Inspire Award 2022

Specsavers Logo

Sponsored by Specsavers

New for 2022, the Inspire Award is a broad category that is open to applications from organisations which have forged ahead with new ways of working or trailblazed new ideas and initiatives. We invite nominations that demonstrate how you have inspired other members or partners, inspired change or inspired action.

The nominees are:

Henshaws Logo

Henshaws: The CVI Project

Too often we have heard stories of people receiving a sight loss diagnosis and leaving their appointment without the information and support they need; either because they are in shock, or they simply don’t know the right questions to ask at that time. When the questions come, they don’t know where to turn. Over the last 12 months Henshaws has partnered with Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, The Thomas Pocklington Trust and the RNIB to pilot the “The CVI Project.”

This project makes sure visually impaired people don’t sit at home not knowing where to turn and feeling alone. It connects people to help as soon as they are registered with their Certificate of Visual Impairment. We not only call them 6 weeks from this point to offer help, but we also follow up at three, six and twelve months. We are one central point of contact to get people the help they need. Whether that be from Henshaws or other organisations. We listen to people’s worries, needs, and wants and use our specialist knowledge to help. Some of the best feedback we have had is that we have seen people’s confidence and independence increase in a relatively short amount of time. One person told us “I have had wonderful support from all of the organisations that have been in touch and I am really pleased and overwhelmed.”.

Our project and phone calls are helping people get through one of the most distressing times of their lives.

Vision and Hearing Support Logo

Vision and Hearing Support:  Collaboration, evidence and System Change

Vision & Hearing Support has fostered a culture of excellence through sharing, learning and collaborating. Our aim is to design and deliver the best possible services and projects for our beneficiaries and to futureproof our Charity.

We have invested in building strong and relevant relationships with likeminded organisations. This has led to new and innovative projects to benefit people with vision impairment.

We have co-designed a new community based, peer led project in collaboration with Your Voice Counts and Bliss=Ability. Learning from this project will inform approaches to ‘service co-design’, NHS inclusion and access improvements and South Tyneside’s Poverty Truth Commission.

In collaboration with ACTS, Your Voice Counts and Age Gateshead our digital inclusion project helps address digital poverty and increasing cyber-crime. This is contributing to wider local strategies including the NENC Digital Inclusion programme.

A collaboration with NE Visionary members is delivering mental health support across the region and informing the ICS Mental Health Workstream though independent research.

We have delivered a ‘Pre-Frailty, Social Isolation and Loneliness’ Project funded by the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) Integrated Care Board (ICB). This is a collaboration with ACTS, South Tyneside Council and public health and will inform emerging national guidance for anticipatory care for Primary Care Networks.

These collaborations are based upon learning and evidence to improve services and inform wider system changes. The evidence from these projects will be used to pursue better outcomes for people with vision impairment and will be available through the Visionary network.

Sight Advice South Lakes Logo

Sight Advice South Lakes:  Audio Only Computer Games

Audio only computer game research with Lancaster University – Co- production with 5 sight loss organisations.

Lancaster University “Department of Imagination”, approached Sight Advice South Lakes with the proposition of designing the world’s first audio only computer game, using noises rather than speech.

Sight Advice South Lakes thought this excellent research needed collaboration and went in search nationally of visually impaired people who had computer gaming experience.

A research team of visually impaired gamers were recruited. The organisations participating in this co production were, Sight Advice South Lakes, Galloway’s, Sutton Vision, My Sight Notts, Blind Veterans Sheffield.

A workshop in Manchester occurred testing the prototype game. Everyone produced an outline of a new game. Leaving Lancaster University with a huge amount of data to work with.
The game is to be published on the major platform “Steam”.  Dr Joseph Lindley, Lancaster University said.

“The people that SASL helped recruit were exceptionally good natured, friendly, accommodating of our lack of knowledge about the realities of living with sight loss, and they were fully engaged with the topic.

The combination of these factors together was incredibly energising, for our team but also for the potential of the research and has motivated us to pursue this research topic much further. Having the whole group identify with the idea we are exploring, and putting their hearts and souls into helping us understand the problem better, and create new possible directions, was a fantastic demonstration of how bringing diverse voices to any design problem can be transformational.”

West Cumbria Society for the Blind Logo

West Cumbria Society for the Blind:  30 years of volunteer led services

The West Cumbria Society for the blind was established in 1990 with the aim of improving the lives of visually impaired people throughout West Cumbria. During this time it has supported thousands of clients. It has been led by its Chairman Marie Scott who has worked voluntarily full-time for thirty years. In the mid 90’s Marie secured lottery funding which enabled the society to purchase and renovate its current premises in the centre of Whitehaven where it has been a valuable resource for users in the area. The drop-in centre stocks a range of specialist equipment and independent living aids. Visually impaired people have been supported through home support and telephone befriending services.

Over the years many support groups have been formed & social activities arranged by the centre. The centre continues to provide advice and guidance to visually impaired clients and to their families and carers. When social services stopped providing equipment & support over twenty years ago, West Cumbria Society for the Blind stepped-up to fill the need. Transport for the visually impaired was no longer provided. Marie established the resource centre, equipment, and long term support & home visiting for the house-bound and also raised funding to support the visually impaired in the local region.

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