This timeline was originally compiled for WCB's 80th Anniversary celebration at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, Cardiff Bay, 2018. It is placed here for posterity and as a living document.
Wales and Monmouthshire Council for the Blind is formed.
Southerndown Home, known the as 'The Rest', was opened for use by 'the blind'. It continued this specialist function under the auspices of Wales Council for the Blind until 2009, when residents were moved to nearby Brocastle into a home run by Hafod Care.
Wales & Monmouthshire Regional Council for the Blind is registered in accordance with National Assistance Act 1948. The Area of operations covered the administrative areas of the county councils in Wales and Monmouthshire. This was effectively a merger of the South Wales, North and Monmouthshire Regional Councils.
A minute for the February committee meeting reads 'Any little personal service to a blind person would be greatly appreciated', indicating the benevolent, but rather patronising, attitude of the time.
At the same meeting Committee members 'agreed with a suggestion of the Secretary whereby it might be found possible to ensure that blind delinquents and others would have special help when being dealt with in Law Courts and elsewhere.'
The Annual report for 1951/2 outlines the concern over an increase in numbers of 'blind babies' in England due to retrolental fibroplasias.
'It is now thought best for blind babies to remain in their homes until about five years of age. Parents are much more co-operative since they are assured that their babies cannot be taken from them provided they are properly looked after'.
The Council for the Blind helped to produce a brochure on the work of 'Home Teachers', and ran a Home Teachers' refresher course.
'A good Home Teacher is a guide, philosopher and friend to everyone in her charge'.
'The Unemployed Blind'. 'Of the 6,184 registered blind persons in our Area … only 563 (less than 9%) are employed.' The Home Teaching Service catered for the large percentage 'either not available for or capable of employment'.
With more people getting televisions, the Wireless for the Blind Fund was in discussion about free TV licences for blind people.
'Free TV licences 'would be detrimental to the cause of the blind, and […] such a concession should not be made'.
The Annual Report includes a list of 'Hints for voluntary visitors' including 'It is better to be over-zealous in a good cause than to allow an opportunity of doing good to pass by'.
'Since moving to Cardiff we have had more and closer contact with officials of the Welsh Board of Health.'
The committee instructed the Secretary to 'gather information as to present potential need for consideration and action if necessary' in relation to implementing Welsh language talking books.
The Council put on an exhibition of articles made by blind people.
This year the Annual Report, in addition to giving statistics on the number of blind persons, included numbers of partially sighted people.
'Although Shrewsbury is just outside our borders we find it the most easily accessible place for members travelling from the various towns in our Area …'
The Council is trying to ensure that there is 'a friend at hand for each and every blind or partially sighted person in our area' by getting more volunteers.
The Annual Report is used to highlight the importance of employment, with readers encouraged to read the employment statistics to find out what jobs blind people can do. Occupations with highest number of blind employees are basket workers, mat makers and brush makers.
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was a highlight of the year. 'This year will be a particularly happy memory for the thousands of registered blind persons of our Area who … were provided with coronation festivities and gifts of outstanding merit'.
'By far the greatest problem is caring for those who come under the various categories of unemployed blind'.
The organisation had attended the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, which was used as an opportunity to sell items made by blind people. Their stall was visited by the Duke & Duchess of Gloucester.
There is a strong religious tone in the writing about Southerndown. 'We opened in faith', and 'some whom it has pleased God to call home have blessed us for the share we took in their last years'.
The Council attended the National Eisteddfod in Ystradgynlais despite 'swamp-like conditions', and 'hundreds of items were sold'.
It is reported that reduced membership (by local authorities) is causing financial difficulties for the organisation, and there is an appeal to these LAs to rejoin. 'Surely Wales should continue to support its own 'NATIONAL COUNCIL'.
A deputation from the Council met Mr. Iain Macleod, then Minister of Health, in London because of 'the critical position into which the region had fallen'. Some Local Authorities are not prepared to provide funding, and there was a risk that the Regional Council 'might well go out of existence'. 'The Minister had to decide whether the Welsh Regional Council was a voluntary body, or a statutory body. The difficulties had arisen because of the Act of 1948.'
