Services for visually impaired adults in Northamptonshire under threat
Northamptonshire County Council has launched a consultation on whether to decommission its services for visually impaired adults that are currently provided by Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB) – or to provide them another way.
NAB has received funding from the Council for many years and uses that to help provide a whole range of services that help the most vulnerable visually impaired people overcome the emotional trauma of sight loss, maintain a positive outlook on life and retain personal independence.
More than 3,000 people use NAB’s services a year and our team of skilled Community Support Workers make about 1000 home visits – taking our service into people’s homes when transport is a significant issue. There is an estimated 20,000 people in the county living with a significant degree of sight loss.
Alex Lohman, NAB’s CEO, said:
“In cash terms what the council seems to be talking about is ending a contract that costs them £50,000; small beer to a council that spends hundreds of millions a year, but for us it’s a sizeable chunk of the cost of providing our community-based services for visually impaired adults.
Although NCC are considering ending, or providing another way, the services for visually impaired adults the charity provides on their behalf, this is a consultation and what’s important is that as many people as possible take part and make their views clear.
I’d also like to stress that we are working really hard behind the scenes to convince the council that ending this service would be a cut too far.”
The consultation can be found here:
The NAB service helps vulnerable blind and partially sighted individuals of all ages, and their carers, come to terms with their sight loss and overcome the challenges it represents so that they can maintain independent, active and healthy lives for as long as possible.
We provide information, advice and support to over 3,000 people a year and:
- receive 600 to 800 referrals a year
- make around 1,000 home visits a year
- run 20+ social, interest and activity groups around the county
And of the 6-800 people who contact each year asking for our support:
- 7 out of 10 were struggling to come to terms with their sight loss and its impact on their life, a quarter of whom suffering from depression.
- 7 out of 10 were struggling with isolation, loneliness and inactivity
- 6 out of 10 were experiencing difficulty completing essential daily living tasks in and around the home and at risk of losing the ability to live independently
- 4 out of 10 needed help obtaining a service they needed, primarily health, social care and housing services and, for younger VIP, education and careers advice.
- 3 out of 10 needed help ‘fighting their corner’ – due in part to a lack of awareness, on the part of the service providers they were dealing with, of the impact their sight loss had had.
- 2 out of 10 were unaware that they could claim and benefit or allowance or that they had good reason to appeal an award.
- 2 out of 10 were struggling to maintain an adequate, healthy diet.
Our team of specialist staff and volunteers then work with them to help them overcome the challenges they are facing, referring into other agencies as appropriate.
For more information on this story please contact Rhian Williams 07941908848.