A Sandwell organisation which offers much-needed services to visually impaired people in the borough has been awarded a council grant to buy computer equipment to improve its work.
The Sandwell Visually Impaired group offers services to an estimated 1,400 registered visually impaired people in the borough to help them live independent lives.
SVI spokesperson Sandra Troth said: “We respond to the needs of anyone who is affected by sight loss and seek to support them to overcome issues and concerns, encouraging and supporting them to live the life of their choosing.
“We help those who are recently diagnosed to access services and acquire coping skills, as well as providing on going peer support and a range of services to longer term blind and visually impaired people.”
Now the group has been given a £1,000 town grant from Sandwell to increase its ability for volunteer workers to work alongside paid staff. “We will now seek volunteers and work with local colleges and specialist providers to offer short work-placement opportunities for visually impaired students,” said Sandra, a development officer with SVI.
“The grant will enable us to purchase up-to-date equipment and we will install accessibility software so that the new computer is equally accessible to sighted and visually impaired people alike,” she said.
“The large monitor will make it easier for partially sighted helpers to use and the audio equipment will make audio typing easier for writing up minutes and letters,” she added.
A new reliable computer would enable the members to produce newsletters, leaflets and flyers.
Councillor Ann Shackleton, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for social care, said: “This organisation does such a great job for visually impaired people and I am very pleased that the council has been able to support them with a grant.
“I would also like to thank Councillor Shirley Hosell for her continued support for this group.”
Deputy council leader Councillor Syeda Khatun said: “I was very pleased to hear that the grant from the council will lead to an improvement to services at SVI to support the excellent work they do.”