Blog

How does visual impairment differ demographically?

Sight loss

Worryingly, charities have raised concerns that by 2050, sight loss in the UK could double to affect over four million people. As of 2017, it’s estimated that there are more than two million people suffering with sight loss in the UK. However, just 360,000 of those are officially registered as blind. Troublingly, according to RNIB, 250 people every day start to lose their sight, with one in five people suffering from sight loss in their lifetime.     

Here we look at the most common causes of sight loss — and discuss if there could be ways to cure it.

All fair sailing for Mark

Sail Close

A young man with learning difficulties is enjoying a new lease of life after moving to a supported living service, Sail Close near King’s Lynn.

Since Mark Lowman - who is 27 and has learning difficulties - relocated from a service on the opposite side of town in February, he is ‘a different man’ according to senior support worker Danielle Garrigan.

“Mark was very keen to be living closer to his mum,” said Danielle. “His previous home was 20 miles away, whereas now she’s just around the corner, so that’s a big part of why he’s happier, but that’s not the only reason.

“We’ve given him a lot of personal support and he has settled in quickly at Sail Close, where he’s developing new skills including a much better understanding of how to manage his money.”

How technology is enabling those on their dementia journey to experience ‘moments of happiness’

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. Although dementia is usually associated with the elderly, there are over 40,000 people under the age of 65 who have dementia in the UK.

Dementia is something which affects a lot of us, from those who have experienced it first-hand, to the family members and friends of those who are on their journey.

UK’s leading provider of community equipment donates mobility aids to children living in world’s poorest countries

NRS Healthcare

NRS Healthcare, the UK’s leading provider of community equipment, has worked with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Country Council’s to donate a range of their children’s mobility aids overseas, in order to help youngsters in some of the world’s poorest countries.

New Scottish Mountain Trike Experience Centre for the Mountain Trike Company

Mountain Trike Company

The Mountain Trike Company produce and manufacture all terrain wheelchairs which are designed to travel over uneven ground, offering wheelchair users inclusive access to the great outdoors.

The Mountain Trike wheelchairs are sold worldwide, either directly to customers, or through a distributor network and the company have been working with organisations throughout the UK setting up Mountain Trike Experience Centres, where fleets of Mountain Trike wheelchairs are available for demos or hires.

Leading disability vehicle hire company accelerates to record growth

Adapted Vehicle Hire

Adapted Vehicle Hire (AVH), came to the rescue of a little girl with one of the world’s rarest medical complaints as her family hit severe mobility problems.

Four-year-old  Mary Allen, of Nantwich, Cheshire, was born with macrocephaly-capillary malformation syndrome (MCAP) – a condition that affects only 300 people globally and leads to severe physical and learning problems. She also suffers from hydrocephalus and epilepsy, which cause life threatening seizures, and has spent her life in and out of hospitals, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

Bryerley Springs Equestrian Centre Gains Accessibility Mark Accreditation

Accessibility Mark scheme

A Milton Keynes equestrian centre has secured an accreditation to the Accessibility Mark scheme to encourage more disabled people to take up horse riding.

With the mental and physical benefits of horse riding well documented, the centre hopes its Accessibility Mark accreditation will help reach out to a wider group of riders.

The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of opening up more opportunities for disabled people to participate in riding.

New study to help people with long-term pain conditions back into work

Getting back

The University of Warwick is leading a project on getting back to work after you have have been unemployed due to long term pain conditions.

Called RISE (Return to Work with Individualised Supported Employment) it will provide short-term supported work placements matched with each individual’s ability. The study is co-ordinated by the University of Warwick and funded by Arthritis Research UK in hopes of getting people back to work.

The study is designed to examine how to help people with long term health conditions overcome obstacles to return, and remain, in the workforce.

New online resources for older adults struggling with mental illness

MindEd

MindEd for Older People is a new online educational resource that explains a range of mental illnesses commonly experienced by older people, and offers practical advice for dealing with them.

A team of older people and professionals are the authors behind the new MindEd resources which cover a range of common problems such as insomnia, depression, medications to be aware of, anxiety and alcohol-related problems.

The resources are a vital crutch at a time when demand for mental health services is increasing whilst supply of the mental health workforce for older people is falling. The number of Old Age psychiatrists has declined 8.5% since November 2013.

Shhh Quiet at the Aquarium

 Autism Awareness Week

As part of World Autism Awareness Week (26th March – 2nd April), The National Marine Aquarium will be hosting a special ‘quiet’ event next week for families with sensory needs.  

Taking place on Thursday 29th March, the afterhours event will invite visitors to enjoy the Aquarium’s surroundings without the noise and distraction of the daily shows, enabling them to appreciate the true beauty and calmness of the marine environment. The exclusive evening is tailored for people on the autistic spectrum and those with other sensory needs to allow them to experience the exhibits in a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere – as well as provide an opportunity to see the Aquarium's 4,000 ocean animals at night.

Top Wheelchair Basketball Star to Judge Innovative Design Competition

Innovative Design Competition

ONE of the country’s top wheelchair basketball stars is to judge an Innovative Design Competition which aims to find the best new innovations to help people with disabilities.

Robyn Love, from Ayr, represented the British team at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and currently plays for club side Lothian Phoenix in Armadale, West Lothian.

