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About Wales Council of the Blind

"I have found all my contacts with WCB over the years to be so useful and professional." - Rehabilitation Officer for VI.

Wales Council of the Blind is the umbrella agency representing vision impairment within Wales. We work to campaign, lobby and support the improvement of services for people with sight loss. WCB provides a platform vision impaired people to raise their concerns and wishes.

WCB's Articles of Association sets out a way of letting their members contribute to setting priorities and work streams. An important part of the new structure is the creation of Regional Steering Groups to inform WCB's work. The four new Regional Steering Groups will be established across Wales, covering North, West, South East and South Central.

Each group intends to offer a platform for local clubs, charities, statutory services and people with sight loss to get together and contribute to directing the work and resources of WCB. It's likely that priorities may vary from region to region, and we want that to be reflected in the work of WCB.

WCB's Board of Trustees will include four representatives - one nominated from each of the four regional steering groups - to bring the views of the regions to the table.

What does Wales Council of the Blind do?

Latest WCB news.

Latest Roundup available

The latest edition, focusing on support during the Coronavirus pandemic, is available for download here.

You can access all previous editions of Round on the downloads page.

Welsh national disability organisations raise concerns about the impact of the corona virus epidemic on disabled people living with pre-existing medical conditions

Wales Council of the Blind has joined other national disability organisations to raise concerns about the impact of the corona virus pandemic on disabled people living with pre-existing medical conditions.

They have released the following statement: Disability Wales, All Wales People First, Wales Council of the Blind, All Wales Parents and Carers Forum, Learning Disability Wales and Mencap Cymru call on the UK and Welsh Governments to act decisively to safeguard the well-being and survival of disabled people and others categorised as being at high risk of contracting the virus in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely concerned that necessary measures to minimise fatalities in these groups are not being taken.

In particular we are concerned that:

Taken together these factors lead us to believe that disabled people are likely to face harm not just through the Coronavirus itself but through the general strain on the health and social care system as well as wider societal barriers. The UK Government has announced £5 billion in emergency funding for public services to alleviate the pressures resulting from the Coronavirus.

As organisations representing the interests of disabled people, we call for urgent support from this fund to ensure social care delivery and provision or accessible information and support is adequately resourced in Wales. We urge both the UK and Welsh Governments to intervene urgently to ensure disabled people are not treated as unavoidable casualties in this pandemic.

For more information and media enquiries please contact Grace Krause at Learning Disability Wales, email grace.krause@ldw.org.uk or phone 029 20 681160.

Corona virus outbreak

WCB would like to ensure its members have access to all the information they require to remain safe during the Coronavirus outbreak. This page has detailed information about services.

The Macular Society announced as Charity of the Year

We would like to congratulate the Macular Society for winning the Association of Optometrists' Charity of the Year.

The Society was nominated for the award after launching a new five-year strategy, committing to becoming the largest funder of eye research in the sight loss sector.

Further information is available on their website: Macular Society

WCB Hosting RSBC’s new Family Engagement Worker for South Wales

The Royal Society for Blind Children has recently appointed a new Family Engagement Worker covering South Wales. Ellie Russell, who has a background in disability, mental health and wellbeing in education, will be based part-time in WCB’s Cardiff Office.

Ellie will be providing support to families and their children and young people with sight loss (aged 0-25). If you would be interested in finding out more, visit the RSBC website or contact her directly on 07790 530557 or ellie.russell@rsbc.org.uk.

State of the Nation reports on services to people with sight loss

The Wales Vision Forum has led on two state of the nation reports for people with sight loss in Wales.

Action 10 of the Prioritised Welsh Government Eye Care Plan Actions is to work with Regional Partnership Boards and Local Authorities to support the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Key to this is the provision of rehabilitation and habilitation services in every authority.

Local Authorities must consider how they provide good quality services for blind and partially sighted people. We would like the recommendations in these reports to be adopted as part of the AreaPlans to address shortcomings in service provision. Furthermore, good quality support for blind and partially sighted people will increase their employability, improve their financial independence and increase their contribution to the economy.

The reports are available from http://www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/downloads/state_of_the_nation_services_for_adults_with_sight_loss_in_wales.docx and http://www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/downloads/state_of_the_nation_services_for_children_and_young_people_with_sight_loss_in_wales.docx

State of the Nation - services for adults with sight loss in Wales.

This report, prepared by the Wales Vision forum, was the subject of a BBC report on rehabilitation services. Service users and rehabilitation officers explained the benefits of the rehab profession and called for the profession to be fully staffed and available throughout Wales. The BBC page is www.bbc.co.uk/news where the videos are also available.

The State of the Nation Report is available from Wales Council of the Blind on request.

Meaningless sight tests for benefit claimants causing anxiety

Wales Council of the Blind has raised concerns that people with sight loss are missing out on benefits because assessors from organisations such as Capita are carrying out vision tests which they are not qualified to perform. Eye tests should only be done by optometrists or ophthalmologists.

The story has been featured on the BBC Wales website and you can read it here. It was also the subject of a report in the TV programme 'Wales Live', which included an interview with WCB's Director, individuals who had been affected, and an optometrist from Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC). You can see the report on the BBC i-player here - it starts 18 minutes and 15 seconds into the programme.

WCB will continue to pursue this issue with the departments involved.

WCB welcomes continuation of SenCom service

Newport City Council has agreed to extend the Gwent SenCom service for children with sensory loss until at least 2022. The decision has been welcomed by parents, Wales Council of the Blind and other sight loss charities. Owen Williams, WCB's Director, issued the following statement:

'The sight loss sector in Wales has campaigned as a single voice against Newport’s decision to withdraw from SenCom. We are delighted that the Gwent authorities have decided to commit jointly to the continuation of the best practice SenCom regional service, until 2022.

'We will await the terms and conditions of the review and would like to see any review led by an impartial chair with no pre-determined agenda. We would like to see the chair have knowledge of SenCom and the invaluable services and support that they provide to children and young people across Gwent.

'We also hope that any review will enable proper consultation this time, so that children and their families and carers can make a meaningful contribution to the design of a specialist service that best meets their needs'.

You can read a report on the decision on the BBC website.


More information.