Social activities for people with sight loss, in the Brighton and Hove Area
Argus Charity of the year 2008
above - table marking 10 years
at the 2012 AGM
“With hundreds of charities all vying for our money it is difficult to choose which to support. But in City Synergy Sussex has a gem”.
This was part of the citation on the plaque given when City Synergy won the Argus Charity of the year award in 2008, in this our tenth anniversary year it is a good opportunity to celebrate our achievements and to look ahead to what we can achieve in the future.
In the late 1990’s RNIB started a project called Leisure Link, the project ran a variety of classes and other activities as well as linking individual visually impaired people with sighted volunteers to organise walks, tandem rides, general support etc.
As part of the project a number of us suggested creating a social group especially for those who were working or studying and therefore found it difficult to make activities in the daytime during the working week. The first activity was a games evening held in November 2000. We were very grateful to Christina Mendez and later Katy Russell for their help in getting this started but a principle was quickly established that the group would be member-led.
In the summer of 2002 it became clear that Leisure Link funding was to cease and a few of us were invited to a meal at the Sportsman in Withdean to let us know the news. We quickly decided that we wanted to retain what we could and the idea of starting our own group developed through the following months.
It was once again a restaurant that saw City Synergy first become an organisation in its own right, about a dozen of us were at a Thai restaurant in November 2002 where the name was agreed and a founding committee was decided on with an inaugural AGM to be held in January 2003
Looking back at the early newsletters there was a mix of pubs, restaurants, sporting activities such as tenpin bowling, dance, theatre etc, we had a barbecue on the beach for several years as well as walks to the Devils Dyke etc. and a variety of trips out
I want at this point to acknowledge the massive contribution of our first chair Mick Etheridge to the early years of City Synergy and in particular running regular Goalball sessions in local sports halls.
Throughout our volunteers have made a massive contribution, some have been here from the start whilst others have spent just a short time with us but each is appreciated more than they could know, we are also grateful to those who have supported us in other ways and I would like to mention Christine Tester and Kerry Leask who have been a constant generous source of encouragement to us
City Synergy has been very fortunate in getting the best part of £20,000 in funding over the years, we are very grateful to each and every contributor who has responded to our bids,
It is difficult to pick out highlight and I am sure we will all have our favourites but I wanted to mention the Brighton Carnival where some of us dressed up as fruit bats and we were awarded the prize of best small band, I think it summed up part of the spirit of City Synergy, working together to achieve great things and willing to get out there and make ourselves known.
Over the 10 years I estimate we have run approximately 300 activities attended by around 70 members and supported by about 25 volunteers, on behalf of the committee I want to thank everyone for their support over the years and heres to the next ten.