How are we doing under lockdown? An update…

In April we reviewed our new way of working in this news item. We’re pleased to say that things are going well and we are as busy as ever supporting 60 people across Kirklees with sight loss.

Since March 2020, KVIN has changed the way we support people with visual impairments due to lockdown enforced during the Corona Virus outbreak. We are unable to provide our usual group drop-in session, but we have worked hard to keep in touch and provide support via group chats, phone calls, emails, messaging and doing shopping.

In April, we ran 13 group chat sessions via zoom with a total of 23 people with VI attending with an overall attendance of 131. On average, our service users attended 10 sessions and spent 7 hours 3 minutes during April peer supporting each other.

‘I am registered blind and don’t know how I would have managed during this lock down period without the support of KVIN who through their zoom chats have provided me with invaluable social interaction as well as tech support.’

As well as providing the group chats, we have used Zoom to provide technology tuition and problem solving.

Sammi, one of our service users, has wanted to learn how to use the screen reading software Jaws. She now has a weekly virtual support session with Dan, one of our IT workers every week.

Sammi says, “I am wanting to learn how to use JAWS, so I am able to complete a college course and to learn more skills. In the future my ideal job would be a receptionist, I like people so ideally would love to be working in a front of house role, but I do need to improve on my skills such as typing and reading and responding to emails so I’m finding it really useful having these sessions. Having the confidence to use technology will help me feel more like everyone else when I do find a job.”

Additional support we are providing includes; phone calls where we can offer a friendly chat, making sure everyone stays well and included in what we are doing, help with a technology issue such as a phone that isn’t working or support to try new technology such as a new app. We are also providing similar issue support via email and messages.
We have a very active WhatsApp group where many of our service users can support each other, monitored by staff and volunteers.

We have supported service users remotely via the following methods during April;

  • Telephone: 151
  • Email: 21
  • Food shopping: 14
  • Equipment delivery: 3
  • Other*: 78

*Other support includes WhatsApp group chat support, text messages and social media contact.

Here is a photo of one of our Zoom chats with a mixture of staff, volunteers and service users joining together;
A screen shot showing the Zoom Chat with video screens of everyone joining in.