We are committed to supporting our blind and partially sighted customers, their families and their carers during and beyond these challenging times. Therefore, we have teamed up with RNIB to let you know how they can support you. RNIB is the UK’s leading sight loss charity and offers practical and emotional support to people living with sight loss.
During this unprecedented time, we know and understand that living in lockdown may present you with many unique challenges. We have already heard how shopping for food, social distancing and keeping in-touch with friends and family can difficult. Over the following pages, we have included a message from RNIB about the advice and support they can provide, which we hope you will find helpful.
From RNIB: How we can help
RNIB’s Telephone Helpline 0303 123 9999
We have increased the capacity of many of our services. Our Helpline is now open on weekdays (from 8am-8pm) and on Saturdays (from 9am-5pm). They offer the usual help and advice on living with sight loss, including our extended Talking Books service and free newspapers offer. In addition, our advisers can connect you to local support and assist you in signing up to telephone and online groups that may offer a source of comfort or company. Through the same phone number, you can also access pre-recorded information about coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Government’s response.
We are working tirelessly with national supermarket chains to provide up to date information and to help improve access to home delivery slots and support in store. We know getting food from the supermarket can be very stressful and difficult for blind and partially sighted people right now. To help, RNIB has sent best practice guidance to all the supermarkets to highlight solutions to some of these in-store challenges. If you have a printer, we have also produced a shorter, downloadable summary of the guidance for you to share with your local store.
Frequently Asked Questions
To help answer the most commonly asked questions – from social distancing to shopping to mental health – we have produced a handy ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ guide (FAQ) please take a look and remember you are not alone. RNIB is here for you.
Staying connected through technology
During the coronavirus lockdown, it’s especially important we all stay connected with the outside world; whether it’s having Skype or a Zoom call with family and friends, joining a Talk and Support group through the RNIB Helpline (0303 123 9999) or through social media on your phone. Having regular contact with people helps us to stay feeling positive. Our website is also a great source of useful information which you may find useful www.rnib.org.uk We also post regular updates on a wide variety of sight loss related issues on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages.
RNIB Connect Radio and links to coronavirus updates.
If you also want to stay connected with the latest developments and information on coronavirus and sight loss, tune into RNIB Connect Radio, the UK’s radio station for blind and partially sighted people. It’s available on Freeview 730 and online www.rnibconnectradio.org.uk We hope you find this information helpful and please remember RNIB is here for you. If you have any questions, please get in touch on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk.
Ruth Hopkins, General Manager at Level Playing Field said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has led to many people with sight loss feeling particularly isolated. Level Playing Field values its longstanding relationship with the RNIB and we are happy to share the ways in which they can offer additional support at this time”.
“Something I hadn’t thought about until it was pointed out to me, is that Guide Dogs are not trained in social distancing. This is worth remembering when a guide dog handler is queuing or walking around a supermarket and we may need to be more pro-active ourselves to ensure the distances are maintained”.