Visit our website at http://www.sightlinevnw.co.uk.
Be grateful. Be VERY grateful. You can read this, and not even think twice.
What if you couldn't? What if suddenly your eyes blurred, and you couldn't read any more? Or maybe you could just struggle through with the assistance of a powerful magnifying glass.
Who would you call? Who could you call?
You could call Sightline Vision.
Sightline Vision is a registered UK charity (www.sightlinevnw.co.uk), offering a nationwide, free, and confidential first-line point-of-call for people suffering from sight loss. Sightline does not duplicate, but augments the services provided by other charities. When others are closed, in the evenings and at weekends, Sightline is there to provide a caring ear, and if appropriate, point callers to other charities and public services who can provide more help. Families, friends and neighbours are also welcome to call.
Uniquely, the trained volunteers manning Sightline's helpline are themselves visually impaired and so have a deep understanding and insight into the difficulties being experienced by the callers. Sightline's very special service inspires callers with confidence and hope for the future.
Sightline Vision (North West) was started by Eileen Green, in July 2000, and became a registered Charity in 2001. Working for a well-known Building Society, life was normal for Eileen, until one day she was diagnosed with Myopic Macular Degeneration. Despite help in the early stages, Eileen still felt isolated, with no-one to talk to on a personal level as time went by.
But Eileen considers herself lucky, because she had a loving and supporting husband and family. Even so, words cannot describe the depths of despair and frustration Eileen endured through some very dark times.
Eileen realized, as you do now, that something had to be done. She knew that the deepest darkest times could come at any time, day or night. She quickly found there was no real service for people in these difficulties. So, on her own, in her own home, she self-funded and set up a phone-line service which would provide a first line of support for other people suffering sight loss. Eileen was limited in what she could do, and had to initially restrict her service to three evenings a week. Her goal was to comfort and encourage sufferers, and to direct them towards other people who could help.
Over time Eileen built up her expertise and knowledge of the services available so she could not only comfort and encourage sufferers of sight loss, but also provide concrete assistance by directing callers to people who could provide direct aid.
Eileen's enthusiasm and warmth also inspired others to join her, and over 13 difficult years, Eileen built Sightline Vision into the recognized charity it is today, with Sue Townsend (of Adrian Mole fame) as a patron, funding from the UK Lottery, a small office manned by Eileen and a part-time assistant; 17 visually-impaired volunteers manning the phone line with 5 more being trained and 2 awaiting training, and service now moving to every evening year-round.
Some great news is that Sightline has been allotted three years of £60,000 per year Lottery funding. However this funding is restricted to only paying salaries and core costs. Further, in order to qualify for the Lottery funding, Sightline must raise another £8,000 per year. No doubt about it, this is great news -- but Sightline's purpose is to serve visually impaired people and their loved ones, not to provide jobs for administrators. So it is great news - with a twist. Sightline does not exist to just establish offices for their own sake. Therefore, Sightline needs to raise funds which can be spent on bettering their true charitable purposes, as well as to fulfil the qualifications for the Lottery funding.
At this time, Sightline needs to raise an absolute minimum of £8,000 per year for three years, and that is why the goal for this round of fundraising on gogetfunding.com is set at £8,000. Sightline could certainly use more funds than this, but wants to walk before it runs, and does not want to collect donations that it cannot responsibly use.
So what will Sightline do with your donations?
- We know we are missing calls, and we want to improve our phone systems and train more phone-line volunteers to take those calls. Sightline doesn't just help those people suffering from visual impairment, our volunteers also take calls from family, friends and neighbours who just don't know what to do to help their loved ones. We don't want to miss even one of those calls.
- There are many people out there suffering from visual impairment, some of them dealing with it completely on their own. We need to get the word out to pharmacies, doctors' surgeries, dentists, schools, social workers, opticians and anyone who might come in contact with a person who is struggling to come to terms with sight loss. We need media exposure to get the word out, and although we plan to take advantage of every free option, sometimes we need to pay.
We're not looking for a lot of money, and with your help, we will reach our goal.
If you can't give money, please, at least make sure you know of the services offered by SightLine. Tell people about the charity. If you know someone suffering from visual impairment, let them know Sightline is here. Give them our helpline number. 0800 587 2252.
Or if you know of services in your area for visually impaired people, drop us an email or give us a call. We'd love to add that information to our book of resources so that we can help more effectively when someone next phones us from your area.
Visit our website at http://www.sightlinevnw.co.uk.
Thanks for reading -- and don't forget to be thankful that you can.