A local children’s charity recently provided a bundle of equipment to Northumberland-based North East Sight Matters (NESM) for its members who have a wide variety of sight loss and visual impairments.

The Chronicle Sunshine Fund aims to enhance the lives of babies, children, and young adults with disabilities and terminal illnesses. Extending beyond individual or family support, the charity strives to ensure all children have the opportunity to live safely and comfortably and meet their potential.

The charity provides specialist and adapted assistive equipment to a range of organisations that provide care, support, and education to disabled children, including schools, nurseries, and community groups.

Families that attend NESM events will be able to access equipment including an Apple iPad; Apple Air Tags; magnifying devices; canes; anti-glare glasses; baseball caps and rucksacks; ear buds and defenders; and LED torches.

The iPad is available to learn about the extensive and advanced accessibility features. It is loaded with new and appropriate apps relevant to children with visual impairments to promote leisure and learning.

Canes are available for families to experience and trial to see if they support the young persons’ visual and mobility needs.

The baseball caps and anti-glare glasses help filter bright light, and, if more light is required, they can use the torches and illuminated magnifiers.

The North East has the highest number of disabilities recorded at 29 percent. 11 percent of children in the UK are disabled. Five percent of disabilities among UK children are visual impairments, according to The Chronicle Sunshine Fund.

The organisation was set up as a need to support families with children and young people with sight loss in the region was identified during the pandemic. The support provided by NESM started as virtual lessons and has grown beyond the team could ever have expected, as they now deliver a range of accessible and educational activities and events across the region.

Many of NESM members are individual children that The Chronicle Sunshine Fund has supported with equipment such as pieces of eye-gaze technology costing thousands, for use in their own homes and schools.

The charity was proud to be able to support the group as a whole and give more children and young adults access to life changing equipment to improve their activities and learning.

The Chronicle Sunshine Fund funds equipment totalling £1,000 to be used by families at NESM events.

With four equipment rounds per year, each costing upwards of £30,000 on average, the charity receives zero statutory funding from the government or local authorities.

The Health Foundation recently selected 10 teams to be part of its £2 million innovation programme that will explore how assistive technology can enable new approaches to care at home and in the community.

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