Who are Open Sight and what do we do?
For nearly 100 years, since February 1922, Open Sight have been providing key services to Hampshire residents who have or are at risk of sight loss. These services enable people to achieve their personal goals, remain independent and live a full life. Our services are provided by a small team of paid staff, one quarter of whom are visually impaired themselves, and a large group of volunteers. Our clients can be very young or as old as the charity itself, and all ages in between. We aim to provide a lifetime of support for all who need us.
Staying Connected is a digital befriending and well-being project that was started out of a need to stay connected with our clients at the start of the pandemic. This involved making some of our existing services available digitally and introducing new interactive services.
Examples of some of the diverse activities we were able (and continue) to offer are Blind Baking, book clubs, quizzes and family activities.
Digital outreach had not been used to any great extent before we had to close our face-to-face services due to lockdown. Starting new and resuming existing services online enabled lonely, vulnerable and socially excluded clients to take part in activities in a meaningful way, and the success of the project means that 600 clients have been reached via digital outreach in the past 6 months. Many have never engaged with us before and now have access to the help and support that they need.
We want this project to continue bigger and better as life starts to go back to normal for many of us. Normal may not be so fast in coming for the more vulnerable and isolated.
What will we use the funds for?
Our existing IT equipment isn't up to the task of providing the quality of service we would like to provide. If we are successful in raising the funds, we will be able to update our aging hardware to enable a faster, more efficient, more reliable service, accessible by and available to all.
What do our clients say?
Mr P from Fleet emailed to say: " I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the wonderful work you do and for bringing fun and laughter back into our lives.
I have been severely visually impaired since 2019, when my whole life changed. I am still finding it very difficult to come to terms with it all. I lost my confidence but since moving to Fleet last year and joining Open Sight, it has given me food for thought. "