Galloway’s is working to reduce loneliness amongst blind and visually impaired people across Lancashire and Sefton through its adapted outreach work during lockdown.
Following funding from West Lancashire Freemasons last year, Galloway’s has recruited an Outreach Sight Loss Advisor to offer tailored support to blind and partially sighted people who are aged over 50 and are feeling isolated.
The initial role involved working from a variety of community venues and attending external events, but under lockdown rules, it has been adapted to support people through new virtual platforms.
This has included setting up Talking Together, which allows people with sight loss to dial into a teleconferencing system to chat with their friends. There are guest speakers and activities such as quizzes or bingo.
In addition, sight loss advisors are making regular welfare calls.
The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Caroline Cameron, Outreach Sight Loss Advisor, said: “We are really grateful to West Lancashire Freemasons for its generous grant, which has allowed us to set up our Talking Together project to keep people connected during the lockdown period.
“We recognise not everyone has access to the internet, so we are offering a simple way for people to connect that doesn’t require anything other than dialling a number. We also have the potential to open it out to people with sight loss in other areas of the country.
“We are still doing welfare calls, offering practical and emotional support.
“We know there are people living on their own over the age of 50, so this is our way of helping people feel less isolated.”
Tony Harrison, the Head of West Lancashire Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Galloway’s with its hugely important work. We understand how difficult living with sight loss can be, and it’s much worse if you’re socially isolated. This is a great project which we are happy to support.”
For more information on West Lancashire Freemasons, visit www.westlancsfreemasons.org.uk