Ethel Rawden noted that 'the Regional Council should reach the age of 50 in a couple of years'. This would suggest the Council may have been formed in 1908. Unfortunately, her researches are not available in our records to verify this.
The Council's conferences compared favourably with those of other regions. Therefore 'It is a matter of regret that we are not favoured with the attendance of representatives of the Welsh Board of Health'.
The officers of the Council write to all Welsh MPs outlining problems faced since National Assistance Act 1948, which made the contribution of Local Authorities to Regional bodies optional. Whereas English organisations were 'generously dealt with', In Wales, Glamorgan CC, who had 'never approved of work such as is done by Wales & Monmouthshire Regional Council for the Blind' ceased to be members. When other authorities realised that they were expected to make up for the resulting shortfall in funding, some of them also left. There is an appeal to MPs to ensure that the Regional Council continues. 'Wales must have a Regional Council of the Blind … the cost must be shared by all the local authorities'.
'Even without co-operation, each and every blind person does benefit from national action'
A memo attached to the above letter gives important information on the age of WCB, and on the role of regional bodies. 'Blind welfare work on a regional basis has now been in existence for over 50 years and in Wales there has been work for 48 years. At first this was done by South Wales & Monmouthshire Counties Association for the Blind. Since 1938 there has been one Council for the whole of Wales & Monmouthshire. Now it … is faced with extinction'. Purpose was to discuss position of the Regional Council. All local authorities were invited but only 12 were represented, five did not attend. 'The regional council … was evolved to do something at a national level that a local authority, whatsoever its resources, could not do at local level'. Talking books in Welsh was given as an example of this.
Cardiff Corporation had purchased Southerndown Home out of its church funds, with no charge made to the Regional Council. Southerndown is 'a separate financial entity'.
Response received from Welsh Board of Health, although it's not clear what it says. The meeting resolves that it will continue to function, but that it will give notice to terminate tenancy of its office in St Mary St, Cardiff.
A crisis meeting was held to discuss whether or not the Regional Council could continue to function
There were problems affecting Southerndown. 'Every time there was a staff shortage at The Rest, the secretary (Ethel Rawden) had to drop what she was doing, close her own home and go down to Southerndown to take over. At present there was no cook and the housekeeper had given notice'.
Proposed that 20 Newport Road could be used as an accommodation address, subject to agreement with CIB. The Secretary (Mrs Rawden) was to be given notice, although she would take over duties at Southerndown on a temporary basis.
The Council's office address, as of October 1st, 1958, became 20 Newport Road, Cardiff. It remained there until 2010.
Ethel Rawden reflects on a difficult year, and looks back on the history of the organisation. Southerndown now becomes part and parcel of the work of the Council.
'I cannot close without thanking God for guiding me into this field of welfare work'.
The reconstituted Regional Council is no longer responsible for registration, saving a lot of time and money.
Improvements were made at Southerndown: £800 spent on renovation and repair to outside, and much internal redecoration carried out. The home had been made available to WCB for the small rent of 1/- per annum.
'As in our own homes, we strive to improve each day and year'.
More problems at Southerndown! A domestic was charged with stealing, and spent a weekend in Cardiff Prison, but pleaded guilty and the money was recovered. Boiling gravy also proved to be a hazard. 'Mrs T had slipped whilst carrying a pan of boiling gravy. She had burned her face but this had cleared up nicely. Mrs D had gone to the rescue, but she slipped and hurt her head. Both felt pretty bad but carried on with their duties and were soon all right again'.
After a period when most of the work had been carried out on a voluntary basis, a 'useful legacy' from a Cardiff lady meant that a paid secretary could be appointed. As a preference had been expressed for a Welsh speaker who was also able to travel, Ethel Rawden stood down after 38 years. (However, Mrs Rawden continued to represent Southerndown at future meetings).
Concern was expressed that door-to-door salesmen claiming to sell goods in the name of the blind are 'exploiting the blind generally' and that regulations should be tightened.
