THE chair of a Basingstoke charity helping visually impaired people has been given a national award for his leadership.

David Chatten-Smith won the Community Leader of the Year Award at the Groundwork Community Awards for his work at Helping Hands for the Blind.

In the ceremony, which took place at the Houses of Parliament on November 22, David was presented with the award .

At the awards, David said: “Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.”

David set up the charity six years ago after losing his sight to meningitis at 35 in 2004. He helped found and now chairs the charity, which works out of the Roger Morris Centre in Eastrop Way.

He has since worked tirelessly together with the community to make a success of the charity, which helps visually impaired people in the area.

Through his work, David has set up links with business, other charities and those involved with helping the blind and partially-sighted.

The group offers coffee mornings, events, outings, and tackling transport problems with its own minibus as well as arranging training sessions and inviting experts to provide support and advice to members.

Groundwork’s national chief executive officer, Graham Duxbury, said: “I’d like to congratulate David on winning his award and wish him every success going forward in continuing to be a positive and inspiring voice and example for local people.

“This year, we received over 600 Groundwork Community Award applications that show the positive difference that local people are making in their local towns and cities.

“The Groundwork Community Awards have provided a platform for us to celebrate the amazing work that groups across the UK are doing to make their local communities better places to live.”

Groundwork, which works across the UK to support communities to change places and change lives, launched its awards in 2017 to honour small community groups making a big difference to people’s quality of life and to celebrate and reward groups.