Supporting the sight impaired community and their families

11th February 2021

Imagine being severely sight impaired at just 22 with a young family to look after and worries about not being able to continue working. This is what happened to Adam* who found support through Barrow and Districts Society for the Blind.

The charity, based on Cavendish Street in Barrow, supports blind and partially sighted people in the Furness area. Support comes in the form of help with daily living skills, allowance and service entitlements, talking newspapers, a social club, craft classes, support groups and low-level vision clinics.

The Vision Support Officer’s role was partially funded over two years with a grant of £2,915 from the Cumbria Fund. They provide one-to-one, peer and group support to a range of clients with a variety of visual impairments.

Adam was helped to find ways to make small changes in his home to help him keep his independence. The Officer introduced Adam to other sight impaired people and online groups he could gain further support from. The Officer also supported Adam’s employer by offering advice, finding software, and making small changes to ensure continued access to the workplace.

Carl Hodge, Chief Executive, said: “As a direct result of the grant, the Vision Support Officer has provided a range of support including the promotion of independent living through the demonstration of daily living aids such as liquid level indicators, talking microwaves, contrasting colours to ensure greater safety, talking watches and the importance of the correct lighting.

“Furthermore, benefit support has been given to the clients enabling them to ensure they are claiming the correct benefits. This is vital to the clients as it enables a greater level of independence through being able to buy specialist equipment, and when required, being able to have access to transport such as taxis, which is vital for clients to attend appointments.”

The Vision Support Officer has spent time ensuring clients have access to all the information they require while also providing easy to continue living independently. Over the two years, both new and existing clients have benefited from advice, practical support, and signposting. 86 people received support for the first time, gaining confidence regarding their daily living and ways to overcome the difficulties they are facing while developing a variety of coping strategies.

*name has been changed at the bottom