FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 19 June 2009
SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye campaign makes the semi-final of the National Lottery Awards
People with learning disabilities have been getting better eye care for the last 3 years, thanks to SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign. Your vote for the project in the National Lottery Awards could help take SeeAbility through to the final.
There are around 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability, and 1 in 3 have a sight problem. Many of these people do not know they have a problem and may not be able to tell anyone. The innovative eye 2 eye Campaign created and run by SeeAbility, formerly, the Royal School for the Blind, works to improve the eye health and vision of people with learning disabilities across the UK.
Optometrist Ron Paxton has been involved in the project from the start. He says, “Too often, because something is ‘too hard’ the problem gets left behind; ever hopeful that another good soul will answer the call for help. SeeAbility has taken on this difficult problem and has started to achieve real results for people with learning disabilities.”
Lottery funding is vital in enabling the eye 2 eye Campaign to reach people. . eye 2 eye Development Officer Stephen Kill is funded through a Lottery grant to work directly with people with learning disabilities. He says, “There is a lot of preparation needed for someone with learning disabilities to receive an effective eye test. They need to understand what’s going to happen and feel comfortable.”
Family carer Audrey Neate says, “My son has been accepted into the Royal National College for the Blind. This would not have happened without an accurate measure of his visual problems. SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye work is raising awareness in a big way amongst people who care for people with learning disabilities. Carers are now more able to spot if a person might have a visual problem and take action to help the person make the most of their sight.”
David Scott-Ralphs, Chief Executive of SeeAbility says, “We’re delighted to have reached the final of The National Lottery Awards. Lottery funding has helped SeeAbility to extend our eye 2 eye work, enabling us to improve eyecare for more people who have learning disabilities. We’re really hoping the public get behind us and vote.”
Stephen also raises awareness of the importance of regular eye tests to prevent people with learning disabilities from losing their sight unnecessarily. Ron, 58, already had poor vision in one eye when it was noticed he was having trouble with the other one. Stephen supported him through treatment to have a cataract removed. Ron is now confident about getting around and is enjoying his life.
Stephen says “I love my job – it is immensely rewarding to help people with learning disabilities make the most of their sight.”
SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye project is competing in the Best Health Project category. Voting takes place between the 22nd June and the 10th July. To register your vote for the project go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards, phone 0844 686 7110 or go direct to the SeeAbility website www.seeability.org. If the project gets to the final it will have the opportunity to be on the Saturday night National Lottery Show and tell the nation about the importance of this work.
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Issued by SeeAbility, for further information please contact:
Monica Cornforth on 020 8997 1261 or 07811 147 192
Case studies are available.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- SeeAbility is the operating name for The Royal School for the Blind, a national charity which has for over 200 years provided support for people who are blind or partially sighted and have additional disabilities.
- SeeAbility currently provides a range of services in; Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, East Sussex, Hampshire, Humberside, London, Sheffield, Somerset, Surrey and West Sussex.
- SeeAbility offers a wide range of specialised residential, community and rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment and additional disabilities. Our aim is to provide each individual with the support they need to develop essential life skills for greater independence and a fulfilling life.
- SeeAbility’s eye 2 eye Campaign, a community-based initiative, is improving eye care and vision for people with a learning disability.
- Look-Up www.lookupinfo.org provides information and advice on eye care and vision for people with learning disabilities.
- SeeAbility’s Central Office is based in Epsom, Surrey. For further information call 01372 755000 or visit www.seeability.org