Dartmoor National Park Authority

The Dartmoor Coronavirus Community Support Fund has supported us with a grant of £500 so we can continue providing support and guidance to people who are blind or visually impaired living on Dartmoor during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the current climate, our ability to maintain support to people with sight loss has never been more important. As well as addressing the immediate impact of COVID-19, we have worked hard to adapt our normal services so we can continue to provide support remotely.

Our Community Support Worker Louise Camies has been in regular contact with clients living in Yelverton, Sticklepath and Mary Tavy to provide one-to-one support via telephone. We have organised weekly group calls for clients in place of our West Devon Talk and Support Group; the group has not only been a source of formal information but an important opportunity for people to meet others and offer peer-to-peer support. These steps were crucial in order to address the loneliness and isolation felt by many of our clients.

We have also worked hard to support our clients to utilise assistive technology. For people who are visually impaired, advances in technology have vastly improved accessibility to news, books, devices to control the home and communication. Yet despite this progress, many people cannot enjoy the benefits of assistive technology as they lack the knowledge and confidence to use it. During the COVID-19 crisis we have seen a huge rise in the number of people who are blind or partially sighted wanting help to make the best use of their smart phones, iPads or smart speakers to stay in contact with family and to access information. For our clients being able to use technology is a life line to the outside world and a vital way to source the latest information.

Emma Stockley from Dartmoor National Park Authority said, “In these difficult and uncertain times, Dartmoor National Park Authority launched a Coronavirus Community Support Grant (CCSG) to provide valuable funding to organisations in communities that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. We are delighted to support Devon in Sight with its work to tackle the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and help those who are most vulnerable”.

We would like to thank the Dartmoor Coronavirus Community Support Fund for their support at this very difficult time.