What can a Sight Support worker help me with?
We respect that our Service Users are all individuals and therefore each visit will be as unique as the Service User. Your Sight Support worker can help with many things, including:
- Warm, friendly conversation and company
- Emotional support
- Practical support – for example reading/writing correspondence
- Encouraging and enabling independence wherever possible
- Providing knowledge on other services and support that may be useful.
- Providing information on what’s going on locally – for example: social clubs; local outings and events; local sports clubs and leisure activities; lunch clubs; etc
How often can I expect a visit?
We aim to see all of our Service Users once per fortnight.
How many people does a Sight Support worker see?
Each Sight Support worker sees between 45 and 50 people within the same borough every fortnight. This involves visiting between 4 and 5 people a day. We operate between 1 and 3 visitors in each borough.
How do you select your Sight Support workers?
We look for people with a range of qualities and skills that include emotional intelligence, sensitivity, practical common sense, empathy and warmth together with life skills that offer a firm foundation for building friendships with our Service Users.
Our recruitment process is rigorous. We are fortunate because the Sight Support worker role always proves to be popular – when we advertise we typically receive around 80-100 applications. All applications are read thoroughly and those meeting our criteria are selected for an initial telephone interview. Successful candidates are then invited to attend a formal interview to meet and discuss the opportunity further with a panel.
Following the initial formal interview, candidates are then invited to go out for a day with one of our Sight Support workers to gain some experience of the role first hand before a final interview, DBS check and appointment.
Where do you provide services?
We provide a Sight Support Service in the 12 Inner London Boroughs:
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Islington & The City
- Kensington & Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
If you live outside the 12 Inner London Boroughs, we are unable to provide a Sight Support Service, but we can make referrals to other organisations who offer support to people who are blind or partially sighted.
I prefer not to have an outreach service – how else can you support me?
BlindAid has Community Projects running in Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Camden. We also offer a Telephone Support service which provides fortnightly telephone contact to provide regular, friendly conversation. We run coffee mornings in Tower Hamlets and Southwark for those that would like more social contact outside of their home. If needed, we may also refer you to additional organisations that may be helpful.
How can I make a referral?
For our Community Sight Support service, Grants, Telephone Support and British Wireless for the Blind services, please complete a referral form for the service you need in the ‘make a referral’ section. If you need to make a self-referral, or if you would like to attend a community project or a coffee event then you can call us on 020 7403 6184 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have any blind or visually impaired employees or trustees?
Yes, we have several visually impaired people working with the charity in staff, volunteer, tutor and trustee roles.
How are Service Users involved?
In 2009 we set up a Service user Reference group which consisted of 15 people, they did excellent work in helping us to develop our services and participating in external focus groups such as helping with signage for visually impaired people in the new St Thomas A&E unit. In 2013 BlindAid started conducting annual audit calls with everyone who uses our services to ask for feedback. In 2014 we also started our Community Projects which accommodate approximately 250 people per year. At this time BlindAid took the decision to close the Service user group as we could gather feedback from a significantly wider group of service users each year via annual audit calls and also talking with people attending our community projects, so each year now we canvas approximately 1,000 people regarding our services.
Do you run any events for your Service Users?
Every year we host our Annual Service to celebrate our work which usually takes place in Central London. We provide transport for our Service Users as well as entertainment and refreshments. This event is always very popular and includes interviews and performances by our Service Users (so far we have had poetry, music and stand up comedy), live music and a high tea. It is a wonderful and uplifting social event that we welcome everyone to attend! We are also running fortnightly coffee events in Southwark and Tower Hamlets, which are wonderful opportunities to socialise and make new friends!
How many people in Inner London are blind or partially sighted?
There are over 53,000 people who are registered blind or partially sighted in the twelve inner London boroughs in which we work. There will be many more people in these Boroughs who are experiencing deteriorating sight but who have not yet registered. As our population generally lives longer there will simply be more of us living with sight loss going forward. Combined with the increasing incidence of obesity and diabetes, this means that without intervention the number of people with sight problems is set to increase dramatically over the next 25 years. .