The constitution was amended to remove the word 'Regional' from the organisation's name. It became 'Wales and Monmouthshire Council for the Blind'. At the half-yearly conference an address was given 'on somewhat novel lines', painting an imaginary picture of the work of a blind person's resettlement officer 'from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, the middle ages and on through the 18th century to the present time'.
At the 1967 AGM it was noted that 'There has been a growing awareness during the past two years of the work of the Council throughout the Principality, many people are advised on careers, surveys are carried out on many aspects of blind welfare, and fuller use is made of the ophthalmic referee service.'
Treasurer suggests that the Council should consider merging with other Welsh disability organisations to form a 'Council for the disabled of Wales'.
Ethel Rawden retired in March 1970 and the scope of the home widened to include 'elderly people with fading eyesight'.
'Vast changes' had taken place at Southerndown including outside painting & internal decoration.
Meeting with Welsh Office to discuss concerns about secretarial services for Wales & Monmouthshire Council of the Blind. These are provided by Social Services but the Council are dissatisfied as this is on a part time basis, with a low salary, and compares unfavourably with the situation in England. It was agreed that the Council should prepare a case for a full time secretary.
Mr John Wilcox was appointed 'To carry out an independent and objective study of the future role of Wales & Monmouthshire Council for the Blind in the field of blind welfare in view of the changed pattern of social services which has emerged since the implementation of the Seebohn report'.
The report gives the background to the formation of the Wales & Monmouthshire CB, confirming that it was created in January 1938, as one of four regional councils covering England and Wales.
The organisation has been renamed 'Wales Council for the Blind' and a paid secretary, Mr Hywel John, is appointed for the first time.
Hywel John produces report on the position as he finds it when taking up his post and proposes a new constitution and setting up a library. Substantial increase in funding is required, but this is unlikely. A new draft constitution is produced.
'It is pleasing to say that the new WCB has entered the field with a new impetus'.
AGM: Concerns were expressed that, although it had been agreed that local authorities in Wales should appoint mobility officers, this had not been done due to the current period of 'financial stringency'.
A half-yearly conference was held at Llandrindod Wells, although the unpleasant weather 'persuaded a number of members that they should not attempt the journey'. Those who did attend heard talks on the training of social workers, and low vision aids.
The main activity has been in the field of training on an all-Wales basis, with courses provided for specialist social workers, generic social workers and voluntary workers between 1975-78. A survey of people attending the courses indicates that there is a need for a newsletter, but a shortage of personnel and funding means that 'it will not be possible for the time being'.
Welsh Office funding to the Council represents only 32p per annum for each registered blind/registered partially sighted person in Wales. However, fundraising activities by WCB would put it in competition with other organisations supporting blind people, and divert WCB staff from providing services to the 'visually handicapped'.
Meeting held with Wales Council for the Deaf, looking at issues related to people with sight and hearing loss. 386 people in Wales had been identified as deafblind, but there was a wide variation in incidence between the counties, probably due to different interpretations when completing the BD8 form. People in Gwent with dual sensory loss were facing extremely long delays in seeing consultants - 135 weeks. The two organisations agreed to set up a joint committee to look for remedies.
Despite financial constraints, 'it has been particularly encouraging ... that the County Councils have all maintained their membership and their contributions'.
An inspection visit to Southerndown results in a very favourable report to the Director of Social Services: 'The overall impression ... is one of warmth and comfort. It was quite clear that (the residents) are happy and comfortable and everyone appeared to be quite relaxed'.
Following a meeting with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Welsh Office, and support from Welsh MPs, it is agreed that funding will be provided for a Training Officer.
It is proposed that a new category of 'associate membership' be established, for organisations which are more specialised (e.g. Guide Dogs), organisations not solely concerned with blind welfare services, and individuals with an interest in the area.
The Welsh Sports and Recreation Association for the Visually Impaired in Wales is formed.
