Our History

The charity was started back in 1958 as Southend Blind Welfare Organisation. It was set up by volunteers from the Southend Round Table who wanted to help local blind and partially sighted people.

Photo shows a former Mayor and Mayoress with trustees outside our charity shop.

The charity has a proud history. It has always been and remains a local independent charity offering advice, social activities and practical help to make people’s experience of sight loss as straightforward and stress free as possible.

Initially, help was offered through social activities and the setting up of a care home for the blind. In the late 1990s a centre was opened, firstly in a portacabin in the grounds of the care home, then at SAVS in Southend.

In 2008, with a legacy from the late Annie Kay, the current premises at Hamlet Court Road were purchased and opened, with a centre offering advice and a charity shop to help fund the organisation’s services.

In 2018, Southend Blind Welfare Organisation celebrated 60 years, with the renaming of the Community Services Division of the charity to Southend in Sight and a refurbishment of the centre to offer better facilities and accessibility.

Over the last 65 years, the charity has helped countless people in the borough of Southend and surrounding areas live independent, active and fulfilling lives whilst living with sight loss.