Issue - meetings

Visual Impairment Support to Children & Adults in Flintshire

Meeting: 02/05/2014 - Joint Lifelong Learning and Social & Health Care OSC - Expired 07/05/15 (Item 15)

15 Visual Impairment Support to Children & Adults in Flintshire pdf icon PDF 39 KB


(a)       That the continued provision of services to those with a visual impairment within Flintshire be supported; and


(b)       That officers raise the profile of sensory impairment through the Council and external bodies of which it is part.


The Director of Lifelong Learning introduced the report outlining current provision of support to children and adults with a visual impairment in Flintshire.


Ms Ann Hood provided an overview of the work of the North East Wales Sensory Support Service for children and young people across Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.  The key driver for the service was derived from national policy of a collaborative approach and enabled specialist services to be delivered with increased flexibility and shared resources.


In response to a query from Councillor Paul Shotton, the Director of Community Services confirmed the availability of the Talking Book service and explained that services for adults could involve referrals to partner Ophthalmologists to provide various necessary equipment.  The report outlined the support and advice provided by Vision Support who played a key role in the service.


Clarification was given to Councillor Hilary McGuill on ‘Loan to Learn’ books which could be downloaded from the website and the provision of textbooks available through the sub-regional service or schools.  On the availability of software to help those with visual impairments, the Director of Lifelong Learning explained that software licences would need to be paid for by schools as this was a delegated responsibility.  Ringfenced funding to schools would need to be allocated to any equipment required, such as handrails, however equipment for young people with a Statement of Educational Needs would be provided by the Council.


Councillor Peter Curtis thanked the team for the report, particularly in relation to the psychological effects arising from the loss of sight with which he empathised, but felt that more could be done to encourage others to become more aware of those with visual impairments.  As examples, he suggested the provision of computers to those who could not afford them, the use of ‘talking’ buses and encouraging retailers to think more creatively about their customers’ needs by providing visual aids.  He went on to refer to his request to reinstate the disability sub-group mentioned earlier in the meeting as this had generated a great deal of positive work about visual impairment.


Ms Hood advised that the sub-regional service provided mobility support for young people and helped them to understand travel timetables.


The Director of Community Services agreed with Councillor Curtis’ comments on encouraging awareness of the wider business community and agreed to raise these with the Local Service Board sub-group on health, independence and well-being.  However, administrative capacity issues continued to be an issue in reinstating the disability sub-group.


Councillor Nancy Matthews referred to an increase in cases of age-related macular degeneration and felt that a central equipment store was needed.  Ms Hood explained that a central budget was held by the sub-regional service for equipment to help young people in school environments, however it was acknowledged that some pupils would opt not to pursue this.


When asked by Councillor McGuill about raising awareness of services available, Ms Hood said that information was displayed on Moodle and could also be accessed through officers in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15