In 1984, two voluntary workers agreed the need for an association to promote and support sport and recreation for visually impaired people in Wales - people of all ages and abilities. The idea took off and with some financial support from the Sports Council flourished into the nineties. Alongside this Wales Council for the Blind had developed a strong programme at grass roots level of non-competitive physical recreation aimed at health and self-confidence and had produced a Strategy of Sport for V.I. People.
Vanessa Webb is appointed as Director. This begins WCB's modern period, running a series of ambitious projects throughout Wales. These included the appointment of officers to manage Awareness Training, Computer Information, Transcriptions, Welfare Benefits Advocacy, Sports Development and others.
The Linnecar Trust is established from a bequest from the late Arthur William Linnecar. The scope of the trust eventually covered the provision of grants to assist blind people in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. It gave grants towards assistive technology, holidays, household adaptations and so on. The Trust was dissolved in 2013 and the remaining funds shared between the three local societies: Carmarthenshire Blind Society, Ceredigion Association for the Blind and Pembrokeshire Blind Society.
WCB's Working Parties.
The purpose of the Working Parties was to create 'think tanks' to provide a clear statement of the standards WCB was working for. They were open discussions 'uncramped' by committee procedure or by previous assumptions. Six panels were formed: Education; Employment; Health and Medical; Quality of Life; Social Services; Transport and Access. An addition 'older person' panel was formed. These sessions involved a range of individuals and guest speakers were invited including Rhodri Morgan, the then MP for Cardiff West. The themes for the working parties became themes for WCB's conferences in coming years.
WCB at Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Aberystwyth.
To celebrate the anniversary of the Arts and Crafts pavilion, WCB produced an audio described tour of the historical exhibition in collaboration with artists and historians.
A research report of sports and recreation for visually impaired people in Wales.
The report made recommendations for awareness training to workers in sports facilities; audits of facilities; accessible information; raising expectations of potential service users.
This report led to WCB's specialist awareness training programme and audits of facilities under the new post of Sports Development Officer. A great many audits of leisure facilities were conducted by Sports Development Officer, Nicky Malson, with a team of volunteers. A programme of Awareness Training was delivered to workers. This created opportunities for people with sight loss to improve their health and wellbeing through sports activities.
The Cambrian Educational Trust Fund
The Trust was transferred to WCB and gave assistance to bind or partially sighted young people for the purchase of computer equipment, holidays, training and so on. The fund also enabled the production of a report, Reading with Confidence, that made recommendations to the Welsh Low Vision Service concerning electronic magnifiers for children. The Trust closed in 2013.
Welsh Health Survey 1995 – The Health of the Visually Impaired Population in Wales.
WCB approached the Welsh Office for statistics to support the hypothesis that blind and visually impaired people in Wales have poorer health that the population as a whole. This was the first analysis of its kind to be conducted in Wales.
WCB's conference theme was 'Education' this year, with David Blunkett, the then Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment, giving the keynote speech. Integration was the recurring theme of his speech. He said current systems for obtaining disability living allowance are extremely negative. David Blunkett became Secretary of State for Education and Employment the following year under Tony Blair.
Owen Williams employed to conduct IT Assessments of individuals with sight loss.
WCB Conference: 'Employment'
This conference heard from Peter White of the BBC In Touch Programme and David Jenkins, General Secretary of the Wales T.U.C. WCB reported a lack of response from employers to the research carried out in preparation for the conference.
The Wales Disability Reference Group is formed to create a Manifesto for Disabled People in the run up to the Welsh Devolution Referendum. Comprising the umbrella organisations for disability groups in Wales, including WCB, it continues to this day and provides the formal link for disability organisations to the Third Sector Partnership Council.
This conference heard about a project to screen for diabetic retinopathy (now the Diabetic Eye Screening Service Wales), visual impairment and oral health, and WCB presented a report on the effects of vision impairment on general health. ''.
Sight + Hearing: Vocabulary published.
'Welsh terms referring to sight and hearing loss have been limited because the education of most people with these disabilities has been through the medium of English. This has been compounded by the fact that most training for specialist workers has also been through the medium of English.'
