Within the visually impaired community there are certain groups who can face a “double disadvantage”. When facing sight loss, those from the BAME community, older people, women, those living on a low income and those with other disabilities are at risk of experiencing poorer outcomes. In addition, there are some consequences of sight loss that are not supported well or at all, such as the heightened risk of domestic violence, poverty or poor mental health.
Blind Veterans UK
Blind Veterans UK will provide remote support services to 222 elderly visually impaired people, living throughout Greater London. The project aims to support independent living of blind veterans and maintaining good health through the provision of several services within their own home using the internet, phone and socially distanced service delivery. Funding awarded March 2021.
Bromley District Talking News
Bromley District Talking News: With some blind and partially sighted people finding it difficult to access local news and information in an accessible format, many local groups have set up Talking News service. Volunteers record news and information on a weekly basis ferencing local papers and bulletin boards. These recordings are collated and sent to blind and partially sighted people in the local area. We are supporting Bromley District Talking News with their project and look forward to working with them as they begin to evolve their service.
Community Enterprise East London
Community Enterprise East London: The importance of having community leaders who can give blind and partially sighted people a voice within their local community is imperative in today’s society. It is for this reason we are supporting the feasibility study being run by Community Enterprise East London to train blind and partially sighted people from BAME backgrounds to become community leaders in East London. We are providing them with ongoing support and mentoring over one year with the aim of training young people to raise awareness of the issues that matter to blind and partially sighted people from the BAME Community. As an organisation, Community Enterprise East London, primarily works with BAME Women and is now looking to work within specific groups within the BAME Community to further breakdown the social barriers experienced within these groups.
Look UK: With visual impairment being a low incidence disability in children and young people, often young people who are visually impaired find themselves struggling in various aspects of their lives. That could be with making friends, getting support at school, getting out and about or self-confidence. Look UK’s mentoring project aims to address this problem by pairing together a young and older blind or partially sighted person based on experience, character and interests. Through this partnership, the young person is mentored and can discuss any concerns and get advice on various matters. The project also runs employment workshops for young people and workshops in schools for their peers to learn about visual impairment. Look UK was set up by parents of a visually impaired child as they felt that there was no support for parents. Over the years, Look has re-purposed itself to work with young people as well as their parents.
Macular Society: the only organisation providing a national Befriending service specifically for people with macular eye disease. Befrienders provide crucial peer support to people facing isolation and loneliness having lost their sight. 90% of Macular Society’s Befrienders are visually impaired themselves and understand the challenges of macular disease, making them well placed to provide peer support. Since the start of the lockdown the Telephone Befriending service has had a 65% increase in demand, and a growing waiting list. Funding awarded March 2021.
Metro Blind Sport
Metro Blind Sport will target 100 blind and partially sighted young people and adults from the Asian community to be active through dance. Working in partnership Step Change Studios, this project will support visually impaired people disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, using dance to tackle inactivity, isolation and the loss of independence. Funding awarded March 2021.
Sight for Surrey
Sight for Surrey: For many people the experience of sight loss can have a lifelong impact. Rebuilding your life and connecting with the support services that can help is essential. Getting the right support at the point of diagnosis is critical, whether that be emotional support, accessing welfare benefits or accessing local services. We are supporting the work being done by Sight for Surrey targetting people living within the M25 area. Sight for Surrey has an excellent track record of supporting blind and partially sighted people and currently hold the contract for providing sensory support services on behalf of the local authority.