Covid-19: Five ways RNIB services can help

RNIB’s services are needed more than ever in these uncertain times. Our teams are working hard and we aim to increase our support for blind and partially sighted people over the coming weeks. 

As the situation regarding coronavirus changes, information is vital and we are working to ensure blind and partially sighted people are kept informed and have access to help.

It is a fast-evolving situation and we are ramping up our support networks and capabilities. We urge anyone in our community who needs help to call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999.  

Matt Stringer, CEO of RNIB, said:

We know that RNIB’s services are a lifeline to potentially quarantined people. The safety of our customers, employees, volunteers and people in our establishments is paramount, but we continue to support delivery of critical services to our customers – from our Helpline to ECLOs. In addition to the usual advice and support about anything to do with living with sight loss, our team will offer further support to anyone with sight loss who becomes isolated or is concerned about accessing information, products or services, and over the coming weeks we will increase that support to the blind and partially sighted community.”

 

Five key ways RNIB is offering help and support 

1. Our Helpline is open 

RNIB’s Helpline remains open on weekdays (from 8am-8pm) and, from 1 September 2020, on Saturdays (9am-1pm). Staff will be working from home in order to support our customers over coming weeks and, in addition to the usual advice and support about anything to do with living with sight loss, our team can offer further support to anyone with sight loss who becomes isolated or is concerned about accessing information, products or services.

Our team of advisers will help to connect people to sources of local support and find solutions with anyone who calls us. Not all the information about COVID-19 is accessible so we are working with public information providers to ensure information is accessible, including image descriptions online. If anyone is finding it challenging to access key information, we can help.
 
You can call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

2. More opportunities to connect online or by phone

As people are spending more time at home, we're offering more opportunities to connect with others via telephone and online; please contact the RNIB Helpline to sign up. You can also join our popular regional Facebook groups where many people are sharing local information, useful hints and tips and interesting things they have been up to.  

3. Supporting hospital eye care services

As hospital eye care services are affected, our Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) service will be mostly delivered by telephone, so eye clinic patients can continue to access practical and emotional support. We are working with several other organisations, including the NHS and other charities, to focus our support where it is needed most.

4. Our products are available online

RNIB’s Online Shop remains open and you can continue to shop our large range of products designed to support people living with sight loss.

5. Borrow more books

You can borrow CDs, which are compatible with CD players that play MP3 audio files, or USBs from our Talking Books Service. Our CD production is faster so you may prefer to choose CDs to get your books more easily during this period. To start reading straight away, visit our new RNIB Reading Services online library and access books in audio and ebraille formats which can be downloaded directly to your device.

Over the coming months we may experience some production and delivery issues, but we’ll continue to try and get books to you as soon as we can. In anticipation, we would encourage as many customers as possible to receive books through our new RNIB Reading Services online library.