In 1964 it was decided that larger premises were needed to provide room for handcraft instruction, recreational activities and a braille library. The Society also wanted a place where blind people could socialise.
Within six months, a property at St Leonard’s Bank in Perth came onto the market. It was close to the railway and bus stations and offered safe and easy access. It also had a lovely garden sloping down towards the South Inch and the bowling green, where the blind bowling team met twice a week.
It was also hoped that the access to South Inch would encourage blind people to go walking on the Inch, where they would meet people, go boating in the pond (when there were boats!) and generally feel more integrated into the local community and less isolated.
The new premises were formally opened in June 1965. Over the years, various alterations and improvements were made, until it was felt that the building no longer met needs and a search for a more central property began.
VisionPK still owns these premises, whose rental income provides vital funds for our charitable services.
In 2000, the current building at New Row was purchased and an extensive conversion of the old Church was undertaken, at a cost of £475,000, raised by members, beneficiaries and the wider community. The official opening was in July 2003.
Today, nearly 20 years later, VisionPK again stands at a crossroads. In late 2019 Trustees agreed that the costs of repairs and changes to the building required to make it fit for purpose would be better spent on our charitable services, so we are currently working on our accommodation plans for the future.
Over the years, activities and services have changed in line with the current thinking of the time. Initial activities were instructional, then broadened out into general welfare and social activities. Today. Support is person-centred, with the focus on identifying and meeting the individual needs of each person, utilising a wide range of specialist support, such as our Rehabilitation team.
Since its earliest days, volunteers have offered vital support, particularly around social activities. The contribution of our volunteers is as important today as it has always been, benefiting the people using our services as well as making a difference to the lives of volunteers.
Our history is indeed a proud one and we hope that, with local support, we will still be here in another 150 years!