Emergency Mental Health sessions available now from RNIB
Many blind and partially sighted people have faced anxiety, sadness and, even, fear about the unique challenges they have experienced during the COVID pandemic. RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service has worked with Mind, the mental health charity, to offer free emergency mental health sessions by BACP-registered counsellors with sight loss experience. Sessions will be one hour long over the telephone and will be on offer until June 2021. For those blind or partially sighted people who are struggling with their mental wellbeing and would benefit from a one-off session of support, then they can call RNIB on 0303 123 9999. For tips and advice on maintaining good mental health visit RNIB’s website for a number of resources.
RNIB advice on wearing face coverings when you have sight loss
Many blind and partially sighted people have been concerned about wearing face coverings; they report that masks steam up their glasses or further reduce their vision. In order to help keep everyone safe and comfortable, RNIB has gathered top tips and recommendations from across the sight loss community for wearing face coverings when you have sight loss.
Research study: request for people aged 75+
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs and Thomas Pocklington Trust have jointly launched a research study to uncover the realities of life for blind and partially sighted people in the UK today. The research, which will be conducted by telephone interviews with hundreds of people, will help build an accurate and up-to-date view of the experiences and needs of blind and partially sighted people. The results will be shared across the sector to improve services and support for people with a vision impairment. The research team would now like to recruit more blind and partially sighted people aged 75 and over to the study to ensure there is good representation from that age group. Read this press release which can be used to provide detail about the research and how people can get involved
Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient Information event – 16 November 2020
An online Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) Patient Information event is being jointly hosted by Esme’s Umbrella and University College London on 16 November 10am to 12.30pm. There will be updates on research results, on-going research and proposed research; new support initiatives for people living with CBS; and how awareness is rising globally. Click to register for the CBS Patient Information event here.
Help in Shropshire for those on a low budget
As the recession deepens, more people are losing their jobs and facing hardship. Shropshire Larder (shropshirelarder.org.uk) - is the most comprehensive directory of services for people living in Shropshire on a low budget. It has information on how to access a foodbank or community food project, and how to eat well on a budget. It also covers how to get support with benefits, housing, and debt.
Cancellation of Winters Day Out – January 2021
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sight Loss Shropshire committee has reluctantly decided to cancel the Winter’s Day Out event scheduled for 22nd January 2021. The next event will be held in January 2022.
We are sorry for any disappointment this causes but it was felt that to proceed with the event would have posed too high a risk to our guests. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2022.
National Eye Health Week – 21st September 2020
It’s National Eye Health week 21st – 27th September 2020. The Vision Matters website has lots of information on the importance of good eye health and the need for everyone to have regular eye tests. http://www.visionmatters.org.uk/
E-Scooters – 5th August 2020
Transport minister, Rachel Maclean, announced new regulations earlier this month allowing trials of rental e-scooters. The trials are designed to help understand whether the devices reduce regular traffic, as well as their impacts on safety for their users and others. They will be strictly prohibited on pavements, will be limited to 15.5mph and riders are recommended to wear helmets.
The RNIB is keen to gather information about any effect that e-Scooters may be having on blind and partially sighted pedestrians. The information will be fed back to politicians, decision-makers, e-scooter manufacturers and other blind and partially sighted people, to make sure they understand any effect of these schemes. If you have any experiences about these trials, positive or negative, you can submit them to RNIB by using this online form:
Shropshire Council has put a bid in for electric scooters to be trialled in Shrewsbury.
Bereavement Support in Shropshire – 5th August 2020
Coping with bereavement is never easy, especially with the current restrictions in place. A new service has been launched to support people who are experiencing and suffering from bereavement and loss. The offer is open to any Shropshire resident who has been bereaved by either a recent death or previous loss. The Bereavement Support Service is operated by Shropshire Council and community voluntary partners Samaritans, CRUSE, Severn Hospice and Crane Quality Counselling. The service can be accessed through self-referral by calling 0345 678 9028.
The Bereavement Support Service is accompanied by the launch of a grief and bereavement during COVID19 booklet which provides a compassionate overview of coping with loss, feelings that may be experienced, supporting others who are grieving and links to help and information. A secondary booklet provides a practical guide for the process following a death and what has changed due to the pandemic. Digital versions of these resources are available from the Shropshire Council website bereavement page at: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/bereavement-services/support-and-resources-for-those-recently-bereaved/
Postponement of Living with Sight Loss course in Ludlow
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Living with Sight Loss course in Ludlow scheduled for Wednesdays 8th and 15th July 2020 at Ludlow Library has been postponed. All Face to Face Living with Sight Loss courses are on hold for the time being. If you would like to participate in a telephone based course, or join a befriending group, please contact the RNIB on 0300 123 3933 or e-mail email@example.com.
Support for people with glaucoma – 4th June 2020
Glaucoma UK (formerly the International Glaucoma Association) will be running a series of digital support groups in July. There will be a talk for around 30 minutes followed by an opportunity to ask questions. You will be able to see both the speaker and the slides. You can submit questions to the speaker via an in-built chat function. You won’t be able to see the other participants, and you won’t be visible. You can use any device which connects to the internet and has speakers – so a tablet, phone or laptop. Places must be booked in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 update – 28th May 2020
The RNIB has updated its Supermarket Information & Updates page with links to announcements from a number of supermarket chains. This provides useful information on how to arrange shopping deliveries and the arrangements that the various supermarkets have in place to support vulnerable customers. Click here for more information.
