A charity has won a major funding boost to help deaf and blind people secure employment.
North East Sensory Services (NESS) will receive £90,000 over the next five years from The Robertson Trust.
The money will go towards the organisation’s employment service in both Aberdeen and Dundee.
The specialist support helps deaf and blind people access paid employment.
It also assists those who have recently had a sensory loss diagnosis to remain in their current job. People with sensory impairments can also be supported in accessing training and education.
NESS said visually impaired people are badly underrepresented in the workplace, with two-thirds of those registered blind or partially sighted of working age not in employment.
And those with hearing difficulties are four times more likely to be unemployed than the general population, the charity said.
The money from the Robertson Trust works out as £18,000 per year for the service until 2026.
Caroline Rutherford, fundraising manager with NESS, said: “Enabling people with sensory impairments to find employment is a key way to increase independence.
“This isn’t just about helping blind and deaf people enter into education, training or work for the first time.
“It’s also about supporting those already in employment but who have perhaps experienced a deterioration or new diagnosis of sensory impairment.
“This generous donation will make a real difference to blind and deaf people right across the north east of Scotland, and we are extremely grateful to the Robertson Trust.
“The five-year commitment means we can be supported in the work we do now, especially as we help those recovering from the impacts of Covid, and keep that going for years to come.
“Increasing independence is one of the best things you can do for someone living with a sensory impairment.
“It’s the cornerstone of the work we do in ensuring people who have a visual or hearing impairment can still contribute to society and enjoy life in the same way as everyone else.”
Stewart MacGregor, funding manager at The Robertson Trust, added: “We are delighted to support North East Sensory Service’s employment service programme.
“As part of our 2020-30 strategy, we are committed to funding work which helps to build skills and supports people who may lack access to support to enter or remain in the job market.
“This is fundamental to our key thematic areas of interest, including educational and work pathways and financial and emotional wellbeing.
“We were impressed with NESS’s track record of providing effective practical support across north east Scotland. The organisation is a sector leader for delivering joint sensory services and we very much look forward to seeing how this project progresses in the coming years.”
For more information about NESS, click here.