Satya Dunning, Project Officer at RNIB's You Care Eye Care Project talks about their project funded by the Self Management IMPACT Fund.
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) are there for everyone affected by sight loss.
You Care Eye Care is an initiative for black Africans with visual impairment living in the Glasgow area. It aims to support people in becoming more independent, and to find their way through the maze of available services that can help with their eye condition and with the other issues they face from the benefits they’re entitled to, to mobility training.
Through their own work and discussions with Black Africans in Glasgow RNIB Scotland knew that there were a lot of individuals from this community who were not aware of eye conditions which impaired their vision until it was irreversible. People told RNIB that the most helpful thing to help self manage existing conditions and prevent damage to sight was support to overcome barriers to accessing information and healthcare.
“Reaching out to other organisations working with black Africans and identifying some of the community Champions allowed me to make sure the project was right for people” – Satya Dunning
RNIB found that key to ensuring the success of You Care Eye Care was building trust and partnerships with people from a range of support services and networks. Developing a collaborative approach with the professionals providing referrals and finding the ‘right allies’ was important to ensure Project Officer. Satya had the most relevant information for individuals so that they could focus on outcomes and moving forward. Satya found that arranging joint appointments and information sharing with professionals was an effective approach when arranging a first meeting with individuals.
“People have told their stories so many times and it is a draining process. I would speak directly to the referrer prior to first meetings so that we can focus on the things that matter to people and conserve their emotional energy. ”
Having an open and honest relationship with The ALLIANCE was instrumental to ensuring the development and success of You Care Eye Care. This partnership approach with the funder, rather than being at arms-length, allowed Satya to feel confident in developing evaluation and reporting methods that involved and focussed on people without being admin heavy.
“The ALLIANCE have a very human approach and this forward thinking, supportive approach really lets you know that they are on your side.”
What has been most important in ensuring the success of You Care Eye Care has been the relationships that have been built throughout the project. This was reflected in the successful outcomes for individuals and the peer support group, See No Borders which individuals involved in the project have set up to share their learning and experiences of living with visual impairment. RNIB have now secured further funding from the Transforming Self Management in Scotland Fund to further develop You Care Eye Care, with particular focus on the development of the See No Borders peer support group and the influence this can have.