Back Row L-R : Alan Clarke, Allan Ewart, Chartie Mack, Sir Clive Booth, David Mann, Walter Rader, Paddy McKibbin, Gordon Moore, Barry Macaulay, Andrew Murdock. Front row L-R : Cllr Jenny Palmer, Lady Margaret Booth, June Best, Geraldine Dougal, Katie Leach, Claire Patience, Karen Toogood, Kathryn McCamley.
THE Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery Good Cause distributors, has visited Lisburn to hear about the impact of funding on an innovative project tackling the isolation and safety fears of blind and partially sighted local people.
The Big Lottery Fund's UK Chair, Sir Clive Booth, visited the Royal National Institute of Blind People's (RNIB NI) Lisburn in Focus project which is working closely with blind and partially sighted people to improve their heaiteh and well-being and help them feel more secure at home and in the community.
The project, which RNIB N1 is running in partnership with Guide Dogs, Lisburn City Centre Management (LCCM) and Lisburn City Council, was awarded the "Innovate" category prize in the poster display at The Vision UK 2010 conference which took place in Birmingham in June. This award is in recognition of novel approaches towards service delivery and development.
RNIB NI Campaigns Team Leader David Mann, said: "About 20% of blind and partially sighted people don't leave their homes on their own. This often means they stay in their house a lot, which can often lead to depression and lack of conftdence.
"Poor sight can lead to vulnerability, loss of confidence, isolation and
with poorer mental or physical health as a further consequence.
"The Lisburn in Focus project will make big changes to the lives of an estimated 3,000 people with sight loss problems in the Lisburn City Council area and many more who visit. We want Lisburn to be recognised as the place to shop, relax, stay and do business in."
He continued: "It was great to meet with Mr Booth and Mr Rader and for them to see how Lottery funding is spent in reality and for them to hear first hand the benefits this type of grant can bring and how peoples' quality of life can be improved."
Lisburn in Focus is using a grant of £740,000 from the Big Lottery Fund's Safe and Well programme to develop a range of groundbreaking services including a navigational system called 'React'.
This unique system will involve a series of transmitter boxes at fixed points throughout the streets of Lisburn City Centre which trigger spoken messages when a person carrying a special fob is within range. It will give directions to key landmarks.
The project also offers a tailored Home Security Package - combining local, up-to-date information and equipment - to try and ensure local blind and partially sighted people feel safe in their own homes.
And one of the key goals is to deliver free Visual Awareness Training for to up to 5,000 people in the Lisburn City Council area — people in businesses, service providers, schools and community groups. It will increase their confidence and knowledge in helping people who are blind or partially sighted.
During his visit the UK Chair, who was joined on the visit by Walter Rader, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, enjoyed a tour of Rawdon House, where Lisburn in Focus is based and shares office space with Lisburn City Centre Management and got the chance to meet with staff and beneficiaries and learn about the vital support the project is offering.