Hello! I am Rachel your local Independent Living Coordinator from Leeds Vision Consortium (a service funded by Leeds City Council) offering support services for blind and partially sighted adults.
I am able to offer advice and assist you with practical issues such as filling in forms, applying for concessions, and discussing daily living products. I can support you to overcome difficulties you may have in your day to day life, how to meet new people, access interests and hobbies, and to get around safely both inside your home and outdoors. I also provide specialist support with financial queries; I carry out Benefit Checks and can assist you in applying for disability benefits. Contact me and the Leeds Vision Consortium team on (0113) 386 2888.
To give an example of what I do, let me tell you about a customer who I have had the pleasure of working with, and is now well on the way to becoming a confident and independent member of the community, now volunteering with Leeds Vision Consortium offering peer support to others with sight loss, and a strong member of our women’s social group.
This customer suddenly lost her sight whilst pregnant, understandably a very stressful situation. With practical support, emotional support and joining a confidence building course called Head Space, we slowly worked towards a positive and independent future. After taking part in the Living with Sight Loss course delivered by Leeds Vision Consortium, I also introduced other sight impaired mums with young children to discuss challenges, share tips (that only mums know) and recommend support groups.
“Rachel took away the stress of forms, benefits and paperwork, and having one person to contact helped tackle any issues.” By helping to secure new suitable housing, we worked towards becoming independently mobile, recreating routine in the household, and regaining confidence in the kitchen.
There are no longer worries about the future. Focussing on independent travel, which naturally comes with challenges, she is determined to go out more and do more, setting herself mini goals, such as visiting the local hairdressers alone and looking forward to attending her local children’s centre for Baby Play Groups. Certainly a highlight of the year for me!
I also work with and support a lot of older people with age-related eye conditions.
A gentleman I recently worked with who had additional medical needs was successfully awarded disability benefits from which he plans to employ a cleaner and a Carer, drastically improving his wellbeing. I also helped him use his microwave more efficiently and independently by safely repositioning it, adding tactile bump-ons, and he now receives meals delivered to his home. By accessing transport services the gentleman now attends a local lunch club where he enjoys meeting new people. I often help older people access their local community groups, and I have been visiting local Neighbourhood Networks to develop ways of working together. Perhaps if you have reduced vision but already attend a community group and would like to have a chat (over a nice cup of tea) about difficulties you may be experiencing, let your Neighbourhood Network know and I’d happily come along!
This post was written by Rachel Moore using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.