12th January 2017
A project that supports visually impaired young people in Barrow and the South Lakes area has been awarded £2,000 from the Grassroots Cumbria Young People’s Fund.
Barrow and Districts Society for the Blind launched the ‘Younger Generations’ programme after a survey conducted by the charity revealed that more support was needed for blind and partially sighted children and young people in the area.
The programme offers a range of social activities for visually impaired young people and their families, as well as one to one sessions with the ‘Younger Generations’ Co-ordinator. Recent activities have included archery lessons, craft days, group football sessions, a Halloween party and a trip to the Chill Factore in Manchester where the children learned to ski.
The youngsters that the charity works with all have different sight conditions and varying degrees of sight loss. The majority attend mainstream schools where there is often a lack of awareness of the child’s disability. The rurality of Cumbria also adds to the difficulties these young people face as they are usually the only child in the locality with a visual impairment.
The ‘Younger Generations’ programme aims to reduce social isolation, increase the children’s confidence and give young people and their families the opportunity to socialise with others who are in a similar position. Families are given advice and support on how to deal with a visual impairment and are made aware of other support available in the area.
Brenda Walker, Grants Officer at Barrow and Districts Society for the Blind, said: “Before ‘Younger Generations’ launched, the families had never met anyone else with a visual impairment. Being able to meet other people in a similar position has really helped them to not feel alone.”
“Just knowing you’re not the only person going through life with a visual impairment and being able to share your experiences with someone else, is beneficial for both the young person and their family as they have access to honest advice from people who have been in their shoes.”
“One young girl who suffers from Nystagmus, was very anxious when outside in unfamiliar surroundings as she didn’t trust her vision. Seeing how well other visually impaired children at ‘Younger Generations’ cope and how independent they are has helped her feel more confident to go out and try to do the things she was scared of.”
For more information on the services available for children and young people provided by Barrow and Districts Society for the Blind, visit: www.barrowblindsociety.org.uk.