Visionary and the RNIB are working in partnership to ensure that people living with sight loss are aware of the range of services available to support them, especially those provided by local sight loss organisations. This work pre-dates the COVID pandemic, however the major disruption COVID-19 restrictions brought saw a significant shift to telephone helplines as sources of information and support – something both Visionary members and RNIB are acutely aware of. Restrictions also disrupted ECLO provision across the UK, and ECLOs are a key opportunity to raise people’s awareness of local sight loss organisations’ services.
During Spring 2020, Visionary asked members about services they were providing during COVID-19 and also if they held the register. A key aspect of this work is that it enabled Visionary to ensure that RNIB services, their helpline and ECLO’s were aware of what local sight loss organisation (LSLO) services are available and contact details to make referrals. Since April 2020 RNIB now monitor the levels of referrals and signposting to LSLOs made by their ECLO and advice/helpline services. With the monitoring now in its second quarter (July to September) we can reflect upon changes:
- RNIB ECLO provision recommenced in scale during this monitoring period contributing significantly to an increase in activity of 53%.
- ECLO Signposts to LSLO increased by 47% to 2803
- ECLO Referrals to LSLO increased by 82% to 780
- Advice Line and Helpline Signposts/Referrals to LSLO rose by 36% to 480 over the previous period. Over the same period a further 1070 callers were offered further information about local services but did not want the information at that time.
RNIB and Visionary are pleased to be working together on this monitoring information and its analysis continues to be developed. A third quarter (Oct – Dec 2020) of monitoring information will be available shortly.