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North Wales volunteer urges people with sight loss to stay connected during coronavirus

Faye Jones, from Holyhead, is encouraging people with sight loss to stay connected during the coronavirus lockdown by joining RNIB Cymru telephone social groups.

Faye was diagnosed with macular degeneration 12 years ago. Since then she has helped to organise Welsh-language groups for blind and partially sighted people across Wales and believes that they are essential for maintaining emotional wellbeing.

In 2019 Faye received a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister in recognition of her Knit and Natter groups, which bring together sighted volunteers and blind and partially sighted people to knit and socialise.

She also set up a unique initiative on Anglesey, the RNIB Cymru Listening Books Group, which involves people with sight loss meeting up to read and discuss books. At present, both groups are also taking place via telephone.

Faye said: “I am passionate about making sure that people with sight loss in her area do not feel isolated. Staying connected and enjoying good conversation is so important, especially at this difficult time.

“I want people with sight loss across Wales to know they have a place to talk, offer advice, and share funny stories within a friendly and welcoming group.

“Lots of people might be feeling worried or that they are missing social connections during the pandemic. Telephone groups are a wonderful way to build those important social bonds and new friendships.

“We don’t really talk about coronavirus in the group. Our aim is always to have fun and focus on the positive things in life. I always come away from the calls feeling so much better.”

RNIB Cymru offers a range of telephone groups across Wales to suit all ages and interests. To join an RNIB Cymru telephone group or to discuss setting up a new group in your area contact Eleanor Rothwell on 07702821915 or email [email protected]

We are also accepting referrals to our national Talk and Support befriending phone service. Groups run weekly for a period of 6-12 weeks. Apply via the RNIB Helpline 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].