They will be led by blind and partially sighted people who use lived experience to tackle local and national issues
Charities have announced the creation of new Sight Loss Councils in Scotland.
Sight Loss Councils (SLCs), funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, are led by blind and partially sighted people who use lived experience to tackle local and national issues to improve the accessibility of services.
Sight Scotland, Sight Scotland Veterans and Visibility Scotland are launching them across Scotland.
Each SLC is made up of a small group of blind and partially sighted volunteers who meet monthly to discuss accessibility issues and plan projects in their regions. These priorities include accessible transport and streets so everyone can travel independently and safely.
They also work to increase the accessibility of healthcare, shopping, museums and galleries, and sports and leisure facilities, depending on the needs of the local area.
There are currently 20 SLCs across England, but this is the first time SLCs will exist in Scotland. The charities will begin recruiting volunteers, firstly across the central belt, in 2024.
Emma Hughes, director of services at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “I’m delighted to announce that Thomas Pocklington Trust will be working with Sight Scotland, Sight Scotland Veterans and Visibility Scotland to deliver Sight Loss Councils across Scotland. 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. We look forward to Scottish Sight Loss Councils launching in the near future.”
Craig Spalding, chief executive, Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans, added: “I am delighted that Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans, in partnership with Visibility Scotland and Thomas Pocklington Trust are bringing Sight Loss Councils to Scotland. 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, Visibility Scotland’s CEO, said: “Sight Loss Councils in Scotland is an exciting new opportunity to provide a safe platform for people's voices to be shared, listened to and acted upon. Visibility Scotland is thrilled to be part of the consortium of organisations that will launch and deliver this new initiative.”