Connect Award 2022

Vision Foundation Logo

Sponsored by Vision Foundation

The Connect Award is an opportunity to share how you have transformed your services to connect with blind and partially sighted people in new and innovative ways.  This may be through working with others to implement an initiative or service that has strengthened or created new, on the ground local provision for blind and partially sighted people.

This could be an example of where you have worked successfully with another member, your local authority, a statutory or other provider or with a national sight loss organisation.

It could also be that you have transformed the way you connect with blind and partially sighted people in other ways such as through digitalisation.  We want to hear about your innovative transformations and the positive impact on your communities.

The nominees are:

Beacon Centre for the Blind logo.

Beacon Centre for the Blind: Sight Loss Advisory Service

Our integrated assessment pathway provides impartial advice, information and guidance that can have a life-changing impact.

We’ve completed more than 600 referrals in the past year using a person-centred approach that has seen us work with almost 50 external organisations to ensure people impacted by sight loss can access the support that’s right for them.
The organisations and people we have worked with include Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, local authority social services and rehabilitation teams, fire services and other local and national sight loss organisations.  It’s resulted in better outcomes, allowing our community health partners to focus on their clinical care while we focus on other aspects such as lifestyle activities, employment support social care.

It means the whole person is considered regardless of how or where they enter the system for support.  In the words of one beneficiary: “It has helped us realise how much support is available and how little we know.”

Forth Valley Sensory Centre Logo

Forth Valley Sensory Centre:  New Connections

Laura is an ex-commonwealth athlete who is dedicated to creating an inclusive society for everyone with sight loss.

Laura is an amazing role model who works extremely hard to break down barriers for BPS and reverse negative attitudes. She does this by correcting misinformation and helping to reduce stigma. Laura aims to bring about change that will have a lasting impact on how society views and treats those with sight loss by actively demonstrating what inclusivity truly means. By taking her Sight Loss Ambassador role seriously and seeking new ways to engage with isolated BPS individuals from secluded communities, Laura continuously shows her ability and determination to succeed.

Through bravely returning to the labour market and embracing the adaptations required to work effectively, Laura has gained confidence and self-esteem and inspired others. Her caring and compassionate approach to people means that she encourages other blind people to believe in themselves and live more fulfilling lives.

Winning this award would be a tremendous boost for the Centre, by providing additional publicity to help us in raise overall awareness everything beneficial at the Centre. This would help us increase our reach and influence, which in turn could help attract more funding to expand our services, and potentially the role beyond Forth Valley area. Any additional funding this publicity brings will be fed back into the role’s resources to improve our existing resources and the services and roles we hope to implement, such as a Hearing Loss Ambassador for D/deaf and deafblind individuals.

Moorvision and Plymouth Sensory Solutions logos

Moor Vision and Plymouth Sensory Solutions:  Children’s VI Network

Moorvision and Plymouth Sensory Solutions have together formed The Plymouth Children’s VI Network, a professional network of local stakeholders from all aspects of vision impairment support for children and young people aged 0-25 in the Plymouth area.

Moorvision has since continued this work by setting up two identical networks in both Devon and Cornwall using the same model. They have also supported the setup of a similar network in Herefordshire.

The networks include 55 professionals from the statutory and third sector covering eye health, education, careers, habilitation, social care, activity provision, advice, support and advocacy. It also includes young people with vision impairment and parent/carers of children with vision impairment.  RNIB and Guide Dogs are on the Network to keep us informed of national initiatives.

The networks meet regularly to integrate and enhance services, to establish that the needs of this group are met, to reduce inequalities, to improve outcomes and to ensure that these children and young people are able to meet their full potential.

The networks result in these children being able to access well integrated and comprehensive support and we are recording improved levels of education attainment, independent living skills, access to higher education, employment and well-being. The impact on these children and young people is that they have improved skills and confidence.

We plan to support other areas in setting up similar networks by sharing our resources and knowledge including our very successful and adaptable Plymouth Guide Booklet for families of children with vision impairment.

Support 4 Sight Logo

Support 4 Sight: Employment (S4E) Service

Now in its 4th year, this bespoke service has assisted 172 people in Essex to find or retain employment, build knowledge of their rights in the job seeking marketplace and confidence to pursue their ambitions within it. Drawing together best practice from across the nation to produce a package that provides an Enabler Assessment, Pre-Employment Programme plus 1:1 support in job seeking, applying and interviewing, this person-centred service provides bespoke support to meet each individual’s need.

Support 4 Employment’s pre-employment programme, which is largely delivered remotely, is now being rolled out with Visionary partners across the UK, and it is hoped it will provide a model to assist people nationwide to not only realise work opportunities but to build confidence, digital dexterity and independence, whilst raising awareness and changing attitudes amongst employers.


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