Seescape is receiving £72,000 over the next four years
A sight loss charity welcomed equalities minister Emma Roddick to its centre after being picked to receive a grant to help tackle loneliness and isolation.
She visited Seescape, formerly Fife Society for the Blind, in Glenrothes to hear more about how the charity supports thousands of people with visual impairments.
Seescape’s community engagement service provides social opportunities, including one-to-one befriending, group activities and weekly drop-in sessions, to address issues with isolation that can affect those with sight loss.
The programme is receiving £72,000 over the next four years through the Scottish Government’s Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund (SIALF).
Ms Roddick met staff and volunteers and heard more about the different types of community engagement that Seescape undertakes.
She was also given a tour of the hub to learn about the other services the charity provides including rehabilitation, advice and demonstrations of assistive and accessible technologies.
Seescape runs four social groups in Glenrothes, Cupar, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, providing activities and days out so people can socialise with others with shared experiences in a safe environment.
Its befriending service is for those who are feeling lonely or isolated and can help increase their confidence and allow them to reconnect with their communities and peers.
The charity also runs regular drop-in sessions for people to have a hot drink and spend time with staff, volunteers, and other service users, as well as getting informal support and advice.
Seescape’s overall aim is to help those with sight loss gain confidence and live more independently.
It also offers community-based assessments and home visits to give information on the latest support and technologies available.
The equalities minister said: “Social isolation and loneliness are public health issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis.
“We know disabled people can often be among those more at risk from experiencing these issues, so I’m pleased that Seescape is one of the 53 projects we are funding to help people reconnect in their communities.”
Lesley Carcary, chief executive of Seescape, said: “The grant funding from SIALF will have a hugely positive impact on those we support, allowing us to continue our befriending service, social groups and activities, and weekly drop-ins.
“These services help to address issues with isolation and loneliness that we know can affect those with visual impairments and sight loss.
“Our aim is to build people’s confidence by proving social opportunities and helping them reconnect with their communities.”