Margaret Greenwood MP highlights importance of emotional support for blind and partially sighted people

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22 Jul 2019
Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood met with representatives from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) at a parliamentary reception to hear about the charity’s Sight Loss Advice Service and the vital work that Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) carry out.

The RNIB, a registered charity, is the leading organisation of blind and partially sighted people in the UK. According to the charity, there are currently 11,700 people living with sight loss in Wirral, with 2,335 registered blind or partially sighted. RNIB estimates that every day in the UK, 250 people begin to lose their sight.

Statistics show that calls to RNIB focused on emotional support are set to triple, increasing from 2,021 calls in 2016 to a projected 7,000 calls in 2019. Questions around emotional support is one of the main reasons why people spoke to the advice line last year.

ECLOs work alongside health professionals in eye clinics to offer support and advice to blind and partially sighted people on a range of areas. They are an important part of RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service, which provides practical advice and emotional support over the phone, as well as one to one in eye clinics, for anyone affected by sight loss.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I was really pleased to be able to attend this event in Parliament and meet up with representatives from the RNIB to learn more about the charity and the vitally important work it does.

“I was concerned to hear that RNIB forecasts that in Wirral there is expected to be a 22% increase in the number of people living with sight loss by 2030.

“It is extremely important that people have access to support when they need it, whether that be for practical matters or for emotional support.

“I would urge anyone who feels they need support to get in touch with the RNIB to find out about the help they can offer.”

David Clarke, RNIB Director of Services, said:

“Losing your sight can have a massive impact on your life.

“It’s not just the big, life-changing aspects that people need support with. Sometimes it’s the smaller, everyday things that stop people in their tracks or prevent them from living the life they want to.

“These questions or fears can chip away at your emotional wellbeing if you don’t tackle them and RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service can help with this.

“Our Sight Loss Advisers and Eye Clinic Liaison Officers receive specialist training on living with sight loss, and many have personal experience of sight loss themselves.”

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