Refugee Week 2023: UK sight loss charities make collective offer of support to blind and partially sighted asylum seekers and refugees
This Refugee Week (19 – 25 June) the UK’s leading sight loss charities are working together to provide a combined package of support for blind and partially sighted asylum seekers and refugees arriving in the UK.
Blind Veterans UK, Guide Dogs, Macular Society, Retina UK, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Thomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary have worked together to ensure a holistic range of services can all be accessed by calling one helpline, which is provided by RNIB.
According to The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) statistics, as of November 2022 there were 231,597 refugees, 127,421 pending asylum cases and 5,483 stateless persons in the UK[i].
By calling the helpline blind and partially sighted refugees can access:
- Advice and information
- Emotional support
- Sight loss awareness e-learning training
- Access to support and services; free eye tests, employment support, money, benefits and finance, support for children and young people, assistive technology and useful products
- Free specialist equipment
- Advice on assistance dog welfare
- Community connection locally and online
- Connection with any local sight loss organisations in the area.
Interpreters will be on hand to support when required.
Blind and partially sighted refugees, their family, or those supporting them, can call RNIB’s helpline on 0303 123 9999 between 8am – 8pm on weekdays and 9am – 1pm on Saturdays.
Matt Stringer, RNIB’s Chief Executive said: “As a group of charities, we provide a wide range of support and services for blind and partially sighted people. We’re here for everyone with sight loss living in the UK and we want to make sure that blind and partially sighted asylum seekers and refugees know that there’s support available if they need it when they move to the UK.
“Starting a new life, in a new country, can be a scary and isolating experience and heighted if you also live with sight loss. It’s crucial that blind and partially sighted refugees and asylum seekers know that these resources are available and know how to access them if needs be.”
The charities are urging asylum seekers and refugees with sight loss, their friends, family, associated charities or healthcare providers to contact the helpline on 0303 123 9999 to start their support journey today.
[i] Source: https://www.unhcr.org/uk/asylum-in-the-uk.html
Notes to editors
About the Vision Impairment (VI) Charity Sector Partnership
Eight of the leading charities in the sight loss sector form the Vision Impairment (VI) Charity Sector Partnership. The aim of this partnership is to provide strategic overview of initiatives that will lead to improving the lives of blind and partially sighted people and those at risk of sight loss across the UK. The founding partners are: Blind Veterans UK, Glaucoma UK, Guide Dogs, Macular Society, Retina UK, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Thomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary.