The Visionary Awards were launched in 2010 to highlight local sight loss charities’ achievements and to spread good practice throughout the sector. The intention was to draw attention to the talent and innovation which is being employed every day to improve the lives of people with sight loss, so that new ways of helping people could be replicated by local charities all over the UK.
The winners and runners up benefit enormously and not just from the £1,000 prize money. They receive recognition for their leadership which boosts confidence and morale. Recognising and celebrating their excellence also helps gain local recognition, and helps in funding bids and in reaching out to more people with sight loss.
Forest Sensory Services won the “The Best Small Local Society” award for 2013
Forest Sensory Services has only one member of staff and a small band of willing and enthusiastic volunteers. They receive no regular income or funding from statutory bodies. Despite this they are a one stop shop for all those suffering sensory loss in the Forest of Dean.
Currently they have over 300 people on their database . Services range from providing low vision assessments, including issuing of magnifiers, training in eccentric viewing, and a range of classes including talking computers, craft, reading groups alongside social peer groups, a lunch club, social afternoons and a Macular support group.
They have also recently introduced a buddying scheme to help people gain the confidence to participate fully in their own communities.