Loan scheme

Loan scheme

Big Lottery funds new NCBA project, Key Communications

NCBA received the fantastic news in September 2013 that an application to the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund for £495,924 had been successful.

The grant fund term of five years from December 2013 to November 2018 will enable the voluntary services of NCBA to securely continue and also to further develop the Information Service.

The project, called Key Communications, started on December 1, 2013.

In life, good communication is absolutely key.  Threading through so many day-to-day activities, communication is vital to progress and move forward, vital to health and well-being, and to confidence and independence.

Communication and information enables people to make choices and ‘do’ for themselves. Linked to the ‘Seeing It My Way’ standards that blind and partially sighted people have identified as being most important to them, the project aim is that vision-impaired people will have increased ease of access to information on whatever subject a person wishes to find out about without having to negotiate extra barriers or difficulties that someone who isn’t vision-impaired will not have to face, and feel a valuable part of society, equally included in activities and day-to-day life of the local community and wider world.

Three outcomes will be achieved:

Outcome 1 – More blind and vision-impaired people will have increased choice and control, build confidence, and maintain their independence

This will be achieved through;

  • Improved ease and successful access to information and advice – county-wide.

  • A dedicated Information & Voluntary Services Manager will be the pivotal hub of information, proactively researching and disseminating information to service users, external agencies, and team members ensuring as wide a spread of information as possible.

  • Drop-in outreach venues will be set up in the north, west and south east of the county, where vision-impaired volunteers will be on hand to give information and advice to others, while a number of volunteers will also qualify in specialised low-vision aid training, widely spreading access to the Low Vision service of NCBA.

Outcome 2 – More blind and vision-impaired people will feel socially included, experiencing increased opportunity and social activity

This will be achieved through continuation of the SocialEyes project, social activity and support groups.

Outcome 3 – More blind and vision-impaired people will cope better and more independently in day-to-day life as a result of gaining new communication and technological skills

In year 2, an IT tutor will be recruited and IT courses be made available, complemented by the current weekly informal IT sessions using adaptive computer software that could be used as practice sessions.

Any of you familiar with Lottery funding know of the rigorous monitoring and evaluation systems in place as an integral part of the projects.

An independent consultant has been recruited to carry out the project evaluation over the five-year period, which will entail service user surveys and consultation to measure, analyse and, if needs be, change direction of the project as a result of feedback.

NCBA can’t do this without you. As Key Communications is a project for vision-impaired people, it is extremely important that service users are involved from the offset. Working with the independent consultant and the Key Communications team, a small service user focus group will be set up to determine questions that should be included in the survey and twice-yearly service user and volunteer forums, ensuring regular feedback determining the ‘steer’ of the project.

Please contact Trevor Watson or Antonietta D-Angelo Worn with any queries about the service.

Trevor Watson

Information and Voluntary Services Manager


Tel: 01670 514316

Antonietta D-Angelo Worn

Volunteer Co-ordinator


Tel: 01670 514316