The visit to the SRSB was really interesting. I went in with an open mind as I didn’t really know what to expect at all. I must have walked past the building a few times but had just never noticed it (which is probably pretty bad in itself). Jane and Dyane gave us a brief introduction as to who they were and what they did, and then gave us a tour of the facilities whilst talking about what they did there, some of the past, and what they foresee in the future, or at least want to happen.
The building, although on the same plot that it has been on since the 1930′s, is not the same building. A new building with large glass windows at the from and specialised hand rails, kitchen facilities, even a guide dog bathroom. Although the building is new, (they moved in about 5 years ago) they already feel like they have outgrown it, and it feels like they are bursting at the seems. They try to cater for as many people as they can and use every room in the building, often changing the use of most of them to fit everything, and everyone, in for the activities they do on a daily basis.
One of the most interesting things I found were (it sounds silly) but the simple things that I hadn’t really thought about. For example they had hang rails that had notches on them to indicate if you were going the right way to a fire exit, in case of an emergency. They had a whole room dedicated to talking gadgets that people could try out there, so if they wanted the buy them for their home they could “try before they bought”. This is a really good idea as these kinds of things are obviously far more expensive than just regular gadgets, nevermind specialist ones.
They have some archives that we intend to go back to look at soon, as we weren’t allowed to take them away.