Today saw the official launch of a partnership between Hounslow Council, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Middlesex Association for the Blind (MAB) at Feltham Assembly Hall.
Published: Wednesday, 11th January 2023
The partnership has secured £500,000 over three years to benefit Hounslow’s blind and partially sighted community. The event featured a mix of speakers and workshops with contributions from key figures involved in the bid, including the newly employed Eye Care Liaison Officers (ECLOs*) and residents from the borough affected directly and indirectly by sight loss.
Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Equalities, Cllr Shivraj Grewal said:
“It was a hugely positive event and a fitting celebration of this exciting partnership, which is based on a real need to provide better services and support to blind and partially sighted people in Hounslow. I’d like to thank our equalities team and partners at RNIB and MAB for working so hard on the bid that secured this important funding.”
RNIB Chief Operating Officer, David Clarke said:
“It’s great to partner with London Borough of Hounslow and Middlesex Association for the Blind, to ensure people with sight loss in Hounslow benefit from a joined up, and holistic pathway of support, from the point of diagnosis and beyond.
“The funding will assist people at a time when they may feel like their world has been turned upside down. ECLOs are an essential part of RNIB’s services and ensure those patients who need help receive tailored support when they need it the most.”
MAB CEO Valerie Hill added:
“We are delighted to be part of such an exciting, innovative partnership that is building an important framework of support for the blind and partially sighted community in Hounslow.
“We look forward to continuing a positive working relationship with London Borough of Hounslow and the RNIB.”
The project is delivering:
- Emotional and practical advice, guidance, and support (including digital training) to 2,500 people per year within the borough
- *Two Eye Care Liaison Officers (ECLOs), who will provide an important bridge between health and social services – along with support and wellbeing to patients throughout the sight loss pathway
- Increased awareness through events, talks and workshops with around 100 planned over the next three years
- An increase in the number of Certificates of Visual Impairment (“CVI”) issued in the borough. These are important in terms of a person receiving rehabilitation, mobility training and assistive devices
The funding also provides a project manager, who will further improve pathways for visually impaired people through work with relevant departments within the Council.
RNIB has been delivering an ECLO service for almost 30 years across the UK with the first ECLO employed in 1994. Approximately 50 percent of RNIB ECLOs have sight loss. ECLOs form part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, which provides practical and emotional support over the phone, face-to-face at many hospital eye clinics, or through online information.