Best Value in Bridgend - Services to People with a Visual Impairment.
WCB collaborated with Bridgend County Borough Council in a benchmarking exercise on local authority services with people with vision impairment as the sample. A document describing the initiative gave recommended actions and targets for the Council with respect to areas including Information Technology, Special Educational Needs, Library and Information Services, Sports, Arts and public highways.
WCB has a stand in the Science Pavilion at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Anglesey. Our website was launched by Eurig Wyn MEP who congratulated WCB with the bold claim that they were 'pushing the boundaries with this being the first ever bilingual visually impaired friendly website.'
The key speaker, David Hurst, spoke about 'what access means to me.' There were discussions on accessible information, local transport, mobility and access to services.
Walk Down Wales
Les Dennis sent WCB's team off on a walk from Mold Cricket Club. Nicky Malson, Vanessa Webb, Pauline Dutton, Kathleen Morris and Ceri Bodger embarked on a 137 mile walk to Pontypridd to raise funds for the charity.
Supporting deafblind people in Wales – challenging exclusion. With Sense Cymru.
Kirsty Williams, the then National Assembly Chair of Health and Social Services Committee, wrote 'Both Sense and Wales Council for the Blind are to be congratulated on producing this survey and I am sure it will help to increase public awareness of the needs of – and the problems faced – by deafblind people.'
This report was launched at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Llanelli. Visitors were invited to experience the Eisteddfod in a different way by learning 'how to guide a vi person correctly – and even let yourself be guided with restricted vision.' Our Director, Vanessa Webb, decided to change the usual ambience by bringing comfy chairs, carpet and a coffee table. She brought these to the Maes at 7 am so that she could set up then depart for Cardiff where she was expected at her daughter's wedding! Such was her dedication to the job.
Conference: 'Services for older people with a visual impairment.'
The emphasis was on getting away from the stereotype of the older person and looking at what the older generation is likely to be like in the future. Sue Arnold (the Observer journalist and broadcaster who is visually impaired herself) spoke of her own expectations of old age.
Communications Report No. 1: Computer technology for people with a visual impairment.
'With the growth of interest in information communication technology, we want to see access to information for v.i. people widespread and mainstreamed.'
The aim of this conference was to bring together people from the fields of sport, health, health promotion, education, leisure and vision impairment. It looked at the opportunities and challenges for developing sport and physical recreation for people with serious sight problems. It also was a springboard for a VI Sports Strategy for Wales.
Macular disease information booklet.
This bilingual information booklet was a collaboration with Macular Disease Society UK to accompany a campaign to raise awareness of 'the leading cause of registered blindness in people over 50 in the Western world.'
Young View – a report from young visually impaired people aged 17 to 25 in Wales.
'As young people, we want a voice and we want it to be heard. We also have views about our problems as visually impaired people and we want these to be listened to as much as the views of others who do not have a visual impairment. So we want an equal say with older people and with sighted people.'
WCB is awarded the Access to Work contract to carry out work-based technical assessments across Wales.
The Arts in Wales and Visual Impairment: Conference and Survey.
'Providers must be willing to make an investment in specialist provision and be prepared for a slow 'return' on that investment. It takes time for awareness of services to grow and for people to nurture an interest in the art forms that were previously inaccessible to them.'
Communications Report No. 2: The role of the rehabilitation worker.
'It is our view that persuading others to take responsibility for providing access to the information that people want by producing large print, tape and braille is a vast and infinite task. The best way of empowering v.i. people is to put the tools in their own hands. Access to information is as much a human right as physical access. With current developments in technology, there is no technical reason why this can't be achieved. The obstacles are the lack of funding and the dearthof specialist assistance.'
Communications Report No.3: Survey of provision in schools.
'Over recent years visually impaired children have increasingly been accommodated in mainstream schools. Whilst there remains a clear need for specialist schools it has become an accepted view that where possible visually impaired children should be placed in mainstream provision. In this structure access to appropriate ICT is a crucial factor in providing successful support.'
