There is a vibrant and active community of organisations in Scotland that support blind and visually impaired people. Although there are many other groups and programs that help this community, this article highlights five organisations that work to improve and enrich the lives of blind and partially sighted people across the country. RealSAM products are available to demonstrate via RNIB Scotland, Triple Tap Tech and Visibility Scotland.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) was founded in 1868 by four blind and visually impaired leaders to improve access to Braille and promote employment for the blind. It is an organisation with branches throughout the United Kingdom. RNIB Scotland provides a variety of services through Eye Care/Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLO), including help and advice with eye conditions, welfare benefits, employment, mental health, childcare and local support groups. They also focus on improving job opportunities by training potential employees, supporting workers with visual impairments, and advising employers on how to create supportive workplaces. RNIB’s high-impact campaigns create cultural awareness and, specifically in Scotland, aim to address relevant accessibility challenges, such as improving public transportation.
Sight Scotland Veterans
Sight Scotland Veterans (formerly Scottish War Blinded) was founded in 1915 to support soldiers blinded in the First World War. Today, it continues its mission as a charity that provides blind and visually impaired veterans with lifelong support according to their individual needs. It also provides mental and emotional support and, in some locations, promotes social opportunities through many different activities.
Visibility Scotland was founded in Glasgow in 1870 to care for blind people in residential homes and sheltered workshops. It is a national organisation that provides various types of services in different locations, including rehabilitation, mobility training, assistive technology, devices and apps, benefits and entitlements, emotional support, and more. They also raise awareness about the challenges of dealing with sight loss and promote inclusion and accessibility.
Guide Dogs Scotland
Guide Dogs Scotland strives to promote the independence of blind and visually impaired people by providing guide dogs and mobility training, while advocating for accessibility and the rights of guide dog owners.
Triple Tap Tech
A Glasgow based charity set up by people with a visual impairment to help others with a visual impairment in relation to using technology.
Scottish Disability Sports (SDS)
Scottish Disability Sports breaks down barriers by promoting sports and physical activities for people with disabilities, including blind and partiially sighted people. They host events that allow children and adults who are normally excluded due to a disability to participate in sporting activities.
Whether you could benefit from these programs yourself or would like to help, check out these great organisations to connect with the blind and visually impaired community.
Royal National Institute of Blind People. (2022). Scotland. RNIB. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.rnib.org.uk/nations/scotland/
Sight Scotland Veterans. (n.d.). Our History. Sight Scotland Veterans. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://sightscotland.org.uk/veterans/about-us/our-history#:~:text=Established%20in%201915%20to%20support,life%20with%20a%20visual%20impairment
Scottish Disability Sport. (2022, September 30). About SDS. scottishdisabilitysport.com. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.scottishdisabilitysport.com/about-sds/
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. (2023). Guide dogs Scotland. Guide Dogs Site. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/guide-dogs-scotland/
Visibility Scotland. (2021, October 13). Our Services. Visibility Scotland. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://visibilityscotland.org.uk/our-services/
By Guenivir Kendrick with help from ChatGPT