Two remarkable Hartlepool women chosen to lead exciting new project for the visually impaired

Two of Hartlepool’s most inspirational women have been chosen to lead a new project which will help hundreds of visually impaired people.

Friday, 8th July 2022, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th July 2022, 2:00 pm

Pizza nights, bowling, cinema visits, quizzes and more are all being considered by the youth arm of Hartlepool Vision Support which has set up a brunch club.

It will be “all singing and all dancing” and will have two remarkable people as its ambassadors.

They are Abby Grima, 20, who has hydrocephalus which is a build-up of fluid in the brain. She has lived with it since she was a child.

Abby Grima and Jade Henderson, right, have been chosen as ambassadors for the Vision Support group in Hartlepool.

It puts pressure on the brain and a shunt is surgically implanted to drain away the excess fluid.

Abby, who fought back from being in a coma last year, is blind and is also confined to a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, Jade Henderson, 24, collapsed in the street in 2019, was rushed to hospital, “died” twice on the operating table, her heart stopped beating and she had a stroke.

Abby Grima (left) and Jade Henderson at the launch of a new Vision support group.

She has aphasia, which is a condition affecting her speech, dyslexia and has lost some eyesight.

Both women are from Hartlepool and both have been asked to head the new project.

Abby, who has lived in town for four years, said the ambassador role was “exciting. I am classing it as a job. I love helping other people”.

She heard about Hartlepool Vision Support when relatives looked for clubs she could join and Abby admitted: “At first I was hesitant but now I am obsessed.”

Barbara Harding-Smith, Abby Grima and Jade Henderson at Hartlepool Vision Support.

Jade, who has also just fought back from Covid, said: “This is an amazing opportunity. I know how hard things can be for young people. I have had rough days and some days where you feel it’s a kick in the teeth.

"I want to help young people with sight issues to do the things they want to do, and if they are not getting help, they can come to us and have that conversation.”

Barbara Harding-Smith, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Vision Support which is based at One77 in York Road. said the group was ‘heavily trying to engage to our younger clients.

"We recently set up a young person’s brunch club and we have two young visually impaired ambassadors, Jade and Abby who will develop and carry this project forward.

Abby Grima who is an ambassador of the new support group in Hartlepool.

"The group want to bring on board younger clients to join the crew. The group will do fun and exciting projects, whether it be outdoor activities, bowling, cinema, quiz nights at a local pub, pizza and wine or just getting to know each other.

"The group will be fully funded and all singing and dancing.”

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Hartlepool Vision Support, formerly Hartlepool Blind Welfare, officially re-branded in 2019.

Barbara said: “The rebranding is a vibrant and current celebration of our 100 years in supporting those with a visual impairment.

"We have always been passionate in providing the highest quality service to each one of our clients.”

Barbara Harding-Smith, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Vision Support.

Anyone wanting to find out more should contact (01429) 866999, visit the Hartlepool Vision Support Facebook page, the website at or email [email protected]

Interested people can also make a Just Giving donation to: Just Giving Hartlepool Vision Support.

Jade Henderson who described her ambassador role with Vision Support as 'an amazing opportunity'.