She will sit with a panel of experts to judge the annual Blackwood Design Awards (BDA), which invite budding designers, engineers and inventors to submit their creations to help disabled people live life to the full.

The fate of the shortlisted designs will lie in the hands of eight judges, with entrants asked to perform a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to them before a winner is selected.

Active Minds help people with dementia lead active lives

Active Minds

Active Minds have recently launched seasonally themed and easy-to-do activity guides that people living with dementia, family and carers can all participate in. Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia are predicted to increase from 50 million in 2017 to over 125 million in 2050. Activities such as painting have been proven to help people reconnect with their surroundings and can reduce isolation and depression.

Heathrow celebrates International Wheelchair Day 10th anniversary

International Wheelchair Day

Heathrow, in partnership with its special assistance service provider OmniServ, recently showcased a revolutionary Japanese-designed WHILL high-tech wheelchair to mark the 10th anniversary of International Wheelchair Day.

The WHILL – which has been dubbed "the world's most futuristic-looking wheelchair" – was designed by a start-up company created by a team of engineers from Japanese companies Sony, Toyota, Olympus and Panasonic.

When used in conjunction with beacon technology, mobile devices and other high-tech systems, WHILL wheelchairs can be controlled using smartphones, can travel in convoy through an airport and can be programmed to move themselves to where they are needed, without passengers or attendants.

New handbook for teenagers living with brain injury

Childrens Trust

A new handbook for teenagers living with brain injury has been launched by The Childrens Trust. Me and My Brain gives advice and guidance on topics such as independence, bullying, driving and education. It also includes real life experiences of young people living with the condition.

Created by The Childrens Trust’s team of medical professionals and teenagers affected by brain injury, Me and My Brain helps explain the lifelong condition. It provides tips and strategies on some of the challenges such as fatigue and memory loss.

The resource is recommended for family members, teachers and carers, emphasising brain injury as a hidden disability, which can be very difficult for those affected to explain.

Why aren’t more people with disabilities in ads? Because they ‘make people uncomfortable’

physical disabilities

New research has highlighted the ongoing struggle for people with mental and physical disabilities when it comes to appearing in advertising and getting away from negative stereotypes.

When asked why they think those with mental disabilities aren’t currently visible enough in UK advertising, 62% of Brits say it’s because they ‘make people uncomfortable’, while 43% say it’s because Brits aren’t exposed enough to people in this community.

Regarding the lack of those with physical disabilities in ads, 55% of Brits again say it’s because they make people uncomfortable – while 43% believe that brands are risking ‘not appealing to people’ with those adverts. A shocking third (34%) even say that it’s because people with physical disabilities are ‘not attractive’.

Opticians to get Clearer View of Visual Impairment

Thomas Pocklington Trust

Thomas Pocklington Trust are supporting entrepreneur Daniel Williams, and dispensing optician Peter Black, to drive forward the message that no patient should be diagnosed with an eye condition and left to fend for themselves. 

This innovative and insightful course leaves optometrists and dispensing opticians empowered with knowledge to deliver the highest quality service to their VIPs (visually impaired patients).

Experts to carry out independent review of Disabled Facilities Grant

Disabled Facilities Grant

The University of West of England has been appointed by the Government to carry out an independent review of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) that England has to offer.

The University will be working with Foundations, the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Ferret Information Systems and an experienced occupational therapist to look at both the operation of the grant and the wider delivery of home adaptations to support the independence of disabled people living in their own homes.

The review, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, will include a series of workshops this month.

Despite increases to the annual DFG budget, demand for adaptations has always outstripped supply and this is set to continue as the population ages.

Raising the Bar for Disabled Riders with Accessibility Mark

Accessibility Mark

Cloud Stables based in Reading has become the latest equestrian Accessibility Mark Centre to gain accreditation with a national scheme to provide more riding opportunities for disabled riders.

Cloud Stables based in Reading has successfully fulfilled the necessary criteria to become an Accessibility Mark Centre. Established since 1972, Cloud Stables provides lessons for riders of all abilities, using their fantastic facilities that boast both an indoor and outdoor arena.

Riding for the Disabled Association, in partnership with the British Equestrian Federation, launched the revolutionary Accessibility Mark scheme to work with commercial riding centres with the aim of getting more disabled people to participate in riding.

AutonoMe is funding to help learning disability support business grow

AutonoMe

AutonoMe has secured a total of £350,000 of new investment allowing the high-tech disabled support provider to double its workforce, further improve the technology and scale up its support platform for people with learning disabilities.

AutonoMe has offices in Bristol’s Engine Shed and in Weston-Super-Mare and the scale-up funds will help further develop its product and support a growing client base delivering independent living skills to people with learning disabilities.

William Britton, Founder and CEO of AutonoMe, said:

Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy

Susie Bennett, 43, lives in Teesside and has been using the services of Driving Miss Daisy for 3 years. 

“I was born in 1974, with cerebral palsy.  Back in the 70’s I initially attended a special school that was recommended via the local hospital, but then I went on to mainstream senior school.  When I left sixth form, I immediately started working for Cleveland County Council and then went on to work for 20 years at Stockton on Tees Borough Council.  Before leaving there, I taught maths and English to adults that couldn’t read and write.

I have never let my disability stop me from living my life, although a lot of people don’t get out because of the effort it takes to travel and I can understand that.