Free counselling and peer support for older people

Looking Forward RNIB Northern Ireland’s free counselling service and peer support programme for older people, aged 60 plus, affected by sight loss.

The service is funded by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme

Let’s talk about it

If you have lost or are losing your sight, you may be worried about how you will cope. Or you may feel depressed about the changes you are facing. Perhaps you are experiencing feelings of sadness, anger or anxiety and this is affecting you on a day to day basis. Or maybe it’s causing you to worry about the future.

During these times, many people find it helpful to talk through their feelings with someone outside their usual circle of family and friends. Our service offers face to face counselling, to help a person get through these times and move on with their life.

About the service

Looking Forward will provide practical and emotional support to blind or partially sighted people (aged 60 plus) thought to be at greatest risk of isolation or exclusion. The service is free to access and will offer a programme of a minimum of six face to face counselling sessions and ongoing peer support to help a person come to terms with losing their sight. 

The service is available throughout Northern Ireland with trained volunteer counsellors based in Belfast, Lisburn, Newry, Armagh, Fermanagh, Omagh and Derry/Londonderry. The Looking Forward Project will work in partnership with: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Good Morning Northern Ireland Network.

Anyone wishing to use this counselling service will be invited to an initial telephone assessment with a trained counsellor to discuss their situation and explore if counselling is the right course of support at this time.

We will receive a self referral, via a friend or health professional, provided you have given your consent of course.

Peer Support

Sometimes it can be helpful to explore ways forward in your life by meeting with someone over a cup of coffee, or within a small group of people in a similar situation. In a supportive setting, it is possible to:

  • Talk about the way you feel
  • Share your experiences with others in similar circumstances
  • Explore what is working for you or how to support you towards making it work
  • Improve and learn ways of dealing with difficult feelings related to sight loss.

Download our Looking Forward booklet:

Contact us

You can get in touch with our Looking Forward counselling service team between 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, by calling 028 9032 9373 or by emailing [email protected]

Other sources of help:

Samaritans, 0845 790 9090

LifeLine, 0808 808 8000

RNIB Helpline, 0303 123 9999

British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 01455 883 300

Good Morning Northern Ireland Network, 028 9075 1070

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