Published On: 11th November 2022

The Access Foundation Awards £43,953 Grant to Middlesex Association for the Blind

The Access Foundation has approved a grant to fund a ‘travelling IT trainer’ to provide blind people throughout North London with the skills and training they need to make use of technology to reconnect with the outside world, carry out daily activities independently and improve their mental wellbeing.

The Middlesex Association for the Blind offers holistic support for people with sight loss in North London.  The relaunch of the IT Training Service aims to provide a truly personalised service to ensure all their beneficiaries can join the online world, reducing isolation which was an extreme problem experienced during the pandemic.

Technology has advanced to such a degree that even people with sight loss can now use mobile phones as effectively as sighted people can, as long as they know how to activate and use the talk back or voice over facilities on their device.  The problem is no longer that the technology is lacking, the challenge with being visually impaired is that without the right training, people with sight loss cannot find the buttons they need to press.

The Travelling IT Project will move around 9 London boroughs visiting people with sight loss in their homes.  The trainer will help clients to get online in the quickest and most effective way possible, using whatever devices they may have at hand, or advising them in about which devices to purchase.

Beneficiaries will be assisted with connectivity and online training, which may vary from learning to use Whatsapp to online banking or shopping. This project offers practical assistance where it is needed most and will decrease the digital exclusion felt by people who are visually impaired.

Once client Jayantibala Dave who is slowly losing her eye-sight said:

“I used to love reading before I lost my eye sight. Now, with this computer package that magnifies, I hope to be able to read again.  And if I can learn enough about the IT, then when my eye sight goes I will be able to listen to audio books.  Reading books, and travelling was what gave my life meaning. I was very, very depressed about it all when I realised that I would be totally blind one day.  But now I am more positive and this will help me.”