The music was provided by St Brelade Deputy Montfort Tadier – and his accordion – at EYECAN’s facility in St Martin, which underwent a major refurbishment during lockdown.
The revamp included new flooring, a fresh paint job, better lighting and an improved colour scheme to provide more visibility for those using the site.
Activities co-ordinator Maxine Preddy said she had introduced themed days for members, and as the national day of France took place on Wednesday, thought it was the perfect opportunity for some cultural entertainment.
She said: ‘I asked Deputy Tadier if he would come and play, which he kindly said he would. We have French food for lunch, we have a raffle with French prizes like wine and Camembert, a quiz all about France – generally everything is French today.’
Deputy Tadier said that some of the members had been singing along to his performances.
‘It’s really great when there is audience participation, especially for these people who can’t necessarily see or have visual impairments. I think music is even more important for them because everyone can enjoy it,’ he said.
Speaking about the renovations, operations director Jane Vincent said: ‘We’ve taken on-board the difficulties that clients have with sight loss and incorporated that into all the changes we have made in the building, to make it totally accessible to our members. It’s a showcase for the Island, so if someone wants to come and see what a property for sight-impaired people should look like – we can bring them out here.’
She added: ‘At the heart of it all, the key thing was to make sure that our members are totally comfortable with the facilities up here. We have had nothing but positive comments. They absolutely love it.’
Rehabilitation worker Chris Frost said: ‘What stands out for me is how welcoming and light an area it is, whereas before it was quite dated-looking, a bit dull and dingy. So when clients come in now it’s like “wow” – it’s a real difference and it feels more modern and welcoming.’
He added: ‘We go out and assess other buildings and do audits to make things more accessible, so when your own building isn’t up to the standards that you want other places to meet then it’s a problem. So now we feel that our building is leading the way in what a building should be like for sight-impaired people.’