How did we develop our strategy?
In developing our strategy for 2019 to 2021, we asked and answered two key questions:
Question 1: What are the key needs and aspirations for blind and partially sighted people?
The UK Vision Strategy developed a universal quality and outcomes framework for blind and partially sighted people. This was called ‘Seeing it my Way’. These outcomes are still relevant today. RNIB produced a report called ‘The future of sight loss in the UK’. This highlights a number of issues and challenges that blind and partially sighted people experience (and are likely to continue to experience in the future) without action. In addition, Welsh Government has produced a national outcomes framework as part of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.
There is considerable overlap across all of these documents. Sight Life will summarise the key needs and aspirations of blind and partially sighted people, for the purpose of this strategy, as:
- Being able to understand and manage conditions that affect their sight;
- Having their basic/essential needs met;
- Having a sense of belonging; including friendship, affiliation and support to/from family;
- Having good self esteem;
- Feeling fulfilled.
Question 2: What difference can Sight Life make to blind and partially sighted people in the next three years?
a) We know that our knowledge of local services ensures people get quick support from the right people. This is particularly relevant to rehabilitation, low vision, home adaptations, benefits/concessions and emotional support. This helps people to to maintain or regain independence. Previous feedback has included comments such as:
“I didn’t know all this was available. I feel like there’s hope now”.
“Whatever problem or issue I have, you always have the right solution”.
“You have definitely made me more independent and given me confidence to do things for myself”.
b) We know that the personality and experience of our staff and volunteers, whose genuine warmth and willingness to want to help builds trust, confidence and a desire to seek support from us and accept support from others. Our ability to provide face-to-face support is particularly important in this aspect. Previous feedback has included comments such as:
“You can tell it’s more than just a job to them”.
“They inspire hope that there’s a life after sight loss”.
c) We are recognised as having an ability to build long-term relationships and a community/family of blind and partially sighted people who support each other. Previous feedback has included comments such as:
“It feels like an extended family”.
“Your groups are a lifeline to me”.
“Being able to speak to others in the same position reassures you that you’re not alone and they often have great advice because they’ve learned lots of great tips to make life easier”.
d) Feedback is that we give people the confidence and inspiration to do more than they thought would be possible. Our new Big Lottery project is transforming people’s ability to continue or try new sport and leisure activities. Previous feedback has included comments such as:
“They manage to do simple things that transform and enrich your life”.
“I am doing 100 per cent more than before. I had no social life and now I attend groups, especially enjoying the exercise group, tandem riding and theatre group. CIB took me to my local leisure centre and I can now access swimming regularly”.
“I was doing nothing before coming to CIB and now I have a new life. I go to clubs and have made lots of new friends and go on holiday regularly with others.”
What Sight Life will focus on during 2019-2022
a) Providing a person-centred service, one that supports people’s holistic needs and empowers them to live independently. We will do this by:
- being locally available (across South Wales),
- understanding local situations and local services and
- being available to give face-to-face advice and support for those that need or want it.
We will also treat people as individuals and give them advice tailored to them, not generic advice.
b) Encouraging and helping people to engage in wider services, so they can understand and manage conditions that affect their sight and ensure their basic/essential needs met.
c) Providing or connecting people to peer support networks for confidence building, sharing of advice and ongoing social contact and emotional support.
d) Inspiring and supporting people to live life to the full and continue doing the activities they enjoy and try things they never thought possible.
In summary, we will be Local, Personal, Connecting and Inspiring.