Hi-VisUK – Bradford partnership boost

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For several years we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council through its Sensory Needs Service. Our collaboration continues to go from strength to strength. It all started with their team manager, Julie Ralph and her colleague Margaret Hird sampling our training which at the time was through our In Good Hands project. Bradford then commissioned us to deliver training to their teams on site including to some of their colleagues from neighbouring local authorities.

Recently two very exciting developments are taking shape. We both agree on the vital importance of local authorities being deafblind aware across a broad range departments and services, not just sensory services. But these are lean times with budget cuts severely limiting the ambitions of nearly every local authority in the land.

So to spread the training throughout Bradford City Council, we trained and mentored some of their sensory team who have now started to deliver our courses on their site. This work is done under a licence with us and all resources remain our copyright. We observe and monitor quality. Secondly we have been supporting them with their own first deafblindness e-learning course to further spread the awareness training across the Council.

Feedback on our training

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Great to see ongoing positive feedback from our training participants. We learn a lot from our courses through our interactions with participants who come from a wide cross-section of the health care and social care fields.

Colleagues from the fields of sensory loss support and acquired communications disorders are always generous in their sharing of experience and expertise whilst on our courses – thanks to all!

Click HERE to watch the latest video feedback, courtesy of our partners at SCIE.

Strong foundations

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Hartlepool Borough Council is a key partner with Hi-VisUK in the development of a new pioneering co-production model for identification and support of older people living with dual sensory loss.

Capacity building

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Hi-VisUK will continue the investment by our sister project, In Good Hands, to build the capacity of Sunderland and North Durham Royal Society for the Blind to become a dual sensory service for their members and local older people in Sunderland and north County Durham.

Their volunteers and staff are being supported with training in deafblind awareness and how to use our identification tool. This will enable them to identify older people with the condition and provide appropriate support.

Older people identified as having a dual sensory loss will be supported by the Society’s volunteers and where appropriate by HiVisUK staff to ensure they get the appropriate response from other local service providers.

This is one of our unique capacity building models that Hi-VisUK will promote across the country.

Supporting World Mental Health Day

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Hi-VisUK will continue to support World Health Day in the coming years. Last year our sister project, In Good Hands, attended World Mental Health Day celebrations in Hartlepool. This is part of our ongoing development of strategic and practical links in the borough as part of a planned Hi-VisUK & Hartlepool Borough Council (HBC) collaboration.

Acquired Communication Disorders training demand

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Our OCN Level 2 course in Acquired Communications Disorders continues to show no signs of a decrease in interest. Care providers tell us there is nothing like this training anywhere else and that it is filling a huge gap in their understanding, confidence and skills – especially when combined with our highly practical and concise Hi-VisUK deafblindness training.

Understanding and supporting older people with Acquired Communication Disorders

Our unique Acquired Communication Disorders OCN Level 2 course looks at a range of disorders that can affect older people. Led by two qualified speech and language specialists, the feedback is good:

“Informative but not overloading”, “Great content!”, “Well delivered course”. “Ideas for communication were useful, I could use them with one client who would benefit”.

Participants learned about types of communication disorder acquired in older age. For example the various types of aphasia and dysarthia plus their impacts on speech and language. They then looked at useful communication aids and practical approaches.

Dorothy’s story


Dorothy works for a local charity providing rehabilitation support, she visits elderly and visually impaired people in their homes to assess their needs.

Dorothy found our deafblind awareness and guiding training: “Amazing! Some of the simulation exercises were challenging but opened my eyes. It was staggering. I already use the training to help me improve my visits.”

“During my visits I am more aware of the signs of potential hearing loss. For example I recently visited a very independent minded, severely visually impaired man. Whereas before the training I would perhaps not have taken his hearing loss into account, as we have been focused on the visual impairment aspect, now I am in a better position to look at both sides. I think my visits following the Silver Dreams, IGH training are better. We are seeing more of our visually impaired clients have a hearing loss and so the learning we have achieved on the deafness side is especially useful and practical.”

“Since the training I have learnt not to make assumptions about how to approach or support a deafblind person. My lipreading skills have improved and I am more aware of how I am communicating.”