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We want to improve “Key Life Chances” so that blind and partially sighted people have the same life chances as everyone else. Namely, a good education with choices in transitioning to secondary school, college or university; positive employment with equal opportunity to progress; to keep fit and healthy and to feel fully included in the fabric of society.
At the core of our mission lies our vision of creating an inclusive and equitable society for blind and partially sighted (BPS) people. We dedicate ourselves to supporting BPS people in achieving equity and inclusion in both society and their own lives. Our activities span fundamental life touch points of BPS people, like education, employment and health, mirroring those of the general population. Our strategy offers comprehensive support across education, employment, volunteering and leadership. We actively work with BPS people to advocate for systemic changes through campaigns, research, grants, partnerships, and initiatives addressing local, regional and national barriers. Our work is deeply rooted in the BPS community, prioritising their voices and lived experiences, fostering authenticity, and positioning us as leaders of positive change.
1. To attain better education and transition outcomes for young BPS people and students
BPS people face consistent challenges, including an educational gap impacting employment and social inclusion, persisting from early education through GCSEs. Additionally, BPS children struggle with lower wellbeing and mental health issues into young adulthood.
2. To reduce unemployment amongst BPS people of working age and to increase the number of employers making their workplace accessible
BPS people face ongoing employment challenges, with a 27% employment rate compared to the general population’s 81%. This disparity, unchanged for a generation, lags behind other impairment groups. Recent research emphasises its significance, as BPS people rank employment as their second most significant life barrier.
3. To have full access to all health services for BPS people and remove barriers limiting the overall health, fitness and wellbeing of BPS people
In the UK, two million people experience sight loss, projected to double by 2050, with half being preventable. However, only 64% receive NHS care within the 18-week limit. This inequity affects BPS people, making them twice as likely to experience unhappiness or depression than the UK average. Urgent healthcare and support improvements are needed.
4. To advocate and campaign for more inclusive, accessible and equitable communities and society at large
A third of BPS people find public transport challenging, with over half facing navigation difficulties. Another third prioritise reducing street clutter reduction for improved mobility, while nearly half experience public prejudice and discrimination.
1. Influence, raise awareness and change attitudes
We aim to raise awareness and change attitudes to create a fairer, more inclusive society for BPS people, through the direct advocacy and campaigning work of our staff and volunteers from our 20 Sight Loss Councils (SLCs). Our lived visual impairment experiences bring authenticity to shaping future change. We will:
2. Deliver specialist services that meet our priority areas of need
We will provide high-quality services to support BPS people in pursuing and maintaining employment and education, offering quality information, advice, and guidance to them and their supporters. We will:
3. Work in partnership with others who share our aims
We will maintain our effective partnerships, supporting grants and research to enhance BPS lives and collaborate to amplify our impact and achieve our goals. We will:
4. Lead by example and utilise our resources to bring about the change we want to see.
We will lead by example, upholding the highest standards for credibility, integrity and quality, inspiring the change we seek. We will:
Making a difference: The lives of blind and partially sighted people are better because of what we do.
Working in partnership: We work collaboratively together and with all our partners and stakeholders.
Respect: We treat people the way we would like to be treated.
Quality: We set clear goals and high standards and work efficiently and effectively to achieve them.
Participation: We place the participation of blind and partially sighted people at the heart of everything we do.