Volunteers help signpost to sight loss advice service
Friday, 13 April 2018
A new pilot has launched in the North of England to help raise the profile of the Sight Loss Adviser service with the help of volunteers.
Sight loss advisers (also known as Eye Clinic Liaison Officers or ECLOs) can help people maintain independence while adapting to living with sight loss, but sometimes patients are unaware of their existence.
RNIB’s pilot scheme is aiming to change all that by training 18 volunteers across three hospitals in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.
As well as helping to signpost patients to the service, volunteers will also provide basic information about RNIB’s other services.
Nicola Stanley-Dickinson, RNIB’s Volunteer Co-ordinator and a former sight loss adviser, said the pilot aims to ensure patients are not missed and instead everyone received the emotional and practical support they need.
She added: “Patient footfall in some hospital eye clinics exceeds 15,000 in a six-month period. It is therefore absolutely imperative that RNIB thinks outside of the box.”
Niamh Maguire, volunteer and genetics student at the University of Manchester said: “I have learnt so much about eye conditions in my volunteering role and the support available to people with sight loss, as well as meeting lots of new people.”
RNIB will use the feedback from the volunteer pilot to inform a rollout of the scheme nationally in September of this year.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Connect Magazine.
Would you like to volunteer with RNIB and make a difference to people with sight loss?
Next month, our nationwide event, The Big Connection 2018, will bring together people from across the Connect community. From 31 May to 2 June 2018, get involved in the events and activities happening in your area.