Through the awards we aim to recognise and celebrate the impactful services delivered by local sight loss charities and the positive difference made to the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Highlighting the achievements of local charities helps share good practice across the sector and draws attention to the talent and expertise out there! The awards are open to Visionary members who can nominate their own organisation, or another they feel deserves recognition.
The category winner will be announced at the Visionary Annual Conference during the awards dinner on Thursday 14 November 2019 and will receive £500, thanks to sponsorship from Blind Veterans UK.
Competition was strong and the short-listing panel had to work hard to select the final nominees. Whilst the individual 200-word summaries below are a concise description of the award category submissions, be assured that all short-listed nominations clearly demonstrated how they met the individual award criteria and evidenced the positive difference they make to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
Inspirational Service Delivery (sponsored by Blind Veterans UK)
The service or initiative could be newly developed or already established, benefiting a few or a large number of visually impaired people, but we want to hear about inspiring and creative examples that will inspire others.
Tactile VI Art Group – East Cheshire Eye Society
VI art activities focus upon walks with an art theme, involving local artists as tutors. Materials within nature are used as tools to create multi-sensory art works which VI people can freely touch, feel and hear the work which is shaped to reflect the landscape, wildlife and heritage of the local countryside.
Sessions take place throughout the year giving the opportunity for participants to experience the impact of the different seasons along with changes to smells and sounds around them – supported by local artists and volunteer sighted guides.
An exhibition of the art produced will be open to the public with VI people from charities outside our immediate area invited to experience the art produced and to join guided walks that inspired the artwork.
Participants tell of increased confidence, sense of achievement and sheer joy of being able to simply hear the sounds of the countryside. For some it was a completely new experience, but for others it was a way to rediscover skills, with some having not done these things since losing their sight, and that they never thought they would be able to do so again. “A holiday all in one day” is how one person described it.
The Knowledge Village online service supports any VI person or their caring network; giving them information that they need, anywhere, at any time, digitally, and free of charge:
- Increasing independence for people living with sight loss, empowering them to achieve their ambitions.
- Providing supplementary support following traditional community-based care pathways.
- Providing continuous professional development and training for professionals supporting the sight loss community.
Content is in videos, eBooks and blogs on themes including Life Hacks, apps/technology, daily living, and accessible products. The service is accessible through a range of commonly used accessible ICT solutions.
Technology and the internet plays a huge role in accessibility and providing opportunities and quality of life for disabled people, and we feel that the Henshaws Knowledge Village is leading the way with helping to change lives.
It is creating real social impact:
- increasing independence of visually impaired people and allowing them to play a more active role within their own communities.
- increasing the knowledge and skills of people living with sight loss, giving them increased opportunities to gain employment.
- Over 50% of Knowledge Village access is by professionals working with sight loss. This provides CPD for professionals and improves their outcome for patients.
The Working Age Forum (WAF) provides a platform for VI people of working age to network with peers sharing knowledge, experience and advice.
The WAF tackles the issue of low employment rates and career progression within the VI community by providing a safe space for VI people to engage with each other to discuss issues/interests and to learn from and be inspired by peers.
Held every 5/6 weeks the WAF is a 2 hour session – inspiring VI speaker followed by an opportunity for networking. Twice a year “WAF Celebrate” events are held with attendees encouraged to take the floor for 5 minutes, building their confidence in public speaking in a supportive environment.
The WAF assists in bridging the service provision gap for blind and partially sighted people of working age – with sessions taking place outside of general working hours unlike many activities/events for VI people.
The WAF has created a place for VI people of working age to provide each other with peer-to-peer support and to find a range of information on available support and services. Furthermore, it has devised a channel for VI people to develop new skills and experiences via a range of engagement and service opportunities.
Only Visionary members are eligible to vote, with one vote per member organisation.
The lead contact at each Visionary member has been sent an e-mail inviting their organisation to cast their vote. (If you feel that your organisation has not received such an e-mail please contact us at Visionary).