About Wales Council of the Blind
"I have found all my contacts with WCB over the years to be so useful and professional." - Rehabilitation Officer for VI.
Wales Council of the Blind is the umbrella agency representing vision impairment within Wales. We work to campaign, lobby and support the improvement of services for people with sight loss. WCB provides a platform vision impaired people to raise their concerns and wishes.
WCB's Articles of Association sets out a way of letting their members contribute to setting priorities and work streams. An important part of the new structure is the creation of Regional Steering Groups to inform WCB's work. The four new Regional Steering Groups will be established across Wales, covering North, West, South East and South Central.
Each group intends to offer a platform for local clubs, charities, statutory services and people with sight loss to get together and contribute to directing the work and resources of WCB. It's likely that priorities may vary from region to region, and we want that to be reflected in the work of WCB.
WCB's Board of Trustees will include four representatives - one nominated from each of the four regional steering groups - to bring the views of the regions to the table.
What does Wales Council of the Blind do?
- We work to assist the Welsh Government by participating in and facilitating consultation
- keep in touch with what is happening in every area in Wales and in the U.K.
- We highlight examples of good practice and distribute this to the eyecare sector through our SYLW newsletter, e-bulletins, quarterly 'Round-Up' Magazine, and our professional networks
- bring people together to exchange information and ideas
- identify gaps in provision
- encourage the development of new services where necessary
- support and assist other agencies to provide a good service
- represent v.i. within Wales and at an all-Wales level
- represent v.i. in Wales at a U.K. level
Latest WCB news.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference on 22nd November
The Annual Wales Eyecare Conference on 22nd November 2023 is now fully booked and the waiting list has closed. If you have already booked a place but are no longer able to attend, please let us know. We regret that we cannot accept people turning up on the day without a ticket as spaces are limited.
The conference will look at the progress of the Welsh Government's Optometry Contract Reform, and speakers will include Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services.
Further information about the conference, including the programme of the day, is available on the 'Eyecare Conference' section of our website (top right hand side of this screen).
Optometrists to issue CVIs for the first time.
For the first time in the UK, people with vision impairment will access certification of vision impairment in primary care optometry. Optometrists with relevant qualifications working in Wales can now complete certificates of vision impairment for people with bilateral dry age-related macular degeneration.
Rebecca Bartlett, National Clinical Lead for Wales General Ophthalmic Services said, "We are thrilled that this NHS Wales service is now live. We expect an immediate increase in the number of people accessing certification and the important related support registration brings. We also expect to see a reduction in referrals to hospital eye services which will free up vital appointment slots for other people whose eye conditions need to be seen in this setting.
"The certification of vision impairment in primary care is backed by research performed by Cardiff University and funded by Sight Cymru (Agreement between ophthalmologists and optometrists in the certification of vision impairment | Eye (nature.com)). This showed comparable agreement between consultant ophthalmologists and LVSW optometrists in the identification of certification eligibility criteria for people with vision impairment and provided evidence to support policy change.
"The introduction of certification of vision impairment in primary care has been driven by the Welsh Government’s optometry contract reform programme that will see the range of NHS-funded eye care services provided by optometrists and dispensing opticians in Wales increased, with each member of the practice team collaborating to work at the top of their respective clinical licence."
Owen Williams, Director of Wales Council of the Blind said, "We are delighted that Certificates of Vision Impairment can now be issued on the high street for patients with bi-lateral dry AMD. The certificate is a crucial document that opens the door to additional support, welfare benefits, financial concessions and services in social care, the third sector, and elsewhere. By avoiding hospital delays, support of this kind can now be delivered more quickly, helping the patient maintain their independence and avoid the downward spiral into vulnerability, debt, and dependency.
"WCB are keen to see more hospital eye services delivered in primary care optometry practices where it is safe to do so, providing patients with a convenient and timely alternative to hospital-based services."
Optometrists in Wales can find out more about participating in the services at Professionals - NHS Wales. Your nearest LVSW optometrist can be found via Perspectif. Type LVSW in the word search and add a postcode to the postcode field.
WCB's Director talks about current projects
You can hear Wales Council of the Blind's Director, Owen Williams, and Fiona Sandford, CEO of Visionary talk about about their recent projects in a short interview on RNIB Connect.
Owen talks about recent enhancements to WCB's online portal 'Perspectif', and how the charity is working with Low Vision Service Wales. You can listen to the 8-minute interview here.
Latest edition of Roundup looks at 'Perspectif', our on-line portal
The latest edition of Roundup, Wales Council of the Blind's quarterly magazine, is now available. The main feature in this edition is our on-line portal Perspectif, the online database to help people in Wales with sight loss and support workers find services.
This edition also includes the regular features - news, events and other opportunities of interest to people with sight loss, and those working in the sector.
You can read the magazine here. You can find all past issues of Roundup by clicking on the 'Roundup News' tab at the top of this screen. It is available online in MS Word and PDF formats, and is also available in accessible formats.