Season’s Greetings and welcome to our end of year post.
December 2013 finds the Silver Dream Team organising various yuletide activities for our beneficiaries and planning ahead for the quarter of the project. Monitoring our beneficiaries has of course been ongoing since the beginning of OPTiC and we have already exceeded our target number of Baseline Survey forms to be completed. We are now focussed on progressing the completion of related Follow Up surveys, by project end.
A snapshot of our progress against outcome levels: We are happy to report that at the end of October 2013, approximately:
- 23,957 older people have been offered health advice and screening.
- 2,044 older people with sight loss have engaged with support.
- 724 older people have a better understanding of their eye condition and eye health.
- 225 older people with sight loss have been supported by peers in groups or by buddies.
Our Beneficiary Action Group (BAG) and a number of other beneficiaries were recently consulted on how best to utilise a fund to support additional project work prioritised by them. Ideas emerging for the fund include:
- A teleconferencing facility to link blind and partially sighted people across Staffordshire.
- Technology equipment i.e. an iPad and Kindle to be available for hands on ‘how to use’ training sessions for people with sight loss.
- Re-establishment of a Helpdesk at StaffordHospital
- A course offering several ‘train the trainer’ try modules including our ever popular ‘Finding Your Feet’ Facilitator training programme.
Sustainability has taken root within OPTiC and many elements of the project are going from strength to strength – for example:
- Coffee mornings have been established by beneficiaries to provide peer support and share knowledge.
- A range of training courses have been designed to upskill beneficiaries to go on and train their peers to support others (i.e. peer support, empowerment courses, campaigning) and who will then go on to become trainers themselves. The courses will be available for several months after OPTiC has officially ended.
- Partnership working with local organisations such as Revival Housing Scheme, Royal Voluntary Service and Royal British Legion will continue.
- Our beneficiaries will continue to be supported through services provided by Action and Age UK.
- The two-way referral pathway established between the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at YorkHospital and York Blind and Partially Sight Society is now an ongoing arrangement.
- As part of our long-term outcomes, the Beneficiary Action Group (BAG) is progressing with their strategy to engage StaffordHospital to re-establish a Helpdesk, as part of their service provision.
Extending OPTiC’s Reach
Our promotional activities continue to go well. As previously reported OPTiC has featured in York Press and Staffordshire’s the Newsletter on a number of occasions and during the final 4 months we will pursue additional radio coverage and local television opportunities.
Reaching our target audience
We have successfully reached our older people with unsupported sight loss but engaging that demographic from BME, faith and LGBT communities has proved difficult. We will of course pursue every opportunity to do so especially via local events aimed at hard to reach groups.
Overcoming key challenges
As a result of re-evaluating the timeline at which Staying Active clubs and BAG membership is offered, progress has been made with engaging beneficiaries to participate. We expect to report a significant increase in the number of clubs running across Staffordshire post Christmas, and via these clubs we will be looking to identify new members to join the BAG.
Additional funding / OPTiC branding
Our current activities do not necessitate additional funding. However in the New Year we will be reviewing plans to ensure the legacy of our project that may require additional funding. The OPTiC brand is consistently used for all communication processes.