The coronavirus pandemic has caused daily difficulties for everyone. But what if you are visually impaired? We hear from local organisation, Bucks Vision, which supports people with visual impairment and share some resources for those with visual impairments as well as funding opportunities for people and organisations in this area.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has caused disruption to everybody’s lives, but in many ways it has uniquely affected people living with sight loss. This is because of the impact social distancing guidelines has had on people who require sighted guiding to complete everyday tasks, such as shopping or getting some exercise, particularly for those who live alone. Many disabled people including those with sight loss were already using online deliveries to access shopping, but as they were not initially included in the vulnerable category (unless there were for other reasons) many people were left unable to book deliveries. Consequently, RNIB and other sight loss charities have been actively campaigning for, and achieving, better support for people with sight loss at supermarkets etc.
At BucksVision we have continued to support our members by keeping them informed about changes to our services, contacting them by phone to ensure they are supported, extending our telephone befriending service and continuing to provide advice and information by phone or email. In Milton Keynes we have supported our members to continue to participate in MK Voices Choir using Zoom, enabling them to continue with their hobbies.
Technology of course is of particular importance at this time, which is why one of our volunteers, Padma, was determined not to let the pandemic stop BucksVision’s MK Technology Group from running, and with the support of our technology volunteers is now holding sessions virtually.
Ensuring our members are able to stay connected during this particularly difficult time is very important, so we were delighted to support Padma and our technology volunteers’ plan to set up virtual technology sessions.BucksVision, Office and Service Delivery Manager
Home Truths: Don’t leave us offline and disconnected
Padma volunteers with Bucks Vision, lives in Milton Keynes and describes herself as an octogenarian volunteer campaigner with dual sensory disability. For this instalment of our #HomeTruths series, Padma describes how she has learnt to use technology and the need for training to be accessible to those with specific needs.
- BBC News – Coronavirus: Being blind during the pandemic
- The Conversation – What coronavirus crisis means for blind and partially sighted people
Resources for the visually impaired
- Public Health England resources in accessible formats
- Experiences of Deafblind Persons during the COVID-19 Outbreak
- RNIB Coronavirus updates
- Covid-19 Guidelines for Employers to Support a Vision Impaired Employee Returning to Work
- NCBI’s national helpline open to support blind or visually impaired people: 1850 33 43 53
Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT): Thomas Pocklington Trust launched a £500,000 emergency fund to help support charities dedicated to sight loss, which are supporting blind and partially sighted people during the pandemic. It has suspended its usual grant funding activities and will use funds
£10 million to help disabled or seriously ill children. Fund to support families supporting and caring for disabled children or those with complex needs