Hello from Sight Advice!
As is the case everywhere, life at Sight Advice is rather different to what we are accustomed! Our normal roles are to support those with sight impairments in the community and to enable them to carry out those daily activities that are important to them. We have many members who are very active in the community and attend groups organised by Sight Advice and other organisations as well as those who enjoy going walking, sailing and cycling. Shortly before shut down we realised the risk to our most vulnerable members and halted all face to face meetings with everything being moved to the telephone and online.
Much of our time is now spent on the phone to our members. Calls enable us to work in a different way and we are able to chat about eye conditions and any issues they may be experiencing and provide advice and support appropriately. We can now refer members to our virtual Low Vision Clinic and the optician linked into our charity is able to discuss a person’s level of sight and prescribe a magnifier. These are often delivered by bicycle during the optician’s hour of exercise the same evening! Many new services have been developed in the past few weeks and our calls enable us to spread the news about these. Our members are therefore less isolated and better connected.
Like elsewhere, we have been embracing technology and are now holding a number of events online. These range from reading the local newspaper (our talking newspaper is relied upon for keeping up with the news & for company by many of our members but the service had stopped running) to quizzes and demonstrations of technical equipment to help support those with sight impairments. Participants can either join by Zoom or by phoning in on a landline which opens out the audience tremendously – especially for those who are unhappy using technology.
Our members have said how strange this all is – in fact it is weird to us all, but I guess getting back to our former way of working will take some getting used to when it finally arrives! Meanwhile we are happy to think that we are able to continue to support our members, somewhat relieve their isolation & provide some light-hearted sessions during these unprecedented times. Stay safe everyone.