Dorset Blind Association is facing a cash crisis this year as council support for visually impaired people has decreased and demand for services has rocketed. Their fundraiser Jaya Da Costa says “Having the support of BU means so much to us; this will help towards the £40,000 shortfall we need to raise by March in order to keep our services running. The public can get involved too; we have been selected for the Big Give Christmas Challenge: money donated to DBA via www.biggive.org.uk on 5th, 6th and 7th December will be DOUBLED!”
In their first project for Dorset Blind, 16 students rallied together to pull off a fantastic party at The Anvil Nightclub in Bournemouth on Halloween night. Led by Maria Parker-Harris who graduated with a masters in PR from BU in 2011, the students arranged a thrilling night including four live bands, burlesque performers, and DJ ‘Those Kids are Meatballs!’ until 3am. The students laid on ghoulish face-painting, and a photo booth with scary Halloween props donated by ‘Fancy That’. "It was a pleasure to support such an important charity by organising the Halloween Hoedown. It is really important to use our skills to give back to the local community" says Maria.
Five of the students involved were a group of first year Business Studies students who undertook the project as part of their Community Engagement Module and had the chance to experience many aspects of event management. Stephanie said “This was the best project! We're really happy to help!”
All of the performers gave their time and travelled for free. Bands the Jimmy Hill Billies, 9 Left Behind, Underground Pilots, Bitter Town Hounds all said they loved performing for such a good cause and would do it again in a flash. Speaking of ‘flash’, compered by charismatic Ms V, the burlesque performers: Silk Seduction, Madeline Soleil, Isabelle L'Amour, Leopard String and Ana Thema caused quite a stir with the crowd! Huge thanks have to go to the Anvil manager Matt and sound-engineer Sully who helped everything go to plan on the night, and the local businesses who donated drinks for sale in aid of the charity.
At midnight there were extra celebrations as some dedicated souls who had been sponsored to complete ‘DBA Sober October’ ended their fast with a glass of fizz.
Thông, a BU student from Vietnam who volunteered all night from 7pm to 3am said “It’s nice to dust off the cobwebs and give yourself something worthwhile to work towards”.
Funds raised will be used to support the work of the Dorset Blind Association who provide practical help and support to people with visual impairment in Dorset. We help people to adjust to their sight loss and tackle the isolation caused by poor sight. The biggest challenge we face is funding our work and with no central government funding or finance from national charities; the support of the local community is crucial and essential.