May 25 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister , Senior Reporter
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
A blind massage therapist and reflexologist has launched his own business after receiving support from a charity helping the over 50s into enterprise.
Bob Pembroke, who suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, had been a therapist for many years but was struggling to pick up enough money to pay the bills.
Frustrated and feeling unable to utilise his therapy skills he got in touch with the Prince’s Initiative last year and was inspired to set up his own business.
The 57-year-old, who has been completely blind for the past 22 years, received regular advice from a mentor and took part in a number of workshops to help him gain the skills and confidence to become a self-starter.
He now runs his business from a number of locations, including the new and innovative “pop-up” spa, the Barking Bathhouse, in Axe Street, and his home in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham.
“The staff at the Prince’s Initiative have been so supportive and really helped me get my business off the ground,” said Bob. “They’ve also kept me motivated, which is really important.”
The father-of-two, who finds his blindness gives him a heightened sense of touch, said he loves being a therapist.
“I think it’s probably because it’s the one thing I can do without help,” he explained. “If I’m on a home visit my wife might take me there and help me set up, but once the massage starts it’s just me.
“There’s also a great sense of achievement when, for example, some one comes to me in pain and then after the massage they’re feeling on top of the world”
He said working at the Barking Bathhouse, which closes in mid-September, has been a delight.
“It’s such a fantastic and unique place and the people are wonderful. I really wish it wasn’t temporary as I’d love to stay.”
For more information on Bob, his services and some general health tips go to www.rsptherapies.co.uk. For more information on the Prince’s Initiative go to www.prime.org.uk.
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