Charity for visually impaired 'could drop services' due to lack of volunteers

Seescape say they need more volunteers to sign up to help over 3,000 people with sight loss in the community.

A charity that has been helping blind and visually impaired people in Fife say some of their services are under threat of closure due to a lack of volunteers.  

Seescape supports more than 3,000 people with sight loss and relies on volunteers to help run activity sessions and social groups.

Amanda Duncan was diagnosed with the genetic condition Retinal Dystrophy, which has left her with severely blurred vision. 

She said her husband helps her with daily tasks, like cooking and buying clothes as she can no longer see the sizes on the labels.  

But since joining the Seescape group in Kirkcaldy, she’s found new friends who also have sight loss.

She told STV News: “It’s just nice to get out and socialise and not feel like I’m the only person who has got sight loss.  

“There’s a room full of people with different sight losses and we all support each other when we’re here and we like a good laugh. We do like to have fun.  

“We can exchange stories about how we can do things for ourselves and about aids we can get to help.” 

The charity currently has 40 volunteers who help run sessions, but they need to double that number to ensure groups can continue.

Ian Sloan is Seescape’s lead volunteer for the Kirkcaldy Social Group.

Seescape hosts social meet-ups and activity groups

He said: “In this group we’re down two volunteers and one of the other ladies is about to move to Stonehaven so we’re going to lose her too.  

“So yes it is getting a bit critical with the number of volunteers because obviously we’ve got to maintain ratios with people with visual impairment.” 

Without volunteers Lesley Carcary, the CEO of the charity, says there could be implications about the type of services they can offer.

She said: “For some of our services we get funding from various agencies to deliver these services, and if we can’t commit to those targets then unfortunately the funding may be pulled. 

“Some of our activities are run by volunteers so we have things like walking groups, social groups and activity based classes and because they’re run by volunteers if we don’t have these people to deliver these services then unfortunately they will need to stop.  

“Which would have a devastating impact on our clients who rely on these activities for many of their social needs.  

“Quite often it could be the only people they speak to during the week. So it would be a huge loss to our clients if we had to stop them.” 

More information about volunteering can be found on the Seescape website.

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