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Sight loss groups join to provide support across region
TEN organisations have come together to ensure thousands of blind and partially-sighted people across York and North Yorkshire get the support and services they need.
The York and North Yorkshire Eye Care Forum (YECF), which held its first quarterly conference yesterday, involves charities and societies including York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, The Wilberforce Trust, Sight Support Ryedale and Selby District Vision.
Organisers hope it will direct people with visual impairments to the body best able to give them help and advise on matters such as benefits or housing issues, employment and education opportunities and dealing with daily tasks.
The first project has been the creation of a leaflet and a website identifying and provide contact details for all ten organisations.
The leaflet is now being distributed widely to local opticians, York Hospital’s eye clinic, other hospital departments, medical practices and organisations such as Age UK and Mind. The website can be visited at www.yecf.org.uk The forum is being spearheaded by Rachel Lintott, rehabilitation services manager of the Wilberforce Trust, and Debbie Wheller, equipment and information centre officer of the York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, which hosted yesterday’s conference.
They hope each organisation can pick up ideas from the others as to how they might improve their own services, but the forum may also be able to campaign and lobby more effectively on issues affecting blind and partially sighted people, such as access to healthcare and medication.
Three working groups are being set up by the forum: a group for service users which will identify needs, an operational group, led by Rachel, working to ensure those needs are put into practice and a third group which will work at a strategic level, headed by Philippa Crowther, chief executive of Wilberforce.
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