The additional challenges faced by blind or partially sighted people can often make it more difficult to meet new people and maintain friendships, leading to social isolation. It is common for people to form an overreliance on their friends, family, carers or volunteers to initiate and maintain social activities.
Our Blatchington Friend program aims to enable blind or partially sighted people to become more independent by developing their skills and interests, build their social networks, engage with opportunities in the wider community, focus on improving confidence, health and wellbeing.
The Role of a Blatchington Friend
The role of a Blatchington Friend is primarily to provide social support to a blind or partially sighted person. Any one-to-one support offered is tailored to the needs of the blind or partially sighted individual as identified by them and agreed by a representative from Blatchington Court Trust. Support does not extend to other family members or friends of the client, it is specifically for the individual and is focused as a social function rather than educational or developmental.
Can I be a Blatchington Friend?
As well as a commitment to the principles of equal opportunities, we expect our Friends to have the following skills/attributes.
- A friendly and supportive manner, personable and approachable, with an ability to deal appropriately with a wide variety of people and organisations.
- An ability to use your own initiative and carry out the role independently.
- Excellent verbal and listening skills.
- Empathy, patience and flexibility with visually impaired children and an ability to understand their needs, plus discuss issues of a personal nature with a sensitive, non-judgmental or controlling approach.
- A willingness to develop knowledge, practice and skills to work with visually impaired children.
- Some experience of working with visually impaired people.
- Some knowledge and understanding of visual impairment issues.
- Some knowledge of local service provision or at least a willingness to learn.
- Ability to deal with occasional challenging situations and behaviours.
- Some experience of working with people with complex needs.
If necessary, the following training is provided by Blatchington Court Trust or another approved training body. Any additional training required can also be arranged.
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