Update – 20 March 2020

On 14 March the Scottish Government issued advice to care home providers that residents should be subject to social distancing during the Coronavirus outbreak to reduce the risk to them as they are in the high risk category. As a result, we were advised that visits to care home facilities must be reduced to essential only and that residents should stay in their rooms where possible.

In order to protect our most vulnerable service users in our care homes for older people, adult and children’s full-time residential care services we regard essential visits to be medical professionals only. Many of those we care for have life-limiting conditions and we have a responsibility to minimise the risk of infection. Sadly, this has meant families are unable to visit in person.

We understand and appreciate this is difficult and upsetting for some of our children, young people, adults, older people and their loved ones. However, these are unprecedented times and we must adhere to Government advice to protect the health and well-being of our service users. We are constantly monitoring and responding to official advice.

Our professional staff are managing the best way to do so in a person-centred manner. Colleagues are continuing to ensure all care needs are met and making arrangements to ensure this temporary situation is as comfortable as possible for residents. We are ensuring all residents have access to positive activities and social contact looking for creative ways to provide engagement, stimulation and connections with loved ones. Families are able to FaceTime, telephone and Skype as normal.

Royal Blind School day pupils

Further to Scottish Government announcements on 19 March regarding school closures and provision for complex additional support needs, we are currently intending to keep the Royal Blind School open for day pupils from Tuesday 24 March.

Our Early Years Support Group has had to close for the time being.

Click here to read more.

Forward Vision and Allermuir

In line with Scottish Government advice to protect the most vulnerable, residents in our care homes are subject to social distancing and are remaining in their rooms as much as possible. We have been advised that visits must be reduced to essential visits only. We are therefore restricting access to our residential care homes to essential medical visits only and request that all visits from relatives and friends should be suspended until further notice.

Our staff are on hand at all times to facilitate communication by telephone or video calls.

Read more about this in the "Full-time residential and nursing care services" section above.

Kidscene

Our after school and holiday club has had to close for the time being.

The Scottish Braille Press

The Scottish Braille Press is continuing its operations with additional precautionary measures to protect staff.

Head office

Head Office staff are all working, where possible from home now using Microsoft Teams and remote working technology. Phones in head office are diverted so individuals can be reached by phone or email as usual.

Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded is now providing support to members on a remote basis via telephone.

Staffing

We are doing our best to maintain staffing levels across our services that remain open despite having staff off because they are self-isolating or have underlying health conditions that mean they are unable to come to work. Those who are well but unable to come to work are working from home as much as possible to ensure business continuity during these difficult times.

Staff who are well and have no underlying health conditions across Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded who have spare capacity or are unable to fulfil their normal duties are working across different parts of the organisation to ensure that we can keep essential services and functions running. This will always be done following risk assessment and other considerations around skills and settings, with the wellbeing of our service users and staff the fundamental concern.

Fundraising

More than ever we are relying on our amazing supporters to help us through this difficult time.  If you had signed up to the Kiltwalk, Abseil or Edinburgh Marathon, Fundraising Officer Laura MacMillan will have been in touch to let you know these events have been postponed.

We’d like to reassure you that Royal Blind is still receiving donations securely by mail as staff are coming into the office to collect and process them. However, it might take us a little bit longer to send thank you letters. If you have any questions, please contact the fundraising team at fundraising@royalblind.org.

If you are able to support us to continue operations during this time:

Visit our website to make a donation.