Funded by the Big Lottery Fund under the Safe and Well Programme.
From March 2010 through to December 2015, the Lisburn in Focus project set out to transform the City of Lisburn into a model of excellence for its citizens and visitors with sight loss.
Partners in this Big Lottery Safe and Well funded project included Lisburn City Council, Lisburn City Centre Management Ltd and Guide Dogs NI.
Achieving our goals
The project work was guided by five clear goals:
- Supporting blind and partially sighted people to feel secure in their homes Over 200 households received tailored safety information and equipment provided to blind or partially sighted residents.
- Providing safe and clear public spaces and a mobility guidance system A total of 31 React audio navigation units have been installed strategically around Lisburn City Centre. These are supported by two large tactile maps at the Bus Centre and Train Station – known as ‘Maps for All’ - plus handheld Braille and large print maps.
- Ensuring written information in Lisburn is accessible to people with sight loss. Over 140 key services and businesses received advice and training on how to communicate better to customers with sight loss, both verbally and in written communication such as ensuring their websites and documents are accessible.
- Training services and businesses in visual awareness. Just under 7,500 local people who live, work or volunteer in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area received accredited Visual awareness training.
- Promoting social and cultural events to engage people with sight loss. Pre-existing events in the Council area - such as the Gardenshow, Country sports Fair and Mayors Parade - were approached and have provided added accessibility options such as reduced rates for sighted guides and better use of Public Address systems giving information and directional advice.
The project also created over 40 of its own inclusive events and taster sessions to encourage local people with sight loss to try new things or revisit activities they enjoyed in the past.
Project Co-ordinator Claire Patience said, “We have been very fortunate to be supported by BIG Lottery and key organisations such as the Council, Health Trust and Macular Group as well as all the local people who supported the project in many ways such as volunteering their time.
I find it amazing to think that throughout the course of the project we have delivered Visual Awareness Training to so many people. That’s 7,500 people who now feel more confident when communicating with, and providing services to, anyone affected by sight loss.”
A key positive outcome of RNIB’s Lisburn in Focus project was the emergence of a new local social group, Lisburn Outlook, who have achieved charitable status. Members will continue to benefit from many aspects the project team put in place such as a thriving tandem cycling club and the support of the many volunteers who registered under the project and have pledged to support Outlook in the future.
Margaret Mann, Chairperson of Lisburn Outlook who spoke at the event, says, “I know I speak for other blind or partially sighted people who live in the local area, when I say that we will miss the Lisburn in Focus team greatly and I thank Claire and all the team for their dedication and commitment. Our Lisburn Outlook group is going from strength to strength but I would appeal to local blind and partially sighted people to stay involved with activities on in to the future.
I myself have benefited from the work of the project and it is my intention that our Outlook group now thrives for the good of people affected by sight loss who live in the local community.”
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The Lisburn in Focus project has now finished but if you would like to know more about the work of the project, contact RNIB NI in Belfast on:
T:028 9032 9373