Sight Loss Councils to be launched in Scotland

A group of charities, in partnership with the Thomas Pocklington Trust, are supporting the introduction of the groups to Scotland for the first time

A group of people sit around a table engaged in a discussion. In the background are bookshelves, desks and seating areas

A network of charities will launch Sight Loss Councils (SLC) in Scotland for the first time.

Sight Scotland, Sight Scotland Veterans and Visibility Scotland are launching the new SLCs, in partnership with the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

SLCs are run by blind and partially sighted volunteers who meet monthly to discuss accessibility issues and plan regional projects.

The launch builds on the success of the format in England, where 20 SLCs currently operate, and will be the first time that SLCs will exist in Scotland.


Sight Loss Councils currently run in England

The charities plan to begin recruiting volunteers in 2024, starting with the Central Belt.

Emma Hughes, director of services at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are a tried and tested model designed to create positive change for others.”

“This partnership builds on the success of Sight Loss Councils in England to amplify the voice of more blind and partially sighted people across Scotland,” Hughes added.

Sight loss in Scotland

An estimated 180,000 people living in Scotland are blind or partially sighted


The priorities of an SLC will depend on the needs reflected in the local area.

This can include projects around accessible transport and streets, to support safe independent travel, along with increasing the accessibility of healthcare, museums, and galleries, as well as sports, leisure and shopping facilities.

Reflecting on the work of the partners to bring SLCs to Scotland, Craig Spalding, chief executive of Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland veterans, commented: “It is a fantastic opportunity to amplify the voice of those with lived experience in Scotland, making vision loss the priority it needs to be in Scotland.”

Laura Walker, CEO of Visibility Scotland, described the move as “an exciting new opportunity to provide a safe platform for people’s voices to be shared, listened to and acted upon.”