What's in a name?
We are proud to share that our charities changed their names on 8 October 2020.
Our new names represent and embrace a new period of change and growth, focusing us on the issue which matters most: tackling the impact of vision loss together.
It has been a big decision to change our names and we know that change can be hard. Our former names served us well over the decades, and formed two charities with proud histories.
It had become clear, however, that our names were barriers to achieving our goals. We needed to address and overcome these barriers to ensure we are able to reach as many people as we can with sight loss across Scotland.
How did we get here?
We asked; we listened.
We knew that we needed to ask for honest opinions and that we had to take our time to consider these opinions.
We asked what you thought of our names through:
- colleague and trustee focus groups and surveys
- interviews with our external partners
- surveys of those we support currently and their families
- the commissioning of external brand perception monitoring - what the public knew of and thought of us.
We heard our colleagues, service users and the public tell us that our names were not right for us today and not right for our future.
Most importantly, we listened to opinions that told us the words 'blind' and 'war blinded' were making it harder for us to reach more people.
What's in a word?
For us the word 'blind' is hugely important and has been part of our name for 227 years. We have found that for many, 'blind' does not cover the wide range of sight conditions that people we support, and those we want to support in the future, have.
We will, now and in the future, be here for those who describe themselves as 'blind'. Our new name does not change this.
Research has shown that, in particular, older people whom we support do not describe themselves as 'blind', but rather describe that they have lost or are losing their sight.
Those newly diagnosed with a sight condition have told us they have found it difficult and scary being referred to a charity for blind people, as they do not see themselves as blind. This is a time when they need our support the most in adapting to life with sight loss.
Is War Blinded right today?
Scottish War Blinded was established to support soldiers returning from World War One with life-changing blindness. We have a proud history supporting veterans. Today, over 98% of those we support have sight loss that is not related to their service.
We know that there are many more military veterans in Scotland who could benefit from what we offer. Those we currently support have told us that our former name made it hard to know we were for them.
They told us that it had to be explained that you didn't need to have been blinded in a war for us to offer support. Many veterans told us they were uncomfortable accepting our support because of our name. We knew this had to change.
Why Sight Scotland?
In our new name, we have found a name and brand which matches our ambition.
We tested a wide range of options for a new name, and our colleagues and service users made a variety of suggestions. We gathered opinions and research which showed us that a new, positive name was the preference amongst those whom we support and work with. The most common response was that 'sight' was the word most identified with.
In changing our name, we're ready. As Sight Scotland we will move forward to tackle sight loss and transform outcomes for all those impacted by sight loss.
Why Sight Scotland Veterans?
It was really important to us that our name reflected that we can support any military veteran, no matter the cause of their sight loss.
We know that for 98% of those we support, sight loss was unrelated to their service and came many years afterwards. We are proud to serve the numbers who sustained sight loss during active service, but to support more veterans, we found our name needed to be less misleading.
We tested a wide range of options for a new name, and the veterans we currently support made numerous suggestions for new names. By far the most common themes in their suggestions were 'sight' or 'sight loss', 'vision' or 'vision loss' and 'veterans'. It was clear from their feedback that these words were more easily identified with than 'war blinded'.
Tackling vision loss together
Our two charities have a unique and powerful relationship.
Our new names strengthen and celebrate this relationship. Both charities share an ambition to reach more and by visualising our unity, we strengthen our collective voices and our reach.
We are two charities with separate finances and constitutions. We continue to share leadership and governance, and will grow our reach together. We are proud of what each charity has achieved with their distinct identities and funding, and celebrate the strength of our common goals.
What this means for you
If you have donated to or plan to support Royal Blind, your donation is safeguarded for the future growth of Sight Scotland.
If you have donated to or plan to support Scottish War Blinded, your donation is safeguarded for services run by Sight Scotland Veterans which are specifically for military veterans with sight loss.
As both charities have separate financial accounts, you can be confident your donation will go to your intended charity of choice and will be used where it is most needed.