We’re supporting our community to ensure everyone affected by sight loss gets up-to-date information, practical support and care.

We know it's such a challenging time for everyone right now. But we'll tackle this together.

Resources and advice 

 

Coronavirus and living with visual impairment

The lockdown and social distancing has been a particularly difficult time for many people with visual impairment. For a person who is blind or partially sighted it can be difficult or impossible to be aware of your distance from someone else, negotiate a one-way system in a shop, or know which seats you can use on public transport. 

People who use our services have told us what this experience has been like for them.  

 

FAQs

We’ve been talking to lots of people in our community about the challenges of living with a visual impairment during the Covid-19 pandemic. We're sharing answers to the questions that have come up most regularly.

 

Our campaigning work during the pandemic 

Sight Scotland's policy team has been working to highlight how people with visual impairment have been affected during the pandemic in the Scottish Parliament. These are submissions to the parliament’s committees which raise a number of important issues:

Equality & Human Rights Committee: Covid-19 inquiry

11 June 2020 - People living with visual impairment have been significantly and disproportionately affected by the virus and the response to it. Our submission calls for urgent action to address the difficulties blind and partially sighted people have faced accessing supermarkets and food deliveries. We also call for a public awareness campaign on the challenges for people with sight loss with physical distancing and set out the implications in areas including transport, education and care.

Covid-19 Committee Inquiry

22 May 2020 - Our submission focuses on three questions the Committee set out in its call for evidence. We have outlined several impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic for blind and partially sighted people and highlighted three key priorities: visual impairment impact assessments on easing restrictions, conducted in consultation with blind and partially sighted people; the need for public health information to be available in accessible formats; and a public awareness campaign on visual impairment and social distancing.

Education & Skills Committee: Vulnerable Children

24 April - Royal Blind welcomes the decision of the Education and Skills Committee to prioritise the wellbing of vulnerable children and young people during the Coronavirus outbreak as one immediate focus for its work. We have focused on three areas identified as being of concern for vulnerable children: access to food; the level of provision for children and young people with ciplex additional support needs; and contact and support received by children with additional support needs not attending school or childcare hubs.

 

Care and treatment for visual impairments 

Read up-to-date information about treatments, care and coronavirus. We have created a number of useful online resources to support people with sight loss through this time.

Treatments and care for sight loss during the pandemic.

Our urgent appeal 

The coronavirus crisis has placed huge strain on our services. We have continued to tirelessly provide care and support throughout the crisis to those who need us most.

We don’t want anyone in our community to feel alone during this crisis. And that means we need your support.

We’re expanding our services, and adapting them so we can support more people to adapt to the challenges of sight loss during the pandemic.

At the onset of the pandemic we launched an urgent appeal. We know that coronavirus has placed a huge strain on everyone, and so we are more grateful than ever to have received this support.

Will you help us be there for more people by making a donation?

How we are adapting our support during the crisis

Across our services we have worked hard to keep colleagues and those we care and support safe and well.

Right now, our team are continuing to support people with sight loss to live well. Many of our services have had to take the difficult decision to change the way we operate, or have had to close to new enquiries to safeguard those we currently support. 

Keeping our community safe and well

Our priorities have been:

  • Ensuring we have the right resources to support our colleagues and to keep our services open and running safely, in order to maintain the wellbeing of those to whom we provide care.
  • Working closely with decision makers at local and national level to ensure the government understands the challenges specifically faced by those with sight loss.
  • Looking at new ways to work to support those with sight loss with practical help and support, accurate information and ways to connect.

Thank you

We would like to say a very public thank you to our colleagues who continue to work tirelessly to provide an exceptional quality of care and support in very difficult circumstances.

We are grateful for the sustained commitment and dedication of our teams who have kept those we support safe and well. 

We would also like to thank the families and local communities that have supported our homes over the last few months. Our homes have received donations, gifts and messages of acknowledgement which have motivated our teams through these challenging months. This kindness and generosity has been greatly appreciated.

How our services are responding

Our school re-opened its doors on August 19th to all day pupils, respite pupils and residential pupils. 

We have clear standard operating procedures, and are maintaining strict infection control and social distancing measures (where possible) in line with Public Health guidance to keep our pupils and staff safe and well.  

We want all pupils to access vital learning, education and support here in school, especially during these uncertain times.  

We will continue to liaise with parents and carers in order to keep everyone up to date.  

Our learning outreach programme has continued in line with the localised restrictions in the areas we work in.

The care and safety of our residents and colleagues is our priority, particularly as we know our older residents are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society. 

Information for families

We understand that is this a upsetting time for families separated from their loved ones. Their care and wellbeing is our upmost focus. 

Please be assured that we also know the importance of maintaining family connection for our residents’ happiness and mental health and will endeavour to facilitate visits when we can. 

We have had to pause visits as localised restrictions have been imposed. As always, we are exceptionally grateful for your patience and support. This hub has the latest information across our homes. We will continue to update as restrictions change to act swiftly to safeguard our residents' care.

Information on new enquiries

We have clear standard operating procedures, and are maintaining strict infection control and social distancing measures in line with Public Health guidance to keep our residents safe and well. 

We are currently not able to welcome new residents into our homes. To be informed of when this changes, and if you would like to hear more about the care we offer, please get in contact

 

Our Kidscene after school child care service reopened in August, and spaces are available for new families.

The service reopened on Wednesday 12 August, as Edinburgh schools reopened.

Kidscene caters for children with and without disabilities between the ages of 5-16. We are based in the Morningside area of Edinburgh and have access to excellent facilities including a swimming pool, sensory garden and multi-use games area.

We welcome children of all abilities and priority places are available for children with visual impairment.

We currently have spaces available for children, so please get in touch if you need childcare.

To enquire:

  • Call:    0131 446 3136

  • Email: kidscene@sightscotland.org.uk

Following government advice that essential services should remain open, the Scottish Braille Press has continued to operate throughout the crisis with a range of measures in place to keep our colleagues safe. 

The Scottish Braille Press is a supplier of financial services. We provide accessible materials for vision impaired people in braille, large print and audio to many essential organisations, such as banks. In these unprecedented times, it is vital that blind and partially sighted people continue to receive their correspondence in a format that they can access.

If you are a client, or have any questions get in touch.