A new youth group for the visually impaired will meet for the first time this month in Kingston.
The group has been set up by Kingston Visual Impairment Parliament (VIP) and will organise regular social activities for young people in the area.
Kezia Coleman, 26, volunteer co-ordinator at VIP, said she hopes the group will provide a platform for young people to interact and share their experiences.
She said: “It will provide a platform for those aged 18-24 to meet like-minded people. There will be lots of sports and leisure activities, as well as gigs to attend.
“A lot of visually impaired people lack confidence and the opportunity to meet others going through the same experiences will be so valuable to them.”
Coleman also explained the group will help youngsters to find work.
“Younger people need help, it’s so important. It is completely different for visually impaired people, even for an employer to have a visually impaired person in the workplace, it’s different, and so we try to help both sides. There is so much talent that isn’t being tapped into.”
Co-organiser and mentor for the group is Souleyman Bah.
Bah, 17, who suffers from partial blindness, won gold in the 100 metres Paralympic School Games in Brazil last year.
The runner believes the group will give youngsters the help and support they need.
He said: “It will help them a lot, they can learn from each other and it will give them a coping mechanism.
“I’m a young visually impaired person and a youth group would have helped me so much. There is nothing like it in Kingston, which is why I wanted to set it up.”
Bah said he hopes the youth club can ‘kick start’ careers for the young visually impaired people who join.
He said: “It was only when I moved to Surbiton that I became involved with athletics and was introduced to different clubs. Hopefully the group can kick start a career for them like it did for me.”
The VIP comprises of five volunteer MPs, each of whom champions a specialist area of service provision that impacts the sight loss community, including education, employment, health, social and leisure activities, events, and transport.
The first social event will take place on the 17th May, the Rotunda Kingston. 5.30pm – 7.30pm