Support Services

What support services can we offer?

Sight Cymru’s Welfare Rights Service

You may not be aware that the following changes are now in place:

  • Bedroom tax – Housing Benefit is being reduced for Housing Association tenants under state retirement age who have one or more spare bedrooms
  • Disability Living Allowance has now stopped for new claimants. Existing claimants who notify the DWP of a change of circumstances will be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). People who do not currently receive DLA will also need to claim Personal Independence Payment
  • Universal Credit is due to replace Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, and Income Support.

We recommend that current benefit claimants and anyone with a long term health condition (including sight loss) has a benefit check to make sure any entitlements are maximised.

We can help you check to see if you meet the exemption criteria for the Bedroom Tax and check you are receiving the correct disability benefits, as well as give tips to help the transition over to Universal Credit go more smoothly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to arrange an appointment, we will come and see you at home. We are happy to see anyone with sight loss in Newport or the borough of Caerphilly, even if you are not sure if you should be getting more.

Sight Cymru can provide practical support to help people with a visual impairment to claim their Welfare Rights

We provide help in your own home for people with sight loss.

We can help give advice on what you are entitled to, and assist you with any claims. We can even represent you at Tribunal if you have received an unfavourable decision.

Why not give us a ring on 01495 763650 or email welfarerights@sightcymru.org.uk to find out how we can help you.

How we can help you…

  • Benefit Checks – Making sure you are receiving your full Welfare Rights entitlement
  • Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance – Helping people with problems with mobility, washing, eating, bathing, taking medication etc., to claim their disability benefit entitlement
  • Employment & Support Allowance – Help claiming if you are unable to work due to sickness
  • Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction and Discretionary Housing Payments – Help claiming for help with your rent and/or Council Tax
  • Discretionary Assistance Fund – Help applying for a grant to helping you through an emergency, or to help you leave hospital or other institution
  • Carers Allowance – Help with claiming your entitlements if you care for 30 hrs or more a week for someone who receives Attendance Allowance, or middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or any rate of the Daily Living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • Pension Credit – a benefit paid to people who have reached the qualifying age and have a low income.
  • Pension Credit is not the same as the state retirement pension, which is based on your National Insurance contributions during your working life. Pension Credit can be paid on top of retirement and other pensions
  • Income Support – Help for working age people on a low income (working less than 16 hours),because you are caring for a child under 5 or sometimes because you are sick or disabled
  • Tax Credits – Help to claim Working and Child Tax Credits
  • Tax Allowance – Help claiming the Blind Person’s Tax Allowance
  • Better off calculations – Help to identify how a change of circumstances such as a new job, new baby or a partner moving in will affect your benefits.

Not sure if you are entitled to extra help? Ask us – we can advise you!

Projects

Community Voice: Engage Project

What is Community Voice?

  • A Big Lottery Initiative to provide opportunities for Welsh communities to get their voice heard
  • Connects communities with decision makers both locally and Nationally
  • Encourage people to speak out to influence decisions that affect their community and their own lives
  • Supports communities to become more sustainable and resilient to future economic, social and environmental challenges
  • To develop a stronger sense of community.

What is the role of Sight Cymru?

  • Prevent sight loss in Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities
  • Provide support for those that have sight loss
  • Provide an engagement pathway for eye health professionals and stakeholder organisations with BME communities
  • Make eye health material and services more accessible for BME communities

What are Sight Cymru doing?

There are three core working strands:

  1. Steering Group: A steering group of stakeholder organisations and community representatives has been set up to ensure that the barriers to access services are identified and addressed
  2. Raising Awareness: Eye health talks and materials are distributed amongst BME communities, events and venues. Training is provided to stakeholder groups on BME engagement
  3. Sight Life: This is a social forum for people from BME communities with sight loss or caring for someone with sight loss. The group meets on monthly basis.

MEGAFOCUS will receive reports on any key issues raised within the Engage program to help eye health professionals and policy makers to embrace community understanding and meet needs to improve engagement.

Where do I find out more?

For any further details of the project please contact Bablin Molik Email: bablin.molik@sightcymru.org.uk

Telephone: 07454260560 or visit the Sight Life Facebook page.

See It My Way

See It My Way is a project for people who live in Caerphilly or Blaenau Gwent and are affected by sight loss, either themselves or as carers of someone who is visually impaired.  It exists to enable people to speak out concerning the impact that sight loss can have, with the aim of improving matters for themselves and the wider community.

A See It My Way group meets regularly in different venues around Caerphilly Borough to discuss and seek to address issues in an informal and supportive environment.  The Blaenau Gwent group meets in Ebbw Vale on a monthly basis to socialise, provide mutual support and also discuss problems with a view to finding solutions. People from various organisations are often invited to these meetings  in order to talk with the groups and learn from them.   

Representatives from the See It My Way project also have the chance to speak on behalf of visually impaired people at other meetings, such as Caerphilly County Borough Access Group and the Gwent Citizen Panel.  They are also encouraged take part in specific events and training opportunities in order to broaden their impact and raise further awareness of sight loss. 

Many people do not understand the impact that visual impairment can have. This needs to change, and who better to tell them than those who live with sight loss? We are therefore looking for people who would be willing to share their experiences and first hand knowledge, so that we can help change perspectives and improve the lives of all concerned.

Would you like to learn more? If so, please contact Judith Parry, See It My Way’s Project Officer on judith.parry@sightcymru.org.uk or call 01495 763650.  She would be very glad to hear from you.

Great Minds…….

