What specific support is available from sight loss charities?

For up-to-date information on support you can receive from charities during the coronavirus pandemic, please see the list below:   

RNIB 

www.rnib.org.uk/covid-19. RNIB have suspended most face-to-face activities, including groups and events, until further notice. In the meantime RNIB’s Helpline remains open on weekdays from 8am to 8pm and on Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Staff are working from home offering support to anyone with sight loss who becomes isolated or is concerned about accessing information, products or services. Call 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

RNIB’s Online Shop remains open and you can continue to shop a large range of products designed to support people living with sight loss visit shop.rnib.org.uk.

You can also use the RNIB Reading Services online library service to access talking books. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 for more information.

Macular Society

www.macularsociety.org/coronavirus. Macular Society’s advice and information line is still open on 0300 3030 111 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or email [email protected]. Their social media channels and website are still being regularly updated.

Local face-to-face support groups and services are currently being advised not to meet yet.

Guide Dogs

www.guidedogs.org.uk/coronavirus. Guide Dogs remain committed to helping people with sight loss lead the life they choose through their services and as far as is possible, business at Guide Dogs continues as usual.

Guide Dogs have launched a coronavirus (Covid-19) sight loss telephone information line open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. The information line has been set up to answer any coronavirus (Covid-19) relevant questions. The number is 0800 781 1444

'A Way Forward' plan to help focus on a careful and phased approach to reopening their sites and restarting some areas of work, services and activities has now been set out. Guide Dogs will be following the government advice with every decision they make going forward with a phased reopening approach.

The central office in Burghfield remains open during core hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) as staff continue to answer calls and provide support in person, whilst adhering to social distancing measures.

Forfar, Atherton, Redbridge, Leamington Spa training schools and all Community Tam offices are currently still closed. Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre continues to remain open with a small team of specific staff on-site to support their dog services however, they have paused their breeding programme for now and but will continue to focus on caring for their young puppies and expectant guide dog mums.

Guide Dogs My Guide Service is currently on hold due to all face to face delivery being suspended. They are keeping in touch with all their existing service users. New enquiries will be captured and contacted when the situation changes.

Fight for Sight 

www.fightforsight.org.uk/covid-19/. Fight for Sight are doing everything they can to maintain business as usual and are continuing to award research funding as planned over the next few months. They are working with their researchers to ensure their work continues.

All staff are working from home, but are contactable by phone on 020 7264 3900 or by email at [email protected].

VICTA

www.victa.org.uk/supporting-social-distancing/. VICTA are running at reduced capacity but are still actively planning future events. Their grants programme, and queries with this might take a little longer to handle.

If you don’t have the direct contact details for the member of staff you are trying to contact, please email [email protected], however they may not be able to get back to you straight away. They continue to update their website with ways to help you stay in touch and resources to keep you informed and connected.

Retina UK 

retinauk.org.uk/general-news/retina-uk-covid-19-response/. Retina UK have cancelled all their Local Peer Support Group meetings until further notice, as well as their Information Days in Reading, Cardiff and Manchester.

They will continue providing information and support via their telephone and email Helpline Monday to Friday 9.30am to 9.30pm on 0845 123 2354 and [email protected] (calls cost 2ppm plus your network’s access charge). Their Talk and Support service and Online support groups are still ongoing.

They will continue to post regular updates on their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Blind Veterans

www.blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/. Blind Veterans are temporarily changing their service model and introducing the National Support Service, mobilising their staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.

They will primarily be delivering their outreach service by phone on 01273 391 447 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, and will be providing practical support services to blind veterans.

Their two training and rehabilitation centres in Brighton and Llandudno are closed for all except permanent residents.

Scope

www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/coronavirus/. Scope’s Support and Information Helpline is still open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Sunday 10am to 6pm on 0808 800 3333 and by email [email protected]

They are still providing practical information, online advice and support, their online community and emotional support. Their campaigns are also still active.

Sense

www.sense.org.uk/get-support/information-and-advice/coronavirus-covid-19/. Sense’s residential care and supported living accommodation continues to run as normal, as do their college facilities. They are closely monitoring the situation and following the guidance of Public Health England and the UK Government, and reviewing their operations daily.

They have suspended their day opportunities but have reconfigured some of their community-based services to be virtual and telephone based. All of their sports and arts activities, buddying and short break programmes have been suspended. Also, they no longer are providing face-to-face activities for their children and families.

The community centre in Birmingham, Sense TouchBase Pears is closed, including the library and café.  All events, courses and workshops have been postponed for the foreseeable future.

Their Helpline remains open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm on 0300 330 9256 or by email [email protected].

Henshaws

www.henshaws.org.uk/covid-19-response/. Henshaw’s First Step team are still available to talk to Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm by phone on 0300 222 5555 or by email at [email protected]

Their Digital Team are booking telephone appointments, via their First Step Helpline, to discuss how to use technology that could help ease social isolation.  They are also providing telephone support from their Patient Support Officers, who can explain medical information and offer advice on relevant aids and equipment.  For children, there will be move towards telephone support. The Children and Young People’s Enablement Officers are still available and contactable. 

All their hubs across Greater Manchester are closed, as well as the Henshaw’s Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough. The Henshaw’s specialist college is open as usual. 

Their online services and social media platforms are being regularly updated.

Seeability

www.seeability.org/news/health-equality-coronavirus. Seeability are asking people to refrain from visiting their operating locations if they have symptoms of the virus but are operating as usual. 

They are working closely with Learning Disability England and collaborating with other charities on communication advice for health and social care staff. This can be found on the link above.

You can still contact them by phone on 01372 755 000 or by email [email protected].

To find your local society, please visit the Sightline Directory

Last updated 30 July 2020.

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