Former Goodyear workers donate embroidery machine to blind charity

A charity in Wolverhampton will benefit from new equipment thanks to a generous donation from a workers' union made up of former Goodyear employees.

Cyril Barrett with those from Fab Lab and the Beacon Centre.
Cyril Barrett with those from Fab Lab and the Beacon Centre.

Beacon Centre for the Blind has received an embroidery machine and resin machine, worth nearly £8,500, for its Fab Lab so it can produce items for their charity shops.

Volunteers also hope the new machines will help empower visually impaired people and give them vital training which they might not otherwise be able to access.

And to express their gratitude, they have renamed their Fab Lab in honour of the workers, who are part of the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Union Benevolent Fund Charity. The room will be called The 5/344 Suit.

Chairman and trustee of the Goodyear workers group, Cyril Barrett, said: "We as a union have a long and proud history of supporting the Beacon Centre for the Blind, going back to the middle ages.

"The beauty about this and other recent projects of ours is that it's creating opportunities for visually impaired people, who can hopefully go out and be able to work.

"It could also give people with mental illnesses as a result of their visual impairment a new confidence."

The union's benevolence funds come from sick pay left over when Goodyear closed in 2017.

After five years and around £105,000 of charitable giving, the fund is starting to run low, so the union reached out to 10 local charities it supports and offered them one last request.

Mr Barrett said: "I cannot tell you how proud I am. It's really truly inspirational. Ex-Goodyear workers are some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met.

"I hope and pray that the workers and their families can see these projects we're undertaking and say, that reflects us and who we are."

The former-Goodyear workers have also bought three narrow boat trips every year for the next five years, so patients at the Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre and visitors of the The Alz Dementia Café can enjoy nature on days out.

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