People living with sight loss in Calderdale will soon benefit from an exciting and bold new service using specially adapted tablets and mobiles to develop independence and connect with friends and family.
A new initiative launched by Halifax Society for the Blind entitled AVIATORS, Advancing Visually Impaired Adoption of Technology Out-Reach Service, is reaching out to support local people with sight loss, who in the past may have found accessing technology difficult.
The charity is supplying adapted tablets and/or mobile phones to local people with sight loss. Trained volunteers and expert staff will support members remotely to connect with family, friends and social groups, who they’ve been cut off from for many months, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The scheme can open up a whole new world of potentials for people such as doing their own online shopping for possibly the first time. When people learn how to use the new devices, they can be helped to obtain them at subsidised prices.
Pete Hoey, Chief Officer at the Halifax-based charity, said:
“Until COVID-19, many of our members had not engaged much with technology – but the situation has changed. Now, people are seeing a greater value to this simplified technology. With support from our trained volunteers and staff, we’re helping people regain contacts and develop new skills and confidence.”
Margaret, who recently started on the AVIATORS scheme, is visually impaired, and lives in Halifax, said:
“This project has changed everything. I’m connecting with people, and have learnt so much. My AVIATOR Volunteer connects with me each week, and they’re really good – and patient. I’d advise other people with sight issues to get connected. This has completely changed what I can do.”
Sue Mort, Chair of the Charity, said:
“We’ve listened to those affected by sight loss, and we’re all very proud to be helping local people reclaim parts of their lives in these difficult times. As a local charity, I’m proud that we have been able to fund this project in partnership with the National Lottery who will enable us to reach more people.”
Notes to Editors
Sight loss comes to 1 in 5 lives, and Calderdale has over 3,000 people with significant and severe sight loss.
HSB is one of Calderdale’s oldest charities having supported local people since 1888 and is funded mainly by donations and legacies.