The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) has received over £650,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to extend its family support services.
The funding will be used to transform the service, enabling the charity to provide more support to families who are dealing with the challenges that a diagnosis can bring.
Chief executive of the RSBC, Dr Tom Pey, said: “Together with our partners, we will ensure that many more families receive the life changing support that we deliver every day. Our ambition is that any family with a blind or partially sighted child under 25 living in England and Wales will be able to access the support and services they need from the point of diagnosis. This funding will take us a step closer to achieving that goal.”
The service will provide one-to-one emotional and practical support, including therapeutic interventions and completing benefit applications.
It will be delivered in collaboration with Wales Council of the Blind, North Wales Society for the Blind, Vision Support and Kent Association for the Blind.
The organisations will work with local professionals, including hospital eye clinics, local ophthalmologists and special educational needs staff.
The charity highlighted the case of Charlene and her 12-year-old son Kieran (pictured) who received support from a regional RSBC staff member. Kieran has been gradually losing his sight since early childhood because of a rare genetic eye condition.
Speaking about the support they have received, Charlene said: “Kieran worries a lot about the future, about things like not being independent, or being able to go out socially, work, or own his own home. From day one of Kieran’s diagnosis, we’ve been able to talk about the difficulties we may be facing and have been supported through the highs and lows.”