Charity to lay off support workers as Covid forces restructure

Richard Hanson, co-chairman of trustees at Vision Norfolk

Richard Hanson, co-chairman of trustees at Vision Norfolk - Credit: Vision Norfolk

A charity that helps visually impaired people in Norfolk is set to lay off a number of its staff members after the Covid-19 pandemic forced it into a restructure.

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the charity sector, with shop closures and events restrictions taking huge chunks out of fundraising opportunities.

And this is no different for Vision Norfolk, formerly known as the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, which has recently told a number of staff members that their jobs can no longer be kept.

Richard Hanson, co-chairman of trustees at Vision Norfolk, said: "In common with many charities, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact both in terms of how the people we help access our services and financially.

"Community fundraising activities have largely not been possible and the ability of statutory funders, trust and foundations, and the wider public to donate has been diminished - just as demand for funds and services right across the charitable sector has increased.

"In light of these challenges, we are embarking on a major restructuring to ensure the charity is able to deliver relevant services to visually impaired people in Norfolk in a way that is sustainable for the future."

It will see three "hubs" set up in King's Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth set up for people to access services, but the loss of community support workers who take services to people in need.

Mr Hanson added: "Increasingly our clients tell us that they want to live independent lives, accessing support as they need it, close to where they live.

Most Read

"Regrettably, this restructure will mean that the centralised roles in our community support team will be made redundant.

"We are currently consulting with eight members of that team who are affected.

"We are seeking to offer affected staff alternative positions in the new structure, but unfortunately there will nevertheless be some redundancies - the exact number will not be clear until the consultation period is complete.

"Of course, no-one wants to contemplate redundancies, but the tough financial environment in which all charities are currently operating, coupled with the evolving needs of virtually impaired people in Norfolk, sadly means we have no alternative."