Moorvision is the only support group in Devon for families of blind and visually impaired children and parents. Sight loss is not a common disability of working age people and an even less common disability of childhood. In all parts of the UK, sight loss can therefore be extremely isolating as it is hard to meet others in the same position. However in Devon, such a large rural county, this problem is greatly exacerbated, especially for those who cannot drive. Most of the new families that join Moorvision say that it is the first time they have ever met another visually impaired child or parent.

During normal circumstances Moorvision arrange a yearly programme of heavily subsidised and accessible activities, talks and residentials covering all areas of sport, education, social and leisure opportunities for all age groups - babies and toddlers, children, young teens, young adults and parents. The tell us the families who take part in their activities report back that they and their children benefit from improved confidence, increase in skills, information gathering and enjoyment and suffer from less isolation and anxiety as a result.

This summer was a different story. They told us:

"Anyone with a child at home is struggling to keep up with their child's education, fitness and entertainment. Families of blind and partially sighted children (40% of whom have other disabilities too) are finding this even harder. Their children cannot watch and copy kids 'keep fit' on TV, parents are struggling to adapt school work into braille and large print and are finding it very hard to keep them entertained. This is having a detrimental effect on the child and family's mental health and wellbeing."

With a small grant from our emergency fund Moorvision were able to ease some of this pressure by sending out large print, braille and tactile materials to help make a difference to their young members.

Moor Vision
Moorvision Managing Director Laura prepares braille materials for their members during lockdown

Moorvision though, are another charity carrying out life-changing work in Devon that faces financial uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.

In April they told us:

"We have lost much of our fundraising for nearly 6 months We are also having to work very hard to get refunds from activity providers, themselves in trouble, and this is a huge blow to us. As soon as we are able to meet with others, we will want to get families together to make up for what they have missed. We also anticipate a greater demand on our family support service.

"Moorvision is a very small charity with just two part time staff. We have no legacies, property income or any other source of funding at the moment. We have just lost all of our runners in the London Marathon and the Virgin ASICS 10K, we have lost a number of our regular donors and all of our Easter fundraising that we were relying on. We have had to put other grant applications on hold. We are able to work from home but still have to pay for rent, wages, mobile phone contract etc."

To read about our 3-phased coronavirus funding response please click here.

Read more stories here.

September 2020