3 Upper Maze Hill, St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0LQ
(01424) 436359 hrvab@freeuk.com

VIP Club


We currently meet on Wednesday afternoons from 2.15-4.00pm at the Mendham Hall, Vicarage Road, Hastings.

Our Club Name
The name VIP Club was suggested by one of our members and voted on by the rest. VIP can of course stand for both Visually Impaired People and Very Important People. Our members are both!

Background History
Previously, the club was the Tuesday Club, which was started in the 1980s. Originally it met at the HRVAB premises in Battle Road, followed by the Taplin Centre, Upper Maze Hill. Then, because the Taplin Centre needed more space for day care, we moved to our current premises, the Mendham Hall in Vicarage Road, in January 2014.

VIP Club Aims
The aims of the club are to provide visually impaired people with weekly social afternoons where they can meet people with similar problems and enjoy a range of activities, followed by a chat with light refreshments.

Our Programme
We try to have something for everyone and members are encouraged to suggest what they would like to happen. A monthly printed programme is issued detailing our activities.

These include:

  • Quizzes
  • Musical and choral entertainment (both classical and popular)
  • Talks
  • Bingo
  • Reminiscences
  • Chair exercises
  • Sensory sessions
  • Monthly raffle
  • Tea and chat (everyone has the chance to say a few words on a given topic)
  • Fish and chip lunch at Mendham Hall
  • Trips out for afternoon tea (e.g. at Coastguards Restaurant)
  • Celebration parties at special times (e.g. Christmas)

Or anything else suggested by members, followed by a chat over tea and biscuits.

What some of our members say:

“It’s a very friendly club with a good programme.” – Gwen

“The best day of my week. It makes me cheer up – when I go home I’m full of life.” – Marjory

“Everybody is friendly and there’s something different each week. It’s somewhere nice to relax with people in a similar position.” – Susan

“Fantastic. It’s made me come out of my shell and now I’m able to help out occasionally.” – Nettie

“It’s interesting, with a variety of things on the programme.” – June

“A nice club where newcomers are made to feel very welcome.” – Shirley

‘‘People who are visually impaired face many challenges and being able to go to the club means we can meet and share these with others who understand. The varied programme offers a beacon of light into the world outside.” – Margaret

The club is run entirely by volunteers, who devise the programme, make bookings, set the room out, arrange the refreshments, clear up afterwards, collect the money and see the hall and entertainment is paid for. Another volunteer drives the mini-bus. We would like one or two more volunteers to join the team, please!

Mini-bus transport
Most members are picked up from home and returned afterwards with a volunteer driver and escort in a HRVAB minibus at a nominal cost, currently £2.50 (or £1.25 if one way). There is an additional charge of £1 payable on any trips outside the Hastings area.

Weekly Subscriptions
These are currently at the affordable level of £2.50, which goes towards hire of the hall, refreshments and entertainment. Please note we do not charge any membership fee on joining.

We have a monthly raffle, donations and sometimes legacies. Recently we were thrilled to be selected by Burnham and District Model Railway Club in Somerset as one of their charity beneficiaries. BDMRC member John Langley (formerly of Hastings) helps raise money for charities across the country by selling limited edition model railway wagons in 00 gauge, which are popular collectors’ items. To date over £45,000 has been raised. Our club has been chosen to profit from a Shepherd Neame Brewery Box Van, models of which will be on sale via exhibitions, newsletters or on the BDMRC website.

There are only a few remaining left to sell – model railway enthusiasts please take note!

Further information
If you would like to join the VIP Club, or come along to see what it is like, please contact Marie Turner, Group Leader, on 01424 428866 or email Secretary Rosemary Bartholomew on rbhastings@gmail.com.