Ein Llais Ein Storm is a small part of a larger project ‘Your Voice: A Shared Vision’ run by Wales Council of the Blind and funded by Welsh Government.

Wales Council of the Blind is the umbrella agency in Wales representing blind and partially sighted people and the clubs and societies who support them. They gather the opinions and views of vision impaired people through groups and consultation. WCB put their voice at the centre of what they do, reporting our views to the people who are responsible for the services that help them. They also act as an agency to direct people to these services, giving them impartial advice and choice.

The new Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 places a new emphasis on person-centred services, amongst other things, where the voice of service users must be listened to.

The Act has a number of key themes: focusing on people; wellbeing; prevention and early intervention; partnership; accessibility; and new service models.

WCB’s role is to monitor changes in services through the regional groups where blind and partially sighted people are in control. As the umbrella organisation in Wales they recognise the good work carried out by third sector organisations on the ground. However, with the Act placing more pressure on societies and groups to do more with less money and with demands from funding bodies to be more accountable, WCB see their role as supporting third sector providers in this challenging environment.

WCB works with its partners to establish or maintain a series of regional groups of people with sight loss as well as regional groups of professionals and, where appropriate, bring these groups together. They provide secretariat for the sector on the Wales Vision Forum and ensure that our work is transparent and that its members are fully informed of its activities. In addition to continuing to work with its members, they have established new working relationships with North Wales Society for the Blind, Vision Support, UCAN Productions (to gain the voice of young adults) and Welsh Rehab Officers’ Forum to establish specific training modules for the profession. They also work with Sight Cymru to develop a BME forum.

UCAN Productions is an award winning performance and creative arts co-operative for blind and partially sighted children, young people and their friends between the ages of 7 and 25. Based in Cardiff, UCAN (Unique Creative Arts Network) works across the UK and exists to prove that visual impairment is no barrier to success. Programmes help to develop physical and vocal confidence, raise aspirations and promote individual abilities.

The Plan 2016-19

WCB’s Wales-wide work plan, based on the principle of partnership working, has five areas of work aimed at reducing the impact on Social Services.

We won’t be providing services on the ground, other than referring people to organisations that support people with sight loss.

WCB’s work-streams will address five outcomes:

  1. That people with sight loss benefit from improved support from local societies and groups.
  2. That people with sight loss influence design and delivery to achieve citizen-centred services.
  3. That people with sight loss and social care professionals are fully informed of the wider range of services/support available through an integrated information service.
  4. That the expertise in social services is used more efficiently and effectively.
  5. That services are better coordinated and monitored.

Ein Llais Ein Storm is run in partnership with UCAN Productions and is focusing on the Young Adults’ point.