Focus Birmingham – Sight Loss and Disability Charity

Focus Birmingham is a specialist charity providing expert support, advice and information to anyone in the Birmingham area affected by sight loss or other disabilities. And because sight loss and disability affects family, friends and carers, we work with them too.

We believe that everyone has a right to an independent, happy and fulfilling life and future. Our knowledgeable and caring staff provides support and training to blind, visually impaired and disabled people of all ages. We enable and empower people to reach their full potential.

Across the UK, there are more than 2 Million people with sight loss and in Birmingham alone over 29,000 people live with sight loss.

Sight loss can have devastating consequences. Self-evidently, it prevents people from driving. Consequently it may prevent someone from working; it may restrict social interaction, cause isolation, and remove a person’s independence and lead to low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence or depression.

Focus Birmingham exists to ensure that individuals with visual impairments and other disabilities are fully supported in living their lives independently and to the full.

Whether we are working with someone who has been blind since birth or someone who is only now dealing with the onset of a visual impairment, we offer a range of services that are appropriate to the specific needs of the individual.

These might involve the early recognition of a potential problem and preventative measures to avoid further deterioration. Or we might provide counselling services to allow someone to come to terms with the changes to their life and to move forward positively. Through our re-enablement activity, we can demonstrate and provide aids that allow people to resume areas of their lives that they thought were lost to them.

Focus Birmingham currently offers the following range of services:

Low Vision Centre

The Low vision Centre currently support approx 200 people per month via appointment (in addition, people also self refer, often as a result of visiting the on-site shop), providing:

• information and advice regarding the diagnosis and prognosis of a person’s eye condition
• guidance on how best to use remaining sight
• magnifiers and other specialist aids and equipment
• emotional support service via trained counsellors supporting both adults and children with sight loss
• practical advice & demonstrations of equipment and IT available via an Independent Living Advisor based within the team

Community services

Focus Birmingham supports on average 400 people in the wider community each month via:

• home visits and rehabilitation services
• social clubs and activities
• courses for people newly diagnosed with sight loss
• a helpline
• information service at Birmingham & Midland Eye Centre

The services provided by Focus Birmingham are vital for that facing sight loss in their communities.

Making a Difference – Fiona’s story

15 years old Fiona has inherited a metabolic disorder called Homocystinuria, which amongst other problems can cause severe sight impairment. Our low vision centre optometrists have looked after her eye care for several years and she was given an electronic book reader and download book voucher by Focus Birmingham to help with her independent reading/reading for pleasure.

Fiona said

“I have found the E-reader really easy to use and it hurts my eyes a lot less than a conventional book. It was simple to set up. I have never read a book quickly, but I have managed to read a book in less than two days – I am really proud of myself. To find and download the e-books I want is easy as well.”

Fiona’s mum Carole commented

“Fiona uses the E-reader whenever she has free time. She has massively improved on how much she reads and can now read a book very quickly. This will undoubtedly help improve her grades in the long term.”

Based in Harborne, Birmingham, we also have outreach facilities across the city. Each year, we work with 7,000 people across all ages and cultural backgrounds to support them in living independent and fulfilling lives.

Leaving a Gift for Focus Birmingham

If you decide to leave Focus Birmingham a gift in your will you will be leaving a legacy of local community support and practical solutions to people who are facing sight loss in the West Midlands.

Over the years, these gifts have helped us build and maintain our vital support services and grow our work in the community. Today, these gifts are as vital as ever, allowing us to invest in essential new technologies and specialist equipment to bring a sense of dignity to those who are facing sight loss and disability.

If you would like to know more about leaving a gift in your will or would just like to know more about the charity please email fundraising@focusbirmingham.org.uk or call 0121 478 5200. Please do our website for more information about our charity and the services we provide on www.focusbirmingham.org.uk

 

 

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