Funding Boost For People Living With Sensory Loss In D&G

People living with sight or hearing sensory loss in Dumfries and Galloway will have the chance to try the latest hi-tech equipment at home free of charge, thanks to a £3,000 donation from the Winifred Kennedy Trust.


Visibility, based at Nithbank in Dumfries, is one of Scotland’s oldest charities and supports people living with sight or hearing loss across Dumfries & Galloway.  Its successful ‘Try Before You Buy’ scheme launched three years ago, with hundreds of local people getting the opportunity to be introduced to a range of specialist and accessible equipment, including tablets, smartphones, electronic magnifiers, handheld GPS devices and hearing aid interfaces.


The funding from Winifred Kennedy Trust will enable the charity to update its range of equipment available to the public.


Lindsay McDowall, Service Manager for the project, said:  “Technology can move so fast, it’s really important that we can keep our finger on the pulse and make people aware of the range of equipment out there that can make their lives a little bit easier.  Some of the items of kit we demonstrate and loan out can cost up to £1,500, which can be a huge investment – especially when you consider that many people with sight or hearing loss will either be retired or trying to support themselves and their family on benefits.
“We’ve also found that people will often buy niche pieces of equipment, and discover they aren’t as much use as they had hoped, or they aren’t shown how to use it properly so it sits in a drawer and is forgotten about.  Our initiative has been incredibly popular, with just under half of the people we work with taking advantage of the opportunity to try new equipment in their own home.”


Lindsay added:  “These pieces of equipment are designed to help people in their day to day lives.  Learning how to use an iPad, for example, can allow someone with a visual impairment to stay in touch friends and family or do their shopping online.  There is an app for just about anything and using one can really help retain independence and grow confidence.  Staff from the project will deliver the item to the person’s home, provide guidance on how to use it, and offer follow up support before returning to collect the item.”


Iain Howie, a trustee of the Winifred Kennedy Trust, said:  “The Trust was really keen to support this project.  We hope that the donation will help people living with sight or hearing loss in Dumfries & Galloway to learn about the benefits of embracing newer technology and learn new skills.”


Lindsay added:  “Visibility is extremely grateful to the Winifred Kennedy Trust for their support and generous donation.  We look forward to updating our cache of equipment and getting these pieces of kit out into the communities across the region.”


For anyone wishing to find out more information on the See Hear project, you can call 01387 267 131 or email [email protected]


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