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Children and family support

Our Children’s Department was established in 1999 when we realised there was a direct and specific need to support our younger members who are aged from birth to 19 years.

Photo of children doing a climbing activity

We also support their immediate families, including parents and siblings and anyone affected by their sight loss.

We currently have over 100 members, all of whom have a severe diagnosed eye condition. Approximately 75% of our younger members have other disabilities. Referrals are received from Local Authority Sensory Needs Teams, the Sensory Consortium Service or through self-referral.

Throughout the year, a comprehensive timetable of outings and activities is available for children, young people and their families with many events including sensory experiences. The events are free or heavily subsidised through the charity’s fundraising.

We organise a large and comprehensive range of events which include audio-described Pantomimes and West End theatre productions, with front row seats and touch tours. We have also visited many places of interest such as London Museums, Madam Tussauds, the London Eye, Cadbury World, theme parks and zoos with many trips including behind-the-scenes/tactile opportunities. Members have benefitted from cookery sessions with professional chefs, hands-on animal encounters, educational and music workshops, parties and several group holidays and mini-breaks.

Photo of children at one of our events

All new members receive a Children’s Department Information Guide which covers a wide range of topics relating to children who are sight impaired.

We have a wide range of facilities, including the use of a tandem cycle and access to a Mobile Sensory Unit located at our Head Office in Reading.

As part of our restructure we have created and are recruiting for a new full time position of a Children, young people and families officer. Until that vacancy is filled, and you  would like more information, please contact jade.cartwright@berkshirevision.org.uk

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