A brand new community has been launched this week by RNIB, to bring together people with sight loss from across the UK.
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) has launched RNIB Connect, the UK’s biggest community for people with sight loss. The new community will give members the opportunity to connect with each other, share information and offer mutual support.
RNIB, the UK’s leading sight loss charity, believes the new community will help reduce social isolation. According to the charity’s recent My Voice research, four in10 blind and partially sighted people feel cut off from the outside world.
RNIB Connect is free to join and will be led by local elected blind and partially sighted people. They will work with societies and clubs in their area to organise social events, telephone discussion groups, online forums and other activities based on the interests of their local members. RNIB Connect members will receive regular e-newsletters and a new monthly magazine focusing on areas of interest, such as health and well being, work, leisure and technology.
There are already 24,000 members of the new community, achieved by bringing together existing RNIB and action communities. RNIB hopes thousands more will sign up.
The founding members of RNIB Connect believe that by creating a bigger, stronger and more diverse community, blind and partially sighted people will be able to gain confidence and support from each other and campaign for change.
Padma Cheriyan, who is partially sighted and is a volunteer campaigner for RNIB, said:
“I’m excited because the larger the network, the greater the support for campaigns which means there’s a higher chance of success for the campaign. We’re hoping to reach the grass roots level.”
Will Williams, is partially sighted and a member of RNIB’s customer council. He is looking forward to RNIB Connect.
Will said: “One of the real values of RNIB Connect will be the peer to peer support. Living with sight loss can have a profound impact on you emotionally and practically. Being able to connect with other blind and partially sighted people as part of a single community is a tremendous asset in living with sight loss.”
Fazilet Hadi, Group Director Engagement at RNIB, said:
“RNIB Connect is all about putting blind and partially sighted people at the heart of everything we do. Everyone who takes part will be able to meet like-minded people, find help and support and have access to opportunities which could improve day-to-day lives.
“RNIB Connect is a richly diverse community of individuals, and because it is led by blind and partially sighted people, it will be able to more effectively reach out to people with sight loss, who are lonely and isolated.