Trio of new hubs for visually impaired people creates 'one stop shop'

Richard Hudson and the Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, co-chairs of Vision Norfolk.

Richard Hudson and the Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, co-chairs of Vision Norfolk. - Credit: Vision Norfolk

A leading charity supporting those with visual impairments in Norfolk says the opening of three new hubs has created a "one stop shop" for its services. 

Vision Norfolk held its  214th annual meeting online, with lead members detailing how 2020 was a year of modernisation and restructuring to make the charity "fit for the future".

To deliver services in the community the Norwich-based charity has developed three new multi-service local ‘hubs’ in King’s Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth to create a "one stop shop" to access all its services.

The Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, co-chairman of trustees, who is blind, said: “These hubs will help us become more agile, signposting people towards where they can find help and support.

“They will help visually impaired people lead independent lives, dipping in and out of our services as they need them.”

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As part of the pandemic, the Rev Stokes worked to highlight the difficulties of the challenges faced by visually impaired people to maintain two metres social distance.

In its annual report, the charity said some had experienced aggression from those with sight after inadvertently straying into their personal space.

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To combat this, the charity worked with shops and businesses on offering support safely and without taking away people's independence.

Lady Philippa Dannatt MBE, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and a vice-president of the charity, said the changes made over the past year were designed to deliver “what visually impaired people need, rather than what we think should be delivered to them”.

She said: “It is particularly important that Vision Norfolk becomes better at supporting people in their own homes to live independent lives – this is increasingly what they aspire to do.

“It is vital that the charity is able to enable them to do this, as well as remaining economically active – a key factor in being independent.”

Lady Dannatt paid tribute to the way the charity had stepped up to provide support during the pandemic, calling volunteers "inspirational".

Chief executive Gina Dormer said changes ensured the charity met the needs of those living with sight loss in Norfolk.

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