Let's Get Digital Visibility

The Gathering 2018


Charity registered in Scotland SC009738

Visibility was established in 1859 to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people of all ages across Glasgow and the West of Scotland – since then, we have grown to become the leading sight loss charity for the west of Scotland. We develop and deliver a wide range of advice, support and local direct services to help those who are affected by a visual impairment to feel less isolated, more confident and independent. We also offer support and information to families and carers of people affected by sight loss and also to other health and social care professionals across the voluntary and statutory sectors.

Throughout the West of Scotland, we reach and engage with over 3,000 people every year from across all groups, backgrounds and communities.

We listen and respond to people affected by visual impairment, encouraging a culture and environment which promotes choice and independence for all

  • From 3rd April 2017 to 30th March 2018
  • Award: £10,000 via Call 4
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Project plan

Project description

Participants will be blind or partially sighted older people residing in any of their 13 target LAAs. Basic Digital Skills training will be delivered in small groups or 1-2-1 covering a number of topics. Training will be delivered locally through Peer Support Groups, specific to the needs of the person and will use either their own technology or we will lend a tablet for participants to practice on and help them to decide what to buy. As part of this training, the team will demonstrate alternative technology to broaden their knowledge and options in using their new digital skills. Let's Get Digital will underpin all of their services for older people; the training will roll out across all projects to ensure an additional layer of skills development opportunities for service users and support for staff, along with volunteer skills development.

Project milestones

Phase 1

All staff and volunteers are trained to a level of competency where they can describe and/or demonstrate digital technology to people with visual impairments. By 31/05/2017

Phase 2

100 older people who are visually impaired will have an understanding of accessibility tools and how these can help people access technology. By 30/03/2018

Phase 3

75% of older people will be using digital technology to enhance their day-to-day lives By 30/03/2018.



All frontline Visibility staff have been trained to ensure a consistent knowledge and understanding of basic digital skills across the workforce. The training has embedded the knowledge within the organisation and staff feel confident about initiating a conversation with people around accessible technology, they can explore the person's area of interest and find that hook. Visibility staff work within a range of projects across 13 local authority areas and staff are referring people to the project from these areas. Up until the end of June 2017 a series of information talks have been delivered at our peer support groups in Oban, Glasgow and Dumfries groups with talks planned for the Lockerbie and Annan groups in August. A total of 32 people have had 1:1 training, 25 from group talks, 18 Visibility staff have been trained, plus one member of staff from Dumfries and Galloway's Visual Impairment Team. This is a total number of 76 people trained (service users and staff)

We have seen a continued rise in referrals from Visibility staff working within a range of projects, as well as a slight increase in referrals from local VI Teams and other organisations which came about as a result of some outreach work and awareness raising.

For the period November 2017 - February 2018 we have focused mainly on the 1:1 personalised training approach as demand has been high. We also delivered community sessions in Hamilton in January (6 people) and attended peer support groups in Kelloholm (3 people) and Cumbernauld in November (6 people). We also attended two drop-in "Dolphin Low Vision" events alongside other exhibitors including charities, local service providers and suppliers of assistive technology.

A total of 54 people have had 1:1 training (in our base at Queens Crescent, Hamilton, or at home) from November – February totalling 83 1:1 sessions. More sessions were booked over this period however due to wintry weather and difficult conditions this resulted in 22 sessions being cancelled (these sessions are not included in the figures below).
An extra 9 people were trained through the peer group sessions as mentioned previously.

From the commencement of the project a total number of 107 people have been trained in 1:1 Sessions, plus 59 from peer groups and 19 staff making a total of 185 people trained throughout the year.

Since all of Visibility's frontline staff have been trained in basic digital skills we have seen an increase in referrals from staff working within a range of projects across 13 local authority areas.

Up to the end of October 2017 a series of information talks have been delivered at our peer support groups in Oban, Glasgow, Cumbernauld, Dumfries, Lockerbie and Annan with further training in Kelloholm and Helensburgh planned for November; many of these groups are in rural communities.

A total of 53 people have had 1:1 training (in our base at Queens Crescent or at home), plus 50 have been taught through group talks, 18 Visibility staff have been trained, plus one member of staff from Dumfries and Galloway's Visual Impairment Team. From the commencement of the project this equates to a total number of 122 people trained (service users and staff)

Visibility's Let's Get Digital project supported 173 individuals who are blind or partially sighted over the age of 55 who live in the West and South of Scotland. The project aim was to equip people with basic digital skills so that they could confidently use a smartphone or tablet, in order to live more independently, communicate with friends and family, and reduce isolation.

For us, demonstrating the accessibility features on devices to service users has proved to be life-changing. Regardless of the ultimate goal of 'speaking to family on Facebook', 'accessing books and information' or 'shopping independently', the real value lies in being able to use the device each person owns in a way that works for them. Without basic accessibility skills, people cannot begin to navigate around their phone, communicate with others or download apps. Depending on the pace which the person learns at, their memory, support network, and the amount of practice they put in, it takes at least one or two lessons to even master the basic accessibility features. This is something we think is a vital skill for anyone with a visual impairment in order to access the wider digital world, and to be able to do things that the sighted population take for granted such as making a call, sending a text message or reading a webpage.

The majority of our sessions were one-to-one learning between a participant and a tutor, whether the person was starting their digital journey from scratch, or already had a device and wanted to learn more about how to use it with low/no vision. Group sessions focused on topics such as "useful apps" and "accessibility features" and were delivered to Visibility's existing peer support groups. We made sure that our main priority was to provide person-centred one-to-one support, taking into consideration each person's interests, goals and ability whilst teaching. This model worked much better than a group session as participants had the full attention of the tutor, they could focus on learning what they wanted rather than a standardised course, and they could learn at their own pace and ask any questions they thought of along the way.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: