THE leader of a Forth Valley charity which supports people with visual and hearing impairments has received an MBE for service during the pandemic.

Jacquie Winning, chief executive of Forth Valley Sensory Centre (FVSC), was honoured for the centre’s services to people with sensory loss during the Covid-19 response.

She was initially named in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours List, but only received the award this week due to delays caused by pandemic restrictions.

Jacquie was given her MBE medal by Princess Anne during a ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

The charity leader stressed that while the award was a huge personal honour, it was a tribute to all of the “staff, volunteers and those who use the centre”.

At the height of the health crisis, and during the subsequent lockdowns, FVSC provided Braille copies of virus information and established a telephone, text and email befriending service to address isolation.

The team also created goodie bags with items to keep people occupied, cooking and fitness videos that could be followed along with at home and made podcasts to share important information.

Jacquie said: “The past two years have been difficult for everyone but posed significant challenges for those with sensory loss.

“Although I was given the award, I see it as recognition of the hard work, enthusiasm and dedication shown by everybody who is involved with our centre.

“It is a tribute to the achievements of our team, volunteers and centre users as they adapted in the most challenging of circumstances.”

Forth Valley Sensory Centre has been supporting blind, partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing people, across Forth Valley since 2006.

Support is peer led and comes in the form of the many groups, classes and social activities provided at the centre and in Stirling.

Earlier this year Tullibody woman Laura Cluxton, who lost her sight to a rare disorder, became an ambassador for the charity.

The centre provides classes on everything from art to cooking, history and even self defence, all tailored to the sensory community.

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