As we start a new chapter in the group history with a new name ESAB - VIable, it is good to review some of what has been achieved to date and look forward to adding new elements to our story
The group started in the year 2000 as part of a project organised by the RNIB called Leisure Link which had commenced in Brighton & Hove the previous year
The Project initially was set up to link visually impaired people with sighted volunteers to allow participation in activities such as tandem cycling or going to the cinema.
A number of classes were also run including a variety of arts and crafts, Computing etc and there was a popular short walks programme
It was felt by several people that a social group would be a valuable addition and this started in the Autumn of 2000 with a session of Tenpin Bowling
In 2002 the Leisure Link project came to an end and it was decided to launch out as an independent group calling ourselves City Synergy retaining as much as practical of the project activities
City Synergy formed a committee and gained funding and a varied programme of sports and social activities was soon underway
We have provided tasters for many sports over the years, some like Goalball, Cricket and more recently Sound Tennis subsequently being run separately.
Along with regular walks, dancing, tenpin bowling and crazy golf we have had sessions at archery, acoustic shooting, boating, croquet, swimming, tandem cycling, boccia and a number of other activities.
Pictured above - Tandem Cycling at the Take Part Sport Festival
We regularly attend the Take Part Sports Festival to promote the club and to have a go at a variety of activities
See Photos of Tandem Cycling at the 2009 event
The City Synergy site has reports from many of our activities over the years whether this be going out to places of interest such as Petworth House, Singleton, a trip on the Spa Valley Railway or a walk along the Thames, all of these only possible with the support of fabulous volunteers.
Amongst the highlights of our programme have been when we have created our own entertainment, the creativity and enthusiasm of members and volunteers knows no bounds (though sometimes there might be a question about the talent!!!!)
Highlights have included
City Synergy certainly made an impact and in 2008 we were awarded the Evening Argus Charity of the year at a ceremony at the Theatre Royal in Brighton
The citation on the plaque which we were presented said:
“With hundreds of charities all vying for our money it is difficult to choose which to support. But in City Synergy Sussex has a gem”.
Pictured above - Receiving the Argus Charity of the year award 2008
The following year saw perhaps our biggest venture being part of the Brighton Carnival and dancing our way along Brighton Sea Front dressed as fruit bats.
The Fruit bat costumes reflected a desire not to take ourselves too seriously and to challenge understandings about visual impairments.
Pictured above - City Synergy members as fruit bats, Brighton Carnival 2009
Brighton VIPs was launched in 2011 with a brief that was more focussed on Social networking
In 2015 City Synergy joined with ESAB and in 2017 merged with Brighton VIPs to form ESAB - VIable