The Focus Birmingham community services team offers a vital source of support, information and advice to people who are experiencing sensory loss, that is to say sight loss, possibly combined with hearing loss.
Through an understanding of individual need, we seek to offer reassurance and practical assistance. We work with partner organisations such as social services and where appropriate, can refer people to colleagues within Focus Birmingham, who provide services such as low vision assessments, falls preventions advice and recommendations regarding aids that can support independent living.
We are here to meet the needs of people with sensory loss loss and those we seek to support are at the heart of everything we do, contributing to the definition of services and acting as volunteers to assist others who are facing similar challenges to themselves.
To understand the difference that we make, take a look at the Community Services case studies.
There are a number of services that the team delivers and you can learn more about the work of the Community Services team by following the links below:
The Helpline offers support, information and advice on sensory loss issues between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. each Monday to Friday. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence.
Our trained staff and volunteers can help you with queries about a range of issues, including employment, benefits, support in the home, educational opportunities and other services available in your area.
You can contact the Helpline by calling 0121 478 5222 or using our contact form.
Our team of community workers offers one-to-one support to people experiencing sensory loss. Meetings usually take place in your own home and enable us to understand the difficulties that you are facing. When we have completed an assessment, we will jointly agree an action plan. This could involve a referral to social services or other agencies who support people with sensory loss, or the provision of advice and guidance relating to matters such as education, employment and benefits. It can also involve referring you to other Focus Birmingham services or introducing you to other community activities, such as our visiting service and our social groups & clubs.
People with sensory loss may become isolated and lose their confidence. Focus Birmingham has a team of volunteers trained specifically to visit people in their own homes to help people regain and retain their confidence and reduce isolation. Visitors offer support with everyday tasks such as shopping, attending appointments or social activities and dealing with correspondence. The service provides both companionship and practical assistance, allowing people to continue to live independently.
Eye-Contact is a 6-8 week course that is intended for those who are newly diagnosed with sight loss or who have experienced a further recent deterioration in their sight. The course has both a social element (allowing you to meet with people who are in a similar situation) and a practical element, involving speakers from organisations such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Action for Blind People, the Department of Work and Pensions and Focus Birmingham who provide information about topics such as benefits, mobility, eye conditions, safety, support services and sources of further information and advice.
Our hospital information area at the Birmingham Midland Eye Centre is staffed from Monday to Friday by a trained information officer who is visually impaired. We can offer a friendly and reassuring voice following diagnosis and provide literature and information about visual impairment and the services available to you. The information area provides a point of referral into the wider range of services provided by the community services team and also into other areas of our activities, such as our low vision assessment team.
There are a number of groups and clubs that run across Birmingham and which bring people with visual impairment together to pursue their interests and meet like-minded people.
Focus Birmingham's Art Club is a club for people living with sight loss in Birmingham and the wider area. Club members are able to create, enjoy art and go out to galleries from time to time. The art club takes place once a fortnight in Harborne and is taught by Ian Reynolds who has been an art teacher since 1969. If you would like to view a short video of the Art Club please click here.
For more information on these activities, including locations, dates and times, please call the Helpline on 0121 478 5222 or use our contact form.
We organise holidays for people with visual impairment who may lack the confidence to travel independently, or to provide respite for carers.
We run multiple events across the West Midlands every year to raise funds, awareness of the work of Focus Birmingham, both within potential users of our services and the wider community. Please click here In Your Area to find out what events are taking place.