, and for them to have a greater understanding of the challenges visually impaired people face.
We know that a number of our visitors could benefit from these new resources and we've been hoping to develop them for a long time - but projects like this aren't possible without additional funding because they have to be done properly! We're very grateful to VocalEyes, the organiasation who are designing and making these very special resources for us. VocalEyes work with a range of organisations to increase the opportunities that blind and partially sighted people have so they can experience and enjoy art and heritage.
We would like to say another big thank you to everyone at the Co-op Local Community Fund!