Leading sight loss charity Beacon is aiming to work closely with visually impaired people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to better support them and improve services. This follows several months of discussion with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) who has been providing some services to date in the area.

Both charities support those living with sight loss and Beacon, as part of its forward plans and desire to reach more people living with sight loss, is now bringing its expertise and experience to Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. To help support this aim Beacon is also planning to inject further funding in services and open some new work and volunteer opportunities. The future mix of services will still include those that RNIB will continue to offer, such as their helpline and on-line services, and those of more local partner organisations with additional support from Beacon.

Arwyn Jones, CEO at Beacon, said: “We know that there is considerable scope to improve services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. This means talking to the very people who use services and find out what works and what doesn’t. With both organisations’ knowledge and resources, we can transform the way people living with sight loss are supported. This will take time but there is a commitment to transform what, when, where and how services are delivered – working in close collaboration with a range of local and national partners to do so.”

Both charities have also reassured service users that the existing Hanley Resource Centre will remain open for the foreseeable future.

Mohammed Islam, Beacon Operations Director, added: “This is an exciting time at Beacon, how we deliver our services is changing thanks to our customers and their feedback. Beacon has already helped many people living with sight loss learn new skills, become less socially isolated and live more independently. We want to replicate this in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent by ensuring the services we deliver are accessible, affordable and consistent.”

Beacon and RNIB are working closely to ensure customers are kept updated and will have the opportunity to voice their views on plans. Both charities will also make further announcements in the near future once an agreement is reached on the details and further discussions have taken place with staff, customers, volunteers and local partners.