The ‘Big Society’ hits West Essex

INCREASINGLY charities, community groups and voluntary organisations are playing a vital part in supporting people in their communities.

Working together in partnership, such organisations are aiming to help more people who find themselves in real long term need or simply require advice and support temporarily.

This is what The Big Society is all about and it’s happening locally. Two local charities, Support 4 Sight and Crossroads Care Uttlesford are teaming up to provide services helping both Visually Impaired people and their carers.

Support 4 Sight (Essex) is delighted to announce that it will be hosting an information day, entitled ‘Caring for the Carers’, in association with Crossroads Care Uttlesford, a local caring organisation.

The information morning will be held on Tuesday February 22, at the Support 4 Sight Resource Centre, at 2&4 George Street, Saffron Walden, from 10am-2pm.

Support 4 Sight is a sight loss organisation that works with visually impaired people. By teaming up with Crossroads Care, both charities are collaborating to support carers of people with sight loss.

During the morning, support workers from both charities will offer advice and information to carers about how best to care for visually impaired people, as well as the importance of looking after yourself as a carer.

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Carers are the largest source of care and support for Visually Impaired people. Many people don’t see themselves as ‘carers’, rather regard themselves as just helping to look after a partner, friend or a loved one.

Becoming a carer can be bewildering, confusing and frightening, but Support 4 Sight wants more people to recognise that they are carers of a Visually Impaired person.

Support 4 Sight’s Resource Centre and volunteer manager Paul Atkins said: “We are delighted that Crossroads Care is working with Support 4 Sight to raise awareness of the importance of the caring role for our Vision Impaired members.

“If you would like to find out more about sight loss and caring for your family members, please visit our centre or come to the open day.”

Crossroads Care Uttlesford, who has recently relocated to an office within the Citizens Advice Bureau, Barnards Yard, Saffron Walden, will join support workers from Support 4 Sight for the information morning and be on hand to answer queries relating to carers’ issues.

As one in 10 people in England and Wales are carers, Crossroads Carers Uttlesford services include advice on caring issues and the provision of respite care.

Manager of Crossroads Care Uttlesford Heather Eldred commented: “We look forward to working in partnership with Support 4 Sight, it’s vital that we reach carers within Uttlesford needing respite or support from their caring role.

“Often carers become isolated forsaking their own needs to care for loved ones, with regular visits from fully trained care support workers carers are able have a much needed break, for further information contact us on 01799 513496.”

Another issue affecting Vision Impaired people is the digital switchover for televisions which will be taking place from March 2011.

The analogue signal will be switched off, which means that many television sets will no longer work. If you are not sure your television will still work after this date, and are over 75 years old, registered blind or partially sighted, you could qualify for help with the switchover.

Please come along to the centre, where we can give information about the digital switchover, along with useful helpline numbers that you can contact to see if you qualify for assistance from The Switchover Help Scheme.

For any more information please call the Support 4 Sight Resource Centre on 01799 523700 or come into the Centre at 2&4 George Street, Saffron Walden Essex CB10 1EQ, which is open from 9.30am till 2.30pm.