Southend in Sight celebrates award win

Local sight loss charity Southend in Sight is celebrating winning the Life Changing Impact Award on Wednesday 24 October at The Visionary Conference held at Aston Conference Centre in Birmingham.

The Life Changing Impact Award, sponsored by Thomas Pocklington Trust, is open to Visionary members who can demonstrate the impact they have had on the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Southend in Sight, the Community Services division of Southend Blind Welfare Organisation, won the award because of its commitment to reducing financial concerns in those experiencing sight loss issues.

The charity, based in Hamlet Court Road Westcliff, introduced a volunteer-led service helping people to apply for Attendance Allowance, advising on other benefits and general financial help after finding that many of its service users had no idea that Attendance Allowance was available to them.

Due to their sight loss, individuals were struggling with cleaning, gardening, reading post, getting out and about, shopping, etc. and this regular allowance makes many of these day to day activities easier, meaning people can remain independent. All the attendance allowance applications made with the charity’s help have been successful. Service users can afford to get a taxi, have a regular cleaner, ask people to go out, go shopping and have help in the garden.

Lucy Martin, CEO of the charity said ‘We have helped reduce money anxiety for our elderly service users, who now know they have enough money to live on and they won’t be in debt or lose their property. And most importantly we have helped people take control of their lives. With changes to benefits, we see a group of people living day to day but feeling like their fate is in somebody else hands. With our help and support, blind and partially sighted people have felt like they are back in control of their life and their future.’

David Hurst, Chairman of Trustees for the charity attended the Visionary Conference in Birmingham to ceremony to accept the award and said, ‘I am delighted the volunteers and staff have been recognised nationally for the excellent work they do in Southend.’

For further information about the services and assistance provided by Southend in Sight, please call 01702 342131 or go to www.southendinsight.org.uk.