Sports and physical recreation: a strategy for people with visual impairments
'It must be recognised that in involving v.i. people there are problems that are not sports related to be overcome before they can take part in sporting and recreational activities.
'People of all age groups and abilities need to be given access to the benefits of sports facilities and sports development initiatives.'
Research and Conference: Towards a Strategy for Health and Social Services for Visually Impaired People in Wales: the experiences of vi people.
This conference was preceded by research with service users about their experiences and views and led to the formation of a steering group to write the strategy.
Volunteering for health - a report on the Eye Clinic Support Scheme provided by Cardiff Institute for the Blind.
'This report helped to provide evidence of the benefits of implementing a pan-Wales ECLO service to signpost newly diagnosed people with sight loss to support in the community and to provide some emotional support.'
Rehabilitation Officer Conference – The Impact of Recent Initiatives and the Way Forward.
This conference heard presentations and held discussion groups around the move towards benchmarking VI Rehabilitation Services, National Occupational Standards, and the UCE rehab degree .
WCB had a stand in the Sbardun Pavilion at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Felindre, Swansea.
Conference: Having a voice and making a difference. This 2nd rehabilitation officers' conference heard presentations on the benchmarking progress, Guide Dogs Rehabilitation research, developing a VI Strategy for Rehab and the inaugural meeting of the Welsh Rehabilitation Officers Forum.
Visual impairment benchmarking study data analysis.
'A key benefit from the study has been the opportunity to explore crucial links between services for people with visual impairment delivered respectively to social services, other local authority departments, health and partner agencies across sectors. Promoting better joint working will be key in driving up performance and standards in this service area.' Good Practice Guidelines were published as a result of this study. They are currently being updated to align with the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act and other changes.
VI Sports Festival – Newport
A Sports Festival took place in the Sports Velodrome, Newport. The festival was a celebration of sport and its benefits for visually impaired children and their siblings. There was a range of activities available for the day and children from all over Wales attended. The festival was also an opportunity for the parents/guardians to come together to discuss the important issues related to visual impairment.
First VI Benchmarking Conference
This conference led from the production of the V.I. Benchmarking Study Data analysis and report and Good Practice Guides in 2005. This conference, with a keynote speech from Edwina Hart, then Minister for Health and Social Services, was aimed at sharing the benchmarking work that had been carried out since the publication of the Guides.
WCB's Awareness Training becomes a National Open College Network (later Agored) accredited course.
Survey of Provision for Children and Young People with Visual Impairments – Children and Disability Teams.
One of its recommendations was that research be undertaken into the capacity of Rehabilitation Officers to work with children.
Director Vanessa Webb leaves WCB.
'Although I am leaving my post after eighteen years in WCB, I am confident that we have the grounds for strong action on behalf of vi people and for building their confidence and voice.'
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference: Collaborative Working in Eye Care in Wales.
This conference was the first of eleven conferences so far, run with the Welsh Government. It was an occasion to find out about the innovative work that has already taken place in Wales and to discuss the opportunities for the future and the way forward.
Second VI Benchmarking Conference.
This conference updated people on the progress with the rehabilitation benchmarking project and called for the next steps to take.
First issue of WCB Roundup published.
Inter-professional Involvement: Enhancing the Eyecare Pathways.
This conference looked at The Low Vision Pathway, The Importance of Vision in Learning and a new Cataract Pathway.
Reading with confidence (Electronic pocket magnifier project).
'Wales Council for the Blind has wanted to see high tech low vision aids [...] included within the range of products available through the Low Vision Service. The Welsh Assembly Government agrees and has subsequently promised to include portable hand held electronic magnifiers on the list of products available to children to use at home.'
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference.
This year's conference looked at the latest work on preventing falls in older people, and gave an update on new approaches to treating Glaucoma, and on the progress with the Welsh Vision Strategy.
WCB is commissioned by Swansea Council to conduct an audit of its social services to people with sight loss.
Wales Vision Strategy Implementation Plan published.
This was set up to implement actions that would result in three main outcomes: that everyone in Wales looks after their eyes; that everyone receives timely treatment and access to services; and that people with sight loss can fully participate in society.
