We’re delighted to have recently been awarded funding from the Herefordshire Community Fund to launch a Herefordshire Family Outreach programme aimed to support visually impaired children, young people, and parent carers.
This project was initially launched by LOOK in 2016. LOOK’s director Charlotte Carson, who is herself severely sight impaired, had relocated to Hereford in 2015. Having lost her sight at the age of seven, Charlotte was determined that no blind or partially sighted child should have to experience the difficulties that she and her family had faced. She knew that LOOK could make a difference in the county and that establishing a supportive community locally was key to improving the lives of VI children.
The pandemic and a lack of funding in 2020 resulted in LOOK having to press pause on their local, face-to-face offer, as the charity turned its focus to providing online events to a national community. LOOK’s online services and events were hugely successful, reaching hundreds of children, young people, and their families in need. However, over the last 12 months it has become more evident that what our community now needs is in-person support, social opportunities and connection.
“My daughter lost her sight during lockdown, which was a huge blow to us all, she’s 9 years old and we’ve never met another family with a visually impaired child before. We are desperate to meet other people who have been through what we have been through. It’s so good for my daughter to know that she is not the only one with sight problems and I want her to have some VI friends and to see some VI role models. I know my daughter can do anything, she’s just going to have to do it a bit differently with some extra support.”
In Herefordshire there are approximately 100 visually impaired children and young people from birth to age 25 registered in the county.
As part of our Herefordshire Family Outreach Project, we will offer a free youth club connecting VI young people and children together in the county, hosting events with guest speakers and fun activity leaders; a free Parent Carer support group offering advice, support and resources, and a schools workshop programme aiming to break down barriers for visually impaired children in schools, boosting inclusion and the mental health of the VI student. Our Professionals Network will aim to improve the support offer to families, children, and young people, and our workshop facilitation training and volunteering opportunities will boost the employability of young VI adults.
Our youth club and parent support group launches this October. Please get in touch if you live in Herefordshire and you’re:
- A visually impaired young person aged 5 -11 or 13 -18 and you’d like to find out more about our youth club and activities.…
- A parent carer to a visually impaired child.
- A visually impaired young adult, interested in learning new skills and volunteering at our events.