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Families unite to fight cuts in services to blind

Families and vision impairment organisations across England have united to fight Government cuts that could affect the futures of children with vision impairment.

The Young Vision Alliance is made up of parents, young people with vision impairment, and supporting organisations, aiming to ensure all children receive an equal standard of education – regardless of their sight.

A combination of the lack of specific government policy and sweeping cuts to local authority provision means that children and young people with vision impairment are being failed and are not receiving the specialist support they need.

The Alliance asked local authorities what support they have in place for children and young people with vision impairment, using a Freedom of Information request.

The findings set out in a report reveal that hundreds of children with vision impairment are missing the services and support they desperately require, with at least 700 pupils with vision impairment having their level of support reduced during the last 12 months.

One young person facing the problems identified in the report is Jorja, 10, from Chichester. Due to her vision impairment, her school years have been a source of constant struggle in accessing the information and support she needs.

Her Mum, Laura, says:

The stress and anxiety that these repeated issues cause is phenomenal. I don’t feel I get much support. It’s often just me winging it, trying different things to see what will work.

Lucy Proctor, from the Royal National College for the Blind, which is part of the Alliance, commented:

Without specialist support, it is less likely that all children with vision impairment will be able to reach their full potential.

We know that around 38% of young people aged 16-25 visual impairments are not in employment, education or training, which is almost double the amount of 16-25 year olds in the general population.

We can work together to solve this problem, but without urgent action outcomes for young people with vision impairment will not improve.

For further information about the campaign, please contact Tara Chattaway, Policy Spokesperson for the Young Vision Alliance on tara.chattaway@pocklington-trust.org.uk

Image: Pocklington Trust

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Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise communications.