Sight Loss Support Officer – closing date 21 July 2020

Berkshire Vision’s  aim is to support our Members to live enriched independent lives in the community and this is your chance to make a real difference. Berkshire Vision provides information and support to children and adults who are blind or visually impaired. We achieve this by offering a wide range of services to our Members and their families, as well as working with health and social care professionals, local employers and community groups to improve their understanding of visual impairment and the needs of those affected by all forms of sight loss.

The Sight Loss Support Officer role is a wonderful opportunity and the successful candidate will be providing invaluable support work for our Members to assess and meet their needs and build independence and resilience. We are looking for someone with a passion for supporting our Members to live enriched lives, and therefore you should be someone who is able to work innovatively and be an advocate for our services.

Purpose of the job

To carry out assessments of the needs of visually impaired members and carry out an ongoing programme of support to promote independence for visually impaired members within a designated area of Berkshire. To promote the use of appropriate technology, aids and adaptations and support Members to develop the necessary skills to benefit from them.

Key responsibilities
  • Carry out regular assessments of the needs of people living with sight loss, formulate and follow a support plan, tracking and reporting on their progress over a three to six-month period.
  • Advise visually impaired people on technology available to them including smart phone applications
  • Support visually impaired people with basic technology such as setting up a smart phone or tablet, downloading applications, and setting up accessibility features such as colour contrast, text to speech and magnification.
  • Signpost and/or refer members to other relevant organisations to meet identified needs and arrange their participation in Berkshire Vision’s activities and other services
  • Advise on and demonstrate equipment for the visually impaired such as electronic reading aids
  • Support people with sight loss to access equipment for the visually impaired such as through applying for individual grants
  • Assist members with paperwork such as reading post or completing forms (not including financial or legal matters) whilst identifying a more independent solution
  • Provide practical support and advice to visually impaired service users
  • Be aware of changes to service users’ vulnerabilities and take appropriate action if needed which may involve referring to local authorities
Additional Activities/Tasks
  • Attend monthly Berkshire Vision social clubs or other activities to provide a point of support for members and assist with any queries
  • Follow safeguarding children and safeguarding adults’ policies and procedures, including the identification and reporting of safeguarding concerns.
  • Keep members and their families up to date regarding benefits, services, information and advice relating to visual impairment
  • When required, assist with accessing local social care provision
  • As required, occasionally assist with and/or manage group social activities such as social clubs or coffee mornings
  • Responsible for own role-related admin including entering comprehensive and accurate records of appointments, assessments and members’ needs onto database in a timely manner
  • To take on other duties commensurate with this post as directed by the Senior Sight Loss Officer
  • Be responsible for own continuing professional development, keeping up-to-date with best practice, policies and procedures and technology for the visually impaired
  • Promote the implementation of policies, with special focus on equal opportunities, child and adult safeguarding, health and safety and environment
  • Deal with all issues in a professional manner keeping confidences where appropriate and always being mindful of data protection implications.
  • Be an effective representative for the charity and act at all times in a professional manner conducive to promoting a positive image of Berkshire Vision and represent the charity at events.
Job Characteristics
  • Supervision of allocated volunteers
Working Environment
  • Regular use of a display screen (laptop provided)
  • Occasionally attend external events
  • Occasionally work evenings and weekends as required
  • A proportion of challenging working conditions and discomfort as some service users are living in difficult/impoverished conditions. Appointments may take place in public places such as coffee shops, the Members’ homes, community locations or remotely.
  • Over 4000 business miles annually
  • Work is remote and mostly autonomous. Sight Loss Support Officers are responsible for organising and maintaining their own schedule of appointments in a time efficient manner
  • Plan and arrange own work to meet set objectives under guidance from the Senior Sight Loss Support Officer as required
Person Specification – Essential
  • Secondary school education
Experience and Knowledge
  • Experience of working in a client focused environment
  • Experience of working with vulnerable people
  • Strong understanding and knowledge of technology such as tablets and smart phones and ability to support vulnerable people to use them
  • Strong understanding of safeguarding
Skills and abilities
  • Working knowledge of MS Office applications including Word & Outlook
    Time management
  • A good level of written and spoken English
  • Able to liaise with third parties
Personal qualities
  • Patient
  • Compassionate and empathetic
  • Questioning and listening skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Good team player
  • Integrity and sensitivity to disability issues
  • Approachable
  • Strong customer/service user focus
    Flexible approach to working
  • Full driving license with regular access to a car (business-use insurance required)
  • Ability to successfully pass a DBS check at enhanced level
Person Specification – Desired
  • Lone working training
  • Safeguarding
Experience and Knowledge
  • Experience of supporting people with visual impairments
  • Experience of working in a similar sector
  • Knowledge of the disability sector and relevant legislation
  • Knowledge of applications and technology that supports the visually impaired
Skills and abilities
  • Able to recognise level of vulnerability
  • Experience of using a database
Further information
Address Line 1
Midleton House
Address line 2
5 Erleigh Road
Postholder needs own transport
Contract type
Part timePermanent
£8,873.28 (£20,787.00 FTE) (16 hours per week.)
Laura Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer
Main contact telephone
0118 987 2803
How to apply
Open for applications from
8 July 2020
Closing date for applications
21 July 2020
Will my application be acknowledged?
All applicants, successful or otherwise, can expect to receive a reply from us in due course