Soon-to-launch advocacy group seeking visually impaired volunteers
A new advocacy group set to launch in Northumberland is seeking blind and partially sighted volunteers interested in campaigning on issues affecting visually impaired people in the area.
In the county alone, around 13,000 people are living with a visual impairment, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
The new Northumberland Sight Loss Council, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust and led by blind and partially sighted people, will join other sight loss councils across the country.
They work closely with businesses, charities, transport hubs, local politicians and other service providers to improve access to services for visually impaired residents. Their work is driven by three key priority areas – employment and skills, health and well-being, and inclusive communities.
Eamonn Dunne, engagement manager for Northumberland Sight Loss Council, said: “We’re currently looking for blind and partially sighted volunteers who live in Northumberland to join us.
“You will receive training and support, have the opportunity to meet other people and play a real part in raising awareness of the daily challenges faced by visually impaired people.”
Emma Hogg is the first member ready to join the new Northumberland Sight Loss Council.
She is also director of North East Sight Matters – an organisation that supports sight-impaired children, young people and families.
Emma, who is passionate about the work she does, said: “As someone who lives with sight-loss, I want to use my insights and experience to help other visually impaired people in the region to live the life they want to live.”
The Sight Loss Council will tackle a range of issues including the loneliness and isolation often experienced by blind and partially sighted people – a problem exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Organisers have also said that it will help raise awareness of reforming mental health services in the region to better cater for the needs of blind and partially sighted people, which they say is required because only 17 per cent of blind and partially sighted people receive the emotional support that they need.