Coronavirus (COVID-19) update As per the Government’s advice, everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For more information on this along with guidance on how to stop the infection spreading visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 Support Available in each SLC area We have summarised what support is available for blind and partially sighted people, along with the contact details for more information, in each of the SLC areas. Download this for your area via the links below: Birmingham Black Country Bristol Gloucestershire Greater Manchester Merseyside Supermarkets and shopping We know blind and partially sighted people are struggling to access supermarkets, and unable to find online shopping slots. For a summary of what the main supermarket chains are doing to help disabled customers, including dedicated shopping times, deliveries and food boxes (Morrisons) please visit the RNIB webpage Priority online shopping slots are being given to people classed as ‘vulnerable’, however the list being used to define this group is based on vulnerability to coronavirus, and doesn’t yet take other barriers to shopping or accessing services into account. Social distancing is making it much harder for blind and partially sighted people to shop because many people rely on a guide who might not be part of their household, and some stores are also changing their layout or queuing systems to encourage people to stay two metres apart. Thomas Pocklington Trust, RNIB, Guide Dogs and Visionary are lobbying Government to urgently work with supermarkets to ensure that people with vision impairment are considered a priority group able to access online shopping. Do you need help from an NHS volunteer? If you are currently not supported and need some help with shopping, a prescription collection or a friendly chat then NHS Volunteer Responders are ready to help. Visit the NHS Volunteer Responders website Accessible communications Together with other Sight loss sector organisations, Thomas Pocklington Trust is lobbying the Prime Minister’s Office, highlighting the inaccessible government updates on coronavirus. The Government has consistently been sharing vital public health information and other updates in a way that excludes people with sensory or complex disabilities, despite reminders from many disability organisations. Read our open letter to the PM How you can help: Raise these issues with your MP Four easy steps to send your MP a message: 1) Go to www.writetothem.com and enter your postcode 2) Select your MP and write your message 3) Send 4) You will receive a confirmation email – click this and your letter is sent. Online petition 22,653 individuals signed the petition asking the government to work with supermarkets to ensure blind and partially sighted people have access to vital supplies. We are waiting for a response from Defra. Thank you for your joint support. Your questions answered Blind and partially sighted people have been contacting us with a range of questions related to COVID-19. We’ve come together with other sight loss sector organisations to share these FAQs which will be frequently updated: www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/Covid-19 We have a pulled together an outline on what each of the national sight loss charities are doing during the pandemic with links to their websites and how to get in touch. You can download this here: National sight loss charities advice pages Guidance for self-employed individuals Many blind and partially sighted people are self-employed and are currently being adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This short guide outlines the support the government has put in place and some tips, you might find helpful, on managing finances. Support for self-employed guide Handy apps during COVID-19 Technology is so important for enabling blind and partially sighted people to live the life they want to lead, TPT has created a list of accessible apps and solutions for greater independence, support, communication and entertainment for blind and partially sighted people. Take a look at our handy guide here. Can you help? The NHS is looking for volunteers in a number of roles. This includes collecting and delivering shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating; providing transport home for patients who are medically fit for discharge from hospital; transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites or simply checking in via telephone with people who are self isolating. If you think you could help, register here: www.goodsamapp.org/NHS Stay healthy. Stay safe.