People with sight loss in South Lincolnshire to benefit from £400K grant

Members of South Lincolnshire Blind Society meet at Sandon Close Community Centre, Grantham. Photo: 0261A EMN-141010-161811001
Members of South Lincolnshire Blind Society meet at Sandon Close Community Centre, Grantham. Photo: 0261A EMN-141010-161811001
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A new project which aims to tackle loneliness and improve the quality of life of people with sight loss in South Lincolnshire has been awarded £400,000 by the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant has been awarded following a successful bid from national sight loss charity RNIB for the Optimeyes project which will run across Yorkshire and the Humber and South Lincolnshire. In South Lincolnshire the scheme will be delivered by South Lincolnshire Blind Society which has its headquarters in Finkin Street in Grantham.

The scheme aims to identify older people who are experiencing problems with their vision and refer them on to local health, social and charity services which can provide them with additional support.

The innovative project will be supported by local fire and rescue services as well as other statutory and voluntary organisations. During the two year scheme around 800 staff across these organisations will be trained to use RNIB’s eye screening tool which will detect possible sight loss so that people can then be referred for a thorough eye test or signposted to services in their local area which may be of benefit to them.

Malcolm Swinburn, Chief Executive of South Lincolnshire Blind Society, said; “We are delighted to be working with RNIB and other blind societies to deliver this innovative project. This funding is going to make a huge difference to many people’s lives in the South Lincolnshire area and we cannot wait to get started.”

Philippa Simkiss, Head of Evidence and Service Impact at RNIB, said: “Living with sight loss can have a huge impact on someone’s life and present new challenges on a daily basis. Many older people in particular accept this as an unavoidable part of getting older and don’t realise that there are lots of local services out there which can make a big difference to their lives.

“We’re always looking for new ways in which to reach out and support people who may benefit from these services. The Optimeyes scheme will help us contact thousands of people through an existing home visit scheme, and let them know about the help that’s available to them as well as work with partners to build capacity to offer more local support.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing sight loss, visit www.rnib.org.uk or call the RNIB Helpline 0303 123 9999 to find out more about the range of support that’s available.