I wanted to write to update you on our work across Oxfordshire over the past year. It has been a challenging time for everyone. We believe that blind and partially sighted people have faced additional barriers and challenges and we’re so proud to say we have been there to support, enable and encourage our clients.
Our initial reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic
Initially we turned our efforts to contacting all our clients and members: about 25 of our volunteers worked their way through a list of names to make contact. We wanted to ask how they were, check they had support locally for provisions and offer a regular phone call.
Once our initial contact had been made, we set up our telephone befriending service. This is a regular phone call from an OAB volunteer. We now have 75 partnerships across Oxfordshire.
Technology has played an important part in society over the past year. The digital divide is very present amongst our clients. We have provided 96 tech training sessions. This has included helping people to connect and shop online.
Children, young people and families support
Having to home school has been such a challenge for many people, and we have been there for our families during this time, offering support, encouragement, and connections.
And much more…
We have been providing equipment loans, telephone counselling, access campaigns, awareness webinars, and of course our Mon-Fri Helpline for visually impaired residents of Oxfordshire.
Without your generous support none of this would have been possible. Whether you have donated, become a member, volunteered your time, or just cheered us on we would not have been able to carry on our support for blind and partially sighted people in Oxfordshire – thank you!
Here are a few words from some of the people we have supported:
“Your telephone call was like a warm hug.”
“I would be a lot more depressed if I didn’t have my regular call from OAB: just to hear the voice of someone else is a huge help. I don’t feel alone.”
We face many challenges ahead of us: with covid restrictions lifting, many of our clients will be facing a new normal. We aim to be there for anyone who needs us. Oxfordshire is a large county and there are estimated to be 22,900 people living with sight loss. With the increase in demand to our services we also face the challenge of funding them. If you’d like to continue to support us for our work in 2021/22 please don’t hesitate to get in touch.