We are delighted to have been awarded £121,210 by the Bank of Scotland Foundation Change Grants Programme in support of our ‘ICT for All’ Service – a long running and well-established project which provides tailored training and support in the use of accessible technology and digital devices to those living with severe sight and/or hearing loss or impairment. The funding, which runs for two years from 1st April 2022, will enable us to expand our existing service by enabling us to recruit an additional, part-time ICT Officer – helping us meet increased demand throughout Dundee, Angus, Aberdeen and Moray.
We had already recorded an increased uptake for this project over a number of years; in 2019/20, 143 individuals accessed this service across our operating area, delivered by one full-time ICT Officer. Even during 2020/21 they supported 95 individuals, with much of the training in the earlier lockdown period provided over the telephone; although often challenging this was also very positive, enabling visually impaired individuals to use the accessibility features of their smart devices to vastly improve their communication and access to vital information at a time when the sensory impaired community was at high risk of isolation and mis-information. Many families who have visually impaired parents were accessing the service for advice and information on communicating with their isolated family members.
Graham Findlay, chief executive of North East Sensory Services, said:
“We are extremely grateful to Bank of Scotland Foundation for its generous grant. This will enable us to meet growing demand and expand a lifeline service for people across the north-east.”
“Outcomes vary for each individual, but they are truly transformational – enabling people with sensory loss to live their lives on their own terms and reduce their reliance on others for tasks which we all take for granted.
“This may mean opening up access to online study, training, job searches and banking, shopping independently or resuming hobbies, or connecting people with their friends, families or support groups online – which is even more vital at the moment.”
Bank of Scotland Foundation recognises the significant impact that Covid-19 has had on people across Scotland. To ensure Bank of Scotland Foundation funding reaches those in real need, the 2021 Change grants programme has a strong focus on Helping Scotland Recover – allowing charities greater flexibility over how they use their resources, allowing them to respond quickly to a changing environment and deploy resources accordingly.
To find out about our ICT service, visit https://www.nesensoryservices.org/our-services/ict-for-all-service/.