Located in the centre of Barrow-in-Furness the newly opened Vision Support Centre provides a drop-in centre where a variety of services are provided. Information and advice can be gained from trained staff who are able to demonstrate a variety of daily living aids, lights, magnifiers and other specialist equipment.
We also have a seated area where visitors are encouraged to stop for a chat and share a cuppa. Perhaps we can tell you about all the activities going on in the area for visually impaired people and their families.
If you would like to talk privately with one of our Vision Support Officers we also have a quiet room for this.
The Vision Support Team
Our team consists of four Vision Support Officers. We visit visually impaired people in Barrow and the surrounding areas as far as Coniston, Waberthwaite and Grange-over-sands.
We offer practical advice on lighting and low vision aids, such as Magnifiers, Talking Book Machines, Talking Watches and Clocks. We can also offer information and assistance regarding technical equipment.
We provide information about benefits and complete benefit forms including personal independence payment, attendance allowance and universal credit.
The team also assess for any other support needed and refer accordingly to other agencies.
Our aim is to help visually impaired people to lead an independent lifestyle.
Low Vision Clinics
The South Cumbria Low Vision Service is a service that helps assess someone’s remaining vision, provides guidance on magnification and lighting, and provides support and training to help maintain independence.
We understand how frightening and frustrating sight of loss can be for not only the individual, but also for their family and friends.
Once a month, clinics are held at the Grange Clinic in Grange-over-Sands and at the Vision Support Centre every second Monday. These clinics are found to be very useful and the Low Vision Team is on hand to answer any questions you may have and can provide some free equipment.
For more information on the Low Vision Service please get in touch with us.
A team of volunteers select and record a selection of news items from around the area that is then distributed via CDs every fortnight.
If you would like to be added to the free distribution please get in touch.
In addition “Grange NOW” is also available for anyone who wants to read the latest news.
Sight loss affects many people as well as family members, friends and carers. If you would like support over the phone then please get in touch with us during office hours.
There are times when we all need someone to talk to about a problem, gain advice or simply to stay in touch, our experienced staff are there to ensure visually impaired people and their families have that support.
There are many benefits that can be available for visually impaired people but the whole process of applying can seem daunting and complex. Our Vision Support Team can provide specialist knowledge to help someone complete application forms, undergo reviews/appeals and generally understand the processes involved.
We would encourage everyone to ask for a benefits review.
Quite often people are surprised by the level of benefits/ allowances open to them. If you would like support with benefits/ allowances please get in touch with us.
Daily Living Support
We all want to remain independent and when someone experiences sight loss for the first time this can cause difficulties at home but there are many simple aids that can remove obstacles. However, quite often people are not aware of what is available.
Whether through a visit from one of our Vision Support Officers or by dropping into the Vision Support Centre we can demonstrate a variety of aids and equipment that can help maintain independence.
The range of equipment includes:
- Wrap around glasses
- Watches and clocks
- Kitchen aids and microwaves
- Diaries and calendars
- Big button telephones
- Mobile phones
Support with Computers
Many people can be put off with the mention of ‘computers’ but recent developments have made more technology user friendly for people who have sight difficulties. We have a range of equipment on display and can demonstrate their use so that you can find out what best suits you.
A volunteer from the Society is on hand to provide tuition and assistance with computers and specialist software for vision impaired people.
The pace of technology is so fast these days but this is providing some great innovations to help people with all degrees of sight loss.
We also have a range of Amazon Alexa products.
Children and Young People Support
We provide support for people of all ages and provide a series of activities specifically for visually impaired children and young people. Emotional support and practical daily living advice is available for 0-18`s, families and carers.
Eye Clinic Support
We have a professional Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, Anji Hannen and a volunteer Officer, Paul Ogden, who work at Furness General Hospital to enhance the care for people with sight problems.
They provide emotional support, practical advice, impartial information, guidance and advocacy to people of all ages affected by sight loss.
Based in the eye clinic on level 4 they provide eye health information on a range of topics to patients, family members and others in conjunction with other practitioners.
One of the main aims is to empower blind and sight impaired people by carrying out an initial need assessment, so that people can prioritise their own needs and aspirations.
They also offer support to facilitate access to appropriate services that will meet those needs from other agencies and work closely with all the Vision Support staff.
Social and Leisure Activities
Are you interested in keeping active, making new friends, and taking part in some fun activities on a regular basis? We provide a range of social clubs as follows:
- Barrow Social Club. Every Monday 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Held in Barrow.
- Craft class. Every Tuesday 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Held at Vision Support Centre, Barrow.
- Men’s Club. Every first Wednesday of the month 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Held at Vision Support Centre, Barrow.
- Thursday Bingo. Every Thursday 2.00pm to 4.30pm. Held at Station View, Holker Street, Barrow.
- Ulverston Group meet 1.30 – 3.30 at Ulverston Methodist Church, Neville Street, Ulverston.
- Grange Club. Every first Wednesday of the month 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Held in Grange-
- Millom Club. Every Friday 1.00pm to 3.00pm. Held in Millom.
- Macular Meeting. Every third Monday of the month 1.00pm to 3.00pm. Held in Barrow.
- Dual Sensory Loss Group (sight and hearing) meet on the last Monday of each month 1.30 – 3.00 at Vision Support Centre, Barrow.
- Macular/ Charles Bonnet Group next meet on 23 October 1.00 – 3.00 at Ulverston Methodist Church.
- Summer Trips take place in July.
- Every December a number of Christmas parties take place all around our area.
For further information regarding any of these clubs/meetings please get in touch or Email Emillie. firstname.lastname@example.org
Having a visual impairment doesn’t mean that all activities are inaccessible.
At our Society we are proud to support people to help them enjoy a variety of adventurous activities. If you are interested in getting active, please get in touch.
Here are a few examples of the activities available for our members:
- Rock climbing
- High wire courses
- Horse riding
- Blind football
- Tandem Cycling
There are a variety of books available in audio format and these are recorded by RNIB and Calibre.
The Society assists with the provision of this service from RNIB and if you are interested in receiving books in this format please contact us.
Our Society has a whole host of regular events throughout the year and we also have some ad hoc events.
A list of dates for up coming events are here.