10 things you don’t know about Henshaws

In 2017 Henshaws celebrated our 180th birthday! We are incredibly proud to have been providing our services and support for such a long time and realised there may be some things you may not know about us. Take a look at the 10 things you don't know about Henshaws below:

1. We are one of the oldest charities in Manchester

The original Henshaw’s school was opened in Manchester in 1837 and since then, Henshaws has strived to provide the most comprehensive support for people living with sight loss and other disabilities. While the college has now moved over to our Harrogate site, we are still firmly positioned within Manchester offering services such as First Step support within our drop in centres as well as in hospitals and eye clinics, social groups catering for a wide range of interest such as film, music, art and braille and many many more.

2. We have famous supporters

Our supporters came in many shapes and sizes, and you may have even heard of a few of them! In 1993 Betty’s and Taylors of Harrogate raised £16,000 to help buy new computers and a BBQ for the College. Another of our claims to fame is the fact that HRH Princess Anne visited the college in Harrogate in 1992, with Princess Diana also visiting Henshaws College on 28th February 1989! The photograph to the left shows – from left to right –Steve Jones, the then Principal, Mrs Lawrence, the then Chair of the Board and Princess Diana.

3. We support new born babies through to the elderly

We like to think that Henshaws can support those living with sight loss and other disabilities no matter their circumstances. We work within the local communities in both Yorkshire and Lancashire to reach those who may need support from new born babies right through to the elderly. The services we provide reflects this diversity with courses such as the ‘Parent and Toddler’ group working with families of small children who have been effected by sight loss, right through to over 50’s exercise classes which help people over 50 experiencing sight loss to get active and make new friends!

4. Our support covers most of the north of England

While you may only know Henshaws from the work we do in your local community, we actually provide support across most of the north of England. We have hubs in Manchester, Salford, Oldham, Liverpool and Newcastle as well as our College in Harrogate and our Arts and Crafts centre in Knaresborough. We also provide a bucket load of online content, advice and support through services such as our Knowledge Village; meaning that that our support can reach all areas of the UK and the world beyond!

5. We are celebrating our 180th birthday

As we mentioned, Henshaws has been running since way back in 1837, meaning that 2017 sees us celebrate our 180th birthday! We are delighted to have been able to provide life changing support for so long and plan to celebrate with a number of special events looking back at some of the inspirational people we have met as well as how the charity has changed over the years. This will culminate in Henshaws holding an exhibition within the Central Library in Manchester which will be open for you all to see!

6. Our fundraisers raise money in a wide variety of ways

We are proud that our community of fundraisers is made up of a wide range of people raising money in a huge variety of ways. From sponsored bake sales to throwing themselves out of planes (with a parachute attached) at 15,000 ft. our fantastic supporters really do go beyond expectations to raise vital funds to allow our support to continue helping those who need it. Check out our Get Involved page to see how you can fund-raise and support Henshaws.

7. We offer a wide range of support

Our support aims to change and alter to whoever it is helping and the needs and wants of that person. Whether it’s helping somebody catch the bus independently for the first time since losing their sight, or helping a student from our specialist college stand from their wheelchair and take their first steps; we strive to provide personalised support and advice to help our service users achieve their goals. Services we provide include: social groups, training for individuals and businesses, community services, housing and support, online/digital training and knowledge hubs, first response and many more.

8. Our support is award winning

Henshaw’s Pathway to Independence model won ‘Best Example of Service Delivery’ at the Visionary Conference 2016. We have a rich history in providing only the best services and support to those living with sight loss and other disabilities and have been lucky enough to win the poster category at Visionary Conference 2015 and 2016 for “Henshaws Skillstep Programme: A Social Return on Investment Analysis.” and “Henshaws Community Services – A Pathway to Wellbeing” respectively. Our Pathway continues to evolve and be adapted for current Covid times.

9. Supporting us could make you rich!

There are many ways you can support Henshaws and donate towards helping us provide support, including playing our weekly lottery game. By playing from as little as £1 a week, you are entered into a weekly prize draw where you could win £5, £25, £1000 or even £25,000. Since we started running our lottery, around a year ago, we have had 263 winners of £5, 21 winners of £10, 1 winner of £1000 and 1 very lucky winner of the jackpot of £25,000!

10. None of this could be possible without your support

Henshaws is a registered charity and it costs around £9.5 million a year to provide our vital services and support across our hubs and locations. We rely on the generosity of our supporters, support staff, volunteers, fundraisers and donors to keep our services running and helping people living with sight loss and other disabilities live the life they choose.

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We can't do it without you

Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.

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