Monday, 16 March 2015

Dinner in the Dark event
for Henshaws

I recently attended a 'Dinner in the Dark' event earlier this month, arranged by Emblaze Events based at Manchester Metropolitan University, in support of Henshaws Society for Blind People. The event was held at Revolution in Deansgate Locks and featured an art exhibition, two course meal, live singing, raffle and vodka tasting.

The theme for the evening was that of New York City and included many meticulous details; from little yellow taxis printed on the straws of drinks, to the menu for the evening being designed as a newspaper article from the New York Times!

The art exhibition featured Braille works from one of the students including Braille essays replicated in fine sheets of metal, housed in plinths, and jewellery embossed with Braille letters. Live singing was performed by another of the students, providing a Bluesy and Jazzy New York environment.

The evening began with an introductory cocktail shortly followed by the main course. As this was an insight into what it's like to be blind, blindfolds were essential and long waterproof napkins were also provided for those who may have made a mess! As this is something I am used to, eating with very limited vision, I breezed through my meal and finished rather quickly!

After the main course, it was time for me to give my speech. I opened with an introduction to my sight loss from a very young age and how I discovered Henshaws, talked about how Henshaws have helped me in various ways such as confidence-building, developing independence and learning new skills, and how I now volunteer on a weekly-basis to give back to the charity.

As the night was food-themed I also thought I'd share how visually impaired and blind people, such as myself, prepare and cook meals safely, how we label and identify foods and how we choose our items from the menu when going out for something to eat. I gave an overview of the essential accessibility apps I use on a daily-basis which help me with a wide variety of tasks, and have recently been told that one of the professors at Manchester University, who attended the Dinner in the Dark event, now uses one of those apps in his classes!

My speech was followed with dessert, then the raffle (the prizes included a large Henshaws-themed cookie kindly donated by Millie's Cookies!) with the evening ending with vodka-tasting - comprising of three different flavours to try; maple syrup, lemon meringue and vanilla shortcake.

I had an absolutely wonderful time at the 'Dining in the Dark' evening and would like to say a big thank you to all involved with Emblaze Events, helping to raise funds for Henshaws, and to everyone who came along!

All photos © Emblaze Events