Blind and partially sighted Londoners are being invited to join a soon-to-be-launched London Sight Loss Council to effect positive change in the capital.
The London Sight Loss Council will be led by blind and partially sighted volunteers and facilitated by London Vision with funding from the Vision Foundation and the Thomas Pocklington Trust. It forms part of a national network of Sight Loss Councils, which advocate the needs of blind and partially sighted people and influence positive change.
The establishment of a volunteer-led London Sight Loss Council will empower blind and partially sighted people across the capital to tackle inequality, challenge decision makers and achieve lasting change.
In addition to funding from Thomas Pocklington Trust, the Vision Foundation is providing a grant to London Vision to establish the new body and support the first year of this important project.
The Sight Loss Council will be complemented by a network of virtual Engagement Champions who will feed into the Council. They will connect and respond to localised issues and casework such as access to hospitals, issues of the built environment, local infrastructure, and sight loss rehabilitation services in different boroughs.
The London Sight Loss Council will also engage with London specific bodies such as Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, and will address the ongoing impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on blind and partially sighted people in the capital.
The work of the London Sight Loss Council will ensure the voices and experiences of blind and partially sighted people impacted by the pandemic inform changes in policy and practice for the future.
Cathy Low, CEO of London Vision said:
“The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in blind and partially sighted people in London facing disproportionate challenges when trying to access frontline services – services which were already subject to delays prior to the advent of COVID-19. The London Sight Loss Council will challenge these issues and work with public and corporate bodies to bring about meaningful change to benefit blind and partially sighted people in the capital”.
Judith Brodie, interim CEO of the Vision Foundation said:
“We are proud to support this project, which will provide a much-needed platform for blind and partially sighted people in our capital. Now, more than ever before, it is essential that we work together and focus on preventing the advances of the past two decades being rolled back by responses to the pandemic.”
Emma Hughes, Director of Services at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said:
“We have a developed a successful model for engagement and self-advocacy across the country through our Sight Loss Councils that influence real change within communities. We are pleased to see this adopted for the capital and we thank the Vision Foundation for the additional contribution it has made to get this off the ground.”
More information about the London Sight Loss Council, including information on how to apply to join can be found at www.londonvision.org/london-sight-loss-council