National charity, Deafblind UK has temporarily extended its helpline opening hours to support people who have sight loss, hearing loss or both, through the COVID-19 crisis.
The helpline is also now available to people who have reduced sight and hearing as a result of, or since, serving in the Armed Forces and to people who are supported by smaller sensory loss charities that may not have such provisions.
Director of Operations, Simone Moore said: “The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting a lot of our members, either emotionally or practically. We have connected people to local support groups who can help them to get food, we have summarised news briefings for people who cannot access that information and we have talked to people who are finding isolation and the increased anxiety all too much to deal with. We have also taught people how to use video calls and accessible technology to keep in touch with their family, which is very rewarding to see! We know that there are a lot more people out there who are affected by sight and hearing loss, who are facing the same challenges as our members.”
Deafblind UK’s CEO, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Conway Royal Marines (Retired) said: “Facing the challenges of making the transition from a military career to life outside the Armed Forces can be daunting for many veterans, but when compounded by sight and hearing loss those challenges are even more significant. We have extended our opening hours and upskilled our teams to enable them to give specialist advice to veterans about pensions and compensation schemes as well as offering emotional support to those who need it.”
Deafblind UK’s helpline is now open between 08.00 and 20.00 every day of the week. Trained staff are on hand to support people who have any level of sensory loss, their families and anyone who works with them. They can give practical help, information and advice and offer in-depth emotional support to people who need it.
The helpline can be accessed in the following ways:
Tel: 0800 132320
Text: 07950 008870
Text relay: 18001 then 0800 132320
Facetime: firstname.lastname@example.org (Not BSL)
BSL video relay: https://deafblind.org.uk/bsl/