WCB leaves Shand House after 52 years and moves to new premises in Hallinans House.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference.
This year delegates heard about an electronic patient record for ophthalmology that will form the basis for the virtual care of stable glaucoma and ocular hypertensive patients. The long-term aim of the project was to provide a platform for the seamless integration of primary and secondary care of patients with eye disease. Also, Professor Peter Coffey outlined the London Project to Cure Blindness.
WCB VI Roadshow.
In collaboration with local societies, WCB ran an information and technology roadshow in Wrecsam, Cardiff, Newport, Bangor, Carmarthen and Swansea.
Wales Vision Forum formed (originally as 'Next Steps').
This forum gathers organisations representing blind and partially sighted people to enhance joint working and reduce duplication. It is a platform to share information, good practice and expertise. For example, the forum collaborated on the production of a patient leaflet giving useful advice on where to seek further help after being diagnosed with sight loss.
WCB is asked to conduct an independent review of rehabilitation services in Newport City Council.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference.
Elaine Kelleher's presentation, 'Growing up and Moving On: Service Provision for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment in Wales', highlighted the main findings on provision of specialist VI services in education, social care and the voluntary sector for children and young people. A picture of service provision in relation to mobility and independent living skills training known as 'habilitation' was given; examples of good collaborative working are highlighted as well as drawing attention to gaps in service provision.
Framework for Action on Independent Living published.
This resulted from a collaboration between disabled people, disabled people's organisations and Welsh Government. It contained recommendations for action on a number of areas that affect the ability of disabled people to live independently, areas such as transport, employment and housing. Wales Council of the Blind took part in shaping the original document and conducted a survey in 2017 to see what effect it had on the experiences of people with sight loss.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference.
Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services, launched the Eye Health Care Delivery Plan for Wales. Alun Roberts spoke on The Future of Rehabilitation for people with sight loss in Wales.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference: Together for Health - Eye Health Care Delivery Plan for Wales.
Gwyneth Thomas, Chair of Together for Health: Eye Health Care Delivery Plan Statistics Group, gave a Statistical Summary of ophthalmic services in Wales.
Making a difference – realistic options for improving services to people with a sensory loss.
'This report contains a range of realistic, achievable outcomes which should enable specialist sensory services to provide direct support to people with a sensory impairment, as well as support to other service providers to make their services more effective for people with sensory impairment.'
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference: Accessibility, Capacity and Demand in Health and Social Care.
Lisa Dunsford gave a talk on Integrated Health and Social Care and Andrew Griffiths spoke on IT Optometric Connectivity.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference: Innovation in Eye Services
The Eyecare Conference this year heard from aspiring Paralympian, James Ledger who told us he has never let his disability get the best of him. His sport has taught him to be confident in his own abilities and believe in what he is capable of.
How Accessible is Access to Work in Wales? (With RNIB Cymru).
'There are many barriers to work faced by blind and partially sighted people […] Access to Work, a Government scheme which is meant to help people get and stay in work, appears to now be yet another barrier to the workplace.'
WCB formally represents Wales in the Visionary membership structure. From now, all eligible members of WCB can take up free membership of Visionary with all of its benefits.
StormWCB's young adult's project commences.
This project brings together young adults with sight loss to look at what services are available to young people in Wales.
Annual Wales Eyecare Conference:
Outcomes and Accessibility. Delegates at this Eyecare Conference listened to presentations on the All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for people with sensory loss and Prudent Eye Care and Clinical Prioritisation: Reconciling Risks and Waits.
Five Star Awards
Wales Council of the Blind collaborated with Wales Council for Deaf People on this awards ceremony to celebrate the best of the support given by health care staff to people with sensory difficulties. The ceremony took place at the Senedd where the Shadow Minister Health, Rhun Ap Iowerth AM, gave out the awards.
WCB at the Eisteddfod celebrates its 80th Anniversary.
WCB looks forward to another 80 years of bringing people together to collectively improve services for people with sight loss.