The British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) will now extend its innovative BWBFConnect service for several more months to provide ongoing support for those who are continuing to shield at home for age or health reasons.
BWBF provides specially adapted audio equipment such as DAB/FM radios free of charge to those with sight loss.
It was forced to make the difficult decision to suspend face-to-face home installation services in March as a result of social distancing regulations.
Committed to finding alternative ways to support the vulnerable and minimise isolation and loneliness, the organisation fast-tracked the launch of a Covid-secure alternative, offering doorstep delivery of their devices along with telephone support during receipt, unboxing and installation of the radios.
To date, more than 600 free radios have been issued under the BWBF Connect scheme.
The devices play a significant role in delivering vital news and information, along with entertainment and a friendly voice providing essential companionship at a time when many people are separated from their friends and families.
Sophie Wheldon, BWBF Regional Development Manager said: “Having never attempted anything of this scale before, we were naturally unsure about whether a socially-distanced installation and support service would be possible, but we have been completely overwhelmed by the success of the scheme.
“We are very proud to have been able to deliver more than 600 devices to people living with sight loss at a time when they really were needed most.
“We’ve carefully listened to feedback, and we know that many of the people we support are continuing to shield, which is why we’ve made the decision to extend the adapted BWBF Connect service for the foreseeable future.”
Due to social distancing regulations and an urgent need to protect the health of the vulnerable, the charity will continue to offer direct courier delivery and a telephone set-up service.
BWBF phone lines have remained open with staff and volunteers carrying out many of their duties from home to continue providing necessary support for those with sight loss.