An innovative course that will see people living with sight, hearing or dual sensory loss in Dumfries & Galloway share their experience and knowledge to help those newly diagnosed with similar conditions has received a £25,000 funding boost.


Dumfries-based charity Visibility is one of 26 projects nationwide to benefit from investment from the Self Management Fund, which hopes to transform support and integrated care for people living with long-term conditions in Scotland.


Tailored self-management courses will be run over a number of weeks in each of the four locality areas across the region – Wigtownshire, Stewartry, Nithsdale and Annandale & Eskdale – and not only delivered by those who have a sensory impairment themselves, but actually written and designed by them too.


Lindsay McDowall, service manager, explained:  “The aim of these courses is for people to feel better informed as to how they can cope with their sensory loss and manage a long-term condition.
“By co-producing the course with local people living with sensory loss we will ensure it is developed from their lived experience, rather than from the professional perspective which is the key to the successful delivery of the courses.  This will link them with others in their community living with sensory loss, and give the courses a real local flavour.”

Visibility has 20 volunteer “sensory inspirers” across Dumfries & Galloway who themselves have a sensory impairment.  They have been helping staff to deliver training and talks to community groups and organisations, as well as shadowing home visits and offering their personal insight into what can help.


Lindsay added:  “In the last two years we have been blown away by the willingness and eagerness of people we’re working with to share their experiences and knowledge.  Who better to advise someone on how to overcome the challenges presented by losing their sight or hearing than someone who has already been through it?
“We’re very much going into this with a blank sheet of paper – the content will be informed directly from people based on feedback.  What is delivered in Wigtownshire may be different from the course that runs in Nithsdale, and that will be a result of our sensory inspirers writing and delivering the course to their peers.
“We feel this will make the advice and information given specific and targeted, and in turn profound and far reaching.”

For those hard to reach people who may live a distance from services or find it difficult to attend a self-management course, one-to-one visits will be carried out by Community Workers, offering information, advice and practical support.

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