North East Charity Rebrands and Expands its Services

South Tyneside, Gateshead, 14 May, 2024 – Vision & Hearing Support, a local charity, has recently made two significant announcements. Firstly, they have expanded their services to cater to all adults in South Tyneside and Gateshead who are disabled or living with a long-term health condition. Additionally, the charity has rebranded with a new name – Sense Ability Matters.

Previously recognized for their support for individuals with sensory impairments, visual impairments, and those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, the newly named Sense Ability Matters will now extend their reach to provide tailored support to a broader spectrum of individuals, including those with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

According to Sarah French, the Chief Executive at Sense Ability Matters, “Our 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 realizing this vision by providing essential support to all individuals in our community who need help.”

The comprehensive support offered by Sense Ability Matters, or SAM, includes rehabilitation, enablement assessments, personalized support plans, information and advice, specialist counseling, community and peer support, employment support, and digital assistance. Each service is designed to address the unique needs of each individual, empowering them to live independently and make positive decisions.

“Our name is new, but our team’s dedication remains unchanged,” continues French. “With a wealth of lived experience and expertise, our team members are equipped to provide compassionate support to those in need, ensuring that everyone feels understood and valued.”

In addition to expanding their services, Sense Ability Matters has also taken steps to support individuals who previously accessed services through the local organization Bliss=Ability, which closed its doors in March 2024. SAM aims to provide continuity of care for these individuals, offering services such as Community Voice sessions, which were previously held in collaboration with Bliss=Ability.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone in our community has access to the support they need,” affirms French. “By embracing inclusivity and fostering strong relationships with our stakeholders, we strive to create a more accessible and supportive environment for all.”

Two case studies showcase the impact of Sense Ability Matters’ services. Cheryl D’Or, who previously attended the Community Voice Project run by Bliss=Ability and Vision & Hearing Support, shares her experience, saying, “Coming along to Community Voice has been brilliant – we’ve done all sorts of different activities, met lots of people from different backgrounds, and made some great friends. It’s fantastic that the service is widening to help even more people in the area. I’d urge anyone to come along and give it a try – it can make a huge difference to your life.”

Similarly, Gary McLachlan, who was referred to the organization by Sunderland Eye Infirmary, shares his experience with the Men Shed at Lakeside Hall, a social group for men with a visual impairment. “When I first considered going along to a social group, I thought ‘I’m not going to like this’. I was so isolated, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t get public transport, I didn’t know what to do. But the team from Sight Service helped me get there, and something clicked – I really enjoyed it. I’m excited that the organization is moving onto even bigger and better things as they expand to help more people in the area – we look forward to welcoming anyone who wants to join our group. Not only do SAM support our group, but they can also help point you in the right direction for any other help you might need, from fixing your phone to getting a bus pass.”

For more information about Sense Ability Matters and its services, please visit, email, or call 0191 478 5959.


Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Better Mobility partners with Chilterns Neuro Centre to strengthen services

Next Post

British Council and NILE Partner to Enhance English Language Skills of Colombian Teachers

Read next