Impairment charity references closed organisation in name change

12 Jun 2024 News

Sense Ability Matters logo

Sense Ability Matters

North east of England-based charity Vision & Hearing Support has changed its name to Sense Ability Matters (SAM) as it plans to appeal to a wider group of beneficiaries.  

While the charity supports individuals with sensory, hearing and visual impairments, it hopes to extend its reach to people with disabilities or long-term health conditions through the name change. 

Based in South Tyneside and Gateshead, the charity was known as Gateshead and South Tyneside Sight Service from 2004 to 2021. 

A spokesperson from the charity told Civil Society: “It was important to us that our new name would reflect the charity’s wider remit. 

“We wanted our service users with a sensory impairment to still see themselves in our new offering, and to also appeal to those who are disabled or living with a long-term health condition.”

The legacy of closed charity Bliss=Ability

SAM chief executive Sarah French said: “Sense Ability Matters’ vision is for the region to have a disabled and sensory loss community that is informed, empowered and resilient.

“Our expanded services reflect our commitment to realising this vision by providing essential support to all individuals in our community who need help.”

Its new name includes a reference to fellow north east disability charity Bliss=Ability, which closed in March after 30 years due to a lack of funding.

SAM said it has seen an increase in the number of people using its services since Bliss=Ability closed, and is offering community support sessions that it used to deliver in partnership with the other charity. 

A SAM spokesperson told Civil Society that the use of “Ability” in its new name was in reference to the closed charity but also to empower its community by not focusing on “impairment or difference”. 

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