ROVIs and the Sensory Team

The Devon Sensory Team is part of Devon County Council and provides services, support and advice to adults with visual impairment, hearing impairment and dual sensory loss.

The team consists of Rehabilitation Officers for Visually Impaired people (ROVI’s), Rehabilitation Officers for Hearing Impaired people (ROHI’s) and Social Workers for Deaf People.

ROVI’s assess, advise and support blind and partially sighted people and are qualified to provide training in daily living skills and getting out and about (mobility). They also complete registrations as sight or severely sight impaired and can visit you at home to discuss sight loss, assess your needs and provide information about services and equipment available to help.

They can also make suggestions about adaptations to your home environment to use lighting and colour contrast in order to help to minimise the effects of vision loss.

ROVI’s can advise about support services, benefits and local groups or sources of help and they can also provide information and support to family members and carers to assist with awareness about sight loss.

1) What happens if I show an interest in volunteering with you – You will be given a Volunteering Leaflet and an Information Booklet that gives you lots of information about volunteering with us. The coordinator will also arrange to meet you to discuss this and answer any questions you may have. 2) Can you explain what a Volunteer does – We have a Role Description of what Tasks a Volunteer may carry out but the list of tasks is vast so it is easier to explain what a Volunteer does not do. I will run through some examples of what volunteers do with their clients but this is by no means exhaustive. Volunteers may read post or emails, write letters, go for short walks, go out for coffee, buy Birthday/Christmas Cards, visit the Theatre/Cinema, create braille stickers for CDs/DVDs or just pop in for a cup of tea or a chat 3) What time commitment are you looking for – The amount of time you give is entirely up to you. Some volunteers visit clients once a week, once a fortnight or on an adhoc basis. 4) What is the Application process – We require a completed Application Form, two written references either by letter or email and a completed DBS check. 5) Who pays for the DBS Check – The Charity does, we do wish you to incur any expenses to join us 6) Do you require professional references – No we ask for two people who have known you for a while who can let us know what you are like as a person 7) What Training will I get – Your training begins with our second visit when we will watch a short DVD together which is entitled “Seeing It Our Way”. This DVD will raise your awareness about what is important to Visually Impaired people on a day to day basis. 8) What induction will I receive – As part of your induction we will visit our Topsham Office for you to meet the rest of the staff and for you to spend time looking at some of the aids that are on offer for V.I. people to assist them in their day to day lives. We will also arrange for you to attend Sighted Guidance Training with Guide Dogs which is called My Guide. 9) What support will I receive - We also provide on-going support and training and at our Monthly Support Group Meetings you will also be given information on visual impairments and lots more 10) Can I visit someone in my area – Yes our scheme is based is this area 11) What if I don’t drive – That’s is fine, quite a few of our Volunteers do not drive and they either catch the bus or visit someone within walking distance of where they live 12) I drive, do you pay motor expenses – Yes we pay your motor expenses at 45p per mile. 13) How do I know that I will like the person you introduce me to – We try to match your skills and interests and talents with the right person. Once you are approved we will give you a very brief outline of what a client is looking for from a volunteer. If you are happy with the tasks required we will introduce them to you. After the introduction both you and the client will be contacted by the Coordinator, both of you have the right to say “No”. If you are both prepared to give the relationship a go it will be left to you to arrange your next visit together. 14) What happens if I say No – Don’t worry you will be introduced to another client, and the client to another volunteer – we wish to make it a win-win situation for both of you

ROVI’s attend low vision clinics at the West of England Eye Unit at the RD&E, at Devon In Sight, and at Optima in Totnes. They are available for advice or discussion on the days that these clinics are held.