EU Business News Q2 2018

8 EU BUSINESS NEWS / Q2 2018 , Embarking on a Mission to Save Sight Fighting Blindness is an Irish, patient-led charity operating with a vision to cure blindness, and support those experiencing sight loss and empower patients. We profiled the firmas discover more about EU Business News’ Most Empowering Blindness Support NPO in 2018. Originally set up as a support group in by families affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 1983, Fighting Blindness has evolved as a company and now works with more eye conditions (rare, genetic, age- related and degenerative). The team has developed its support services to meet the growing need of clients. Significantly, the company’s key focus is funding world- leading vision research into treatments and cures. Alongside its extensive research practices, the team also runs a counselling service which offers individual sessions, couple and family counselling sessions, and group therapy both in Dublin and Cork. In partnership with the RNIB, staff also facilitate counselling and supports in Donegal, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth. The company operates a nationwide telephone session for people who may be unable to travel or would prefer telephone to face to face. Creating a sense of togetherness and ensuring people that they are never alone, the company initiates Peer to Peer support groups, and these are an integral part of what the company does. There is also a Visionaries School of the Arts and choir which meets every Saturday to take part in singing, instrumental classes, creative writing, comedy improve and much more. In this increasingly technology dominated generation, technology can offer an opportunity to improve communications with others, using such equipment as mobile phones with Talks, iPhones with voiceover and interface with laptops, etc. The Exchange Club is a place for people living with different levels of vision loss to meet friends and help each other to get the best use of such assistive technology, and this club meets in both Dublin and Cork. Over the years, the company has evolved to encompass more eye conditions (rare, genetic, age-related and degenerative), and developed its services to meet the growing needs of clients. Its key focus is funding world-leading vision research into treatments and cures, while caring for people and families through its free counselling services, and peer to peer support groups. Through education and advocacy, the company also works tirelessly to empower people in Ireland living with blindness or vision impairment. Adopting a different approach to finding a solution for blindness, Fighting Blindness has a unique mission in that it has embarked on a quest for a cure through investment in vision research, whilst also providing support and information for people who need immediate support. Through its services and dedicated team of staff, the team are always on hand to help answer any vision or vision research related queries people may have. With every team member striving towards achieving the same mission of curing and fighting blindness, there is widespread optimism amongst the team about what the future holds for Fighting Blindness. The team has recently partnered up with RNIB Northern Ireland and Scotland in order to launch the Need to Talk programme, and this has opened up a wealth of opportunities for staff to embrace and spread the mission of the company. Need to Talk is a cross border counselling, confidence building and peer support programme for people living with sight loss across Northern Ireland, Ayrshire & Arran, part of Highlands & Islands in Western Scotland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland. The team at Fighting Blindness is excited to roll this out over the next few years to bring support services to people IEA18049 who may be living in isolated rural areas. Catering to the needs of all clients, Therapeutic counselling (face to face, telephone, and digital), as well as ‘Living with Sight Loss’ courses are available. The courses will explore a range of topics covering mobility and daily living; emotional support and wellbeing; eye health and peer support. Overall, for anyone interested in hearing more about the exciting vision research taking place in Ireland and beyond, the company’s flagship event; the Retina Conference takes place every year mid-October coinciding with World Sight Day. The aim of the conference is to bring together eminent figures in the global effort to find treatments and cures for conditions causing sight loss. The event facilitates networking between Irish and international colleagues, leading to future collaborations and catalysing the next generation of vision research. A big part of the conference is the Public Engagement Day. People and families affected by sight loss, and members of the public were invited to attend and learn about developments in research and the importance of patient advocacy.