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Galloway’s reduces social isolation amongst visually impaired people with funding from Freemasons

Leader of West Lancashire Freemasons Tony Harrison with partially sighted service users Linda McCann, from Preston, and Laurel Devey from Southport, and Nicola Hanna, Head of Income Generation at Galloway’s are stood smiling at the camera in front of Galloway's and Freemasons banners
Leader of West Lancashire Freemasons Tony Harrison with Linda McCann and Laurel Devey, who are partially sighted, and Nicola Hanna, Head of Income Generation at Galloway’s. Photo taken when the initial grant was awarded.

Galloway's has reduced social isolation amongst people with sight loss by up to 43 per cent during the pandemic, thanks to a two-year grant from West Lancashire Freemasons.

Galloway's has worked tirelessly to ensure blind and partially sighted people across Lancashire and Sefton do not feel forgotten whilst the nation faced intermittent lockdowns.

The team focused on more than 200 people over the age of 50 who were feeling lonely, encouraging them to join Talking Together sessions, where they dial in to chat with their friends, listen to guest speakers and enjoy activities. People with sight loss were also invited to join in the Get Active walks outdoors.

In addition, sight loss advisors carried out almost 1,000 welfare calls and made several doorstep visits to drop off visual aid equipment or offer practical help.

This work was supported by a grant of £57,310 from West Lancashire Freemasons. The grant came through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Stuart Walpole, Community Sight Loss Advisor at Galloway’s, said: “We are really grateful to West Lancashire Freemasons for its generous grant, which has allowed us to make sure blind and partially sighted people aged over 50 who live alone do not feel forgotten about.

“The feedback we had from a sample survey showed that the number of people who felt they now had someone to speak to had gone up by 43 per cent after our support and the number of people who felt they had reasonable access to virtual social groups had jumped up 41 per cent.

“This is really pleasing to hear, knowing that we are making a difference to people’s lives. It is great they are gaining confidence in being able to communicate with others, access support and even go out on our Get Active walks.”

Tony Harrison, the Head of West Lancashire Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Galloway’s carry out this important work during such an isolating time. It is great to see how their work has had an impact in reducing isolation and increasing people’s access to virtual support.”

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