Sight Cymru is running a project looking at the prevention of depression and low mood brought on by sight loss.  This is a three year project funded by the Welsh Government.

It is hoped that with the right information, coping strategies and opportunities to speak to other people in a similar situation that we can reduce the onset of mental health issues that may arise.

There are two aspects to the project.

  • Firstly, if you think that you would like to put your experience of sight loss to good use; we are looking for volunteers to be on our steering group to guide the project in the right direction and to make sure that all the information we will provide is accurate and beneficial to others.   Secondly, we will be running a short course of workshops in Newport during January.  This will be a four week course (1 day a week) and will provide those with the basic tools to help them overcome mild depression and low mood issues, and will include: –
  • coping with the diagnosis of sight loss, the prognosis and how to cope with daily pressures
  • understanding how to protect remaining sight and health, both physical and mental
  • emotional support systems, counselling, CBT, where to find support
  • Peer group support and the importance of remaining active, eating a healthy diet, looking after health and ensuring physical mobility
  • Welfare rights entitlements, other support providers, introduction to the role of social services, local community optometrists, Access to Work, volunteering as a beneficial support mechanism
  • Keeping in touch with each other – peer support through regular meetings, lunches, telephone conversations, social media. Where we can identify small groups of people who wish to continue meeting, we can facilitate this until the group is sufficiently confident to go it alone.

For more information on this please ring 01495 763650 and ask to speak to Emma Richards or via email – emma.richards@sightcymru.org.uk Your call will be handled with the strictest confidence.

Supporting People Services

“Supporting Local People with Sight Loss to live Independently in their own homes”.

N.B. This particular service is only available to people living within the borough of Caerphilly.

The Sight Cymru, Supporting People Team aims to help people with sight loss to overcome difficulties they have so that they can live independent lives. This is a home-based service and provides information, advice and practical support. The type of support may include:

  • Managing budgets and accessing welfare benefits
  • Helping someone to stay safely in their own home by using safety appliances, identifying risks and requesting repairs
  • Ensuring people are safe from intruders and fire
  • Helping people to comply with tenancy agreements
  • Assistance with making and attending appointments
  • Providing access to other services including further education, training, employment, health and social services
  • Helping to ensure a healthy lifestyle by planning weekly meals and introducing to shopping schemes
  • Helping people to maintain good relationships with neighbours, develop life skills and links with the local community
  • Helping people to develop and maintain social relationships
  • Helping people to use other agencies, such as Care and Repair or Dial a Ride
  • Making sure people know what equipment can help their sight, accessing the Low Vision services and helping them use the equipment provided
  • Assistance with completing forms and applying for concessions such as TV licenses and Disability Badges.

How can someone be helped by the Supporting People Project?

Individuals can be referred to Sight Cymru by a family member, a carer, a health visitor, social worker, an ophthalmic surgeon or low vision specialist. Alternatively individuals can come directly to us. We will then arrange a visit from one of our team who will do an assessment of what help is needed. If we are able to help we will agree a support plan that will make clear the assistance that we can give.

A support worker will call for around an hour or two a week for several weeks (maximum of two years) to provide that support.

For more information please contact Sight Cymru on 01495 763650 or email nicole.gomer@sightcymru.org.uk

Rehabilitation

Specialist Rehabilitation Officers help to support people who have lost, or who are losing their sight. Many aspects of daily life can be affected by sight loss and can cause frustration and anxiety for the individuals and their family or carers. Many of the problems that are associated with sight loss can be overcome with appropriate help and advice.

Rehabilitation Officers can help you to stay independent, regain lost skills or rebuild confidence. Rehabilitation is very practical and could help you regardless of your sight difficulties. For example, if you have difficulties with making a cup of tea you may find that a Liquid Level Indicator (an audible gadget that lets you know when your cup is full) helps you to make a drink without spilling liquid everywhere. Or if you are having difficulties with using your magnifiers we are able to work with you to show you how to get the most out of using one.

How do you get help from a Rehabilitation Officer?

There are many ways to get the help that you require and the easiest way is to contact your local social services department and they will pass your information to your Rehabilitation Officer.

How to contact a Rehabilitation Officer

There are many ways to get the help that you require and the easiest way is to contact your local Social Services department and they will pass your information to your Rehabilitation Officer.

Alternatively, you can contact Sight Cymru on 01495 763650 and we will put you in touch with your Rehabilitation Officer. If you would like a friend or family member to refer you instead they are more than welcome to do this for you.

Some people may be seeing a consultant and are being, or have been, certified as Sight Impaired or Severely Sight Impaired. These are the new official terms for ‘blind’ or ‘partially sighted’. Once Social Services receive notification of your certification, they will contact you to find out what help, if any, you require and if it is appropriate we will refer you to the Rehabilitation Officer.

When the Rehabilitation Officer visits you they will carry out an assessment. This will help them to determine the type of support and help that you require. They will then provide you with information, equipment and training that is specific to you and your needs. In some cases they may need to refer you to another specialist, such as an occupational therapist, but this will be discussed and agreed with you first. The Rehabilitation Officer will work with you for as long as it is required and ensure that you get the best possible support.

Other Services

Wales Eye Care Services – WECS

The website www.eyecare.wales.nhs.uk provides vital information for the general public, patients and professionals about the range of eye care services that are provided (many free of charge) on high streets throughout the country and how to access them.

These Welsh Government funded services and website are designed to help prevent avoidable sight loss, identify eye disease as early as possible, provide help and support to those with impaired vision and to inform those in high risk groups of steps they should take to look after their sight.

For more information visit www.eyecare.wales.nhs.uk