RNIB are worried that rapid proposed changes to street design to encourage cycling and support social distancing could make walking more difficult for blind and partially sighted people. This tool from RNIB enables you to write to your local Councillor to ask that they make sure any changes that happen locally don’t affect blind and partially sighted peoples’ ability to get out and about. Please note – this is only available if you live in England.
As the UK begins planning for the future post lock down, Guide Dogs have started to think about what support will be available for people with sight loss who are trying to travel safely and observe social distancing rules while making their essential journeys. They have put together this guidance for transport providers on how they can best assist their passengers with sight loss whilst observing social distancing.
New research from RNIB shows how social distancing is near-impossible for many blind and partially sighted people, while inaccessible signage and fears about how the public will react to them are causing additional stress and worry. You can read the full research report and recommendations here.
Covid-19 update – 19th May 2020
Shropshire Council has expanded the information available on its website. Working with other local groups and organisations, Shropshire Council has gathered together new information resources that may be used by individuals or groups and organisations throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent additions include a searchable map of local food providers and food delivery services; a map of local social network groups, many established to provide support during the pandemic; a map of support services and information concerning help for those unable to pay energy bills. Many other topics are also covered ranging from advice from Trading Standards to mental health and advice managing anxiety.
The interactive maps allow those able to access the internet to focus in on their local area and find out more about the services located nearby. Where known telephone, email and website addresses have been included to help people make contact with any services of interest to them.
Community Social Networks
Energy Advice and Other Support
Covid-19 update – 6th May 2020
The RNIB has developed guidance for supermarkets on how to help blind and partially sighted shoppers. More details are available here.
Covid-19 update – 16th April 2020
If you live in Shropshire Council area, the Council has set up temporary area-based Community Reassurance Teams who will provide support to new and existing community groups set up in response to Covid-19, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations. Contact the Covid-19 Helpline on 0345 678 9028 or by email to email@example.com
If you live in the Telford & Wrekin Council area they are also providing a range of support relating to Covid-19, including people who are classed as extremely vulnerable or vulnerable. More information at this link https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20692/coronavirus_covid-19
Guide Dogs has launched a Sight Loss Information Line to support people with sight loss and their family and friends during the coronavirus outbreak. Contact them on 0800 781 1444.
A reminder that the RNIB Helpline 0303 123 9999 remains open on weekdays from 8am to 8pm and now has extended Saturday opening times from 9am to 5pm.
Covid-19 update – 1st April 2020
The RNIB has put together answers to a number of frequently asked questions about Covid-19 and Living with Sight Loss. Details can be found here.
A number of sight loss organisations are calling for the government and supermarkets to give people with sight loss priority access to online shopping. You can sign the petition here.
Covid-19 update – 23rd March 2020
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic many of our peer support groups have cancelled their forthcoming meetings and we have also suspended our fortnightly Information Point sessions at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. However, we are continuing to provide information and signposting during our normal office hours (8:15am – 1pm, Monday to Thursday) via our telephone number 01743 250808 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust will be working remotely until further notice. However, she is still available to offer practical and emotional support during working hours via e-mail email@example.com and mobile 07808 736449.
West Shropshire Talking Newspaper has ceased memory stick publication but continue to provide access to their home produced weekly recordings through their webpage, the app, the landline telephone listening service and Alexa.
Sight Loss Survey
Eye research charity Fight for Sight has launched a survey to gather insights on the personal impact of sight loss. It is hoped that the findings from this survey will help to strengthen the case for desperately needed eye research funding.
Sight loss costs the UK over £28 billion each year, yet only 1% of funding for public services is spent on eye research. This equates to just £20 for each person living with sight loss.
Participation in the survey involves a short 15-minute phone interview or online survey in which respondents share information and answer questions on how living with sight loss or an eye condition impacts their life or that of the person they care for.
Interested participants should call 020 7264 3900.
Participants can really help to transform the eye research landscape and build a case to secure urgently needed funding for pioneering eye research projects.
Shropshire Council has set up temporary area-based Community Reassurance Teams (CRT) only for responding to COV19 during this crisis, they will provide support to the new and existing community groups set up in response to COVID-19, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations. It is important that all enquiries to the CRT are logged with the Covid-19 Helpline on 0345 6789028. There is also a dedicated email address; firstname.lastname@example.org
Telford & Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin Council is also providing additional support for people who fall into the extremely vulnerable and vulnerable categories, including food parcels, food shopping and meals. More information at this link https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20712/food_parcels_food_shopping_and_meals There is also information on changes to council services, how to request community support and other Covid-19 related topics at https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20692/coronavirus_covid-19
The Guide Dogs Covid-19 Sight Loss Information line (call 0800 781 1444) was launched last week to support people with sight loss, and their family and friends, as they face the unique challenges of living with a vision impairment during the coronavirus outbreak
RNIB’s Helpline (0303 123 9999) remains open on weekdays from 8am-8pm and now has extended Saturday opening times from 9am-5pm.