We provide information on a wide range of equipment, societies and support services for people who are blind, partially sighted or have dual sensory loss. Contact us and we will help you find the right information or put you in touch with one of our specialist social workers.
On this webpage we have listed all our sight loss information sheets. They tell you about organisations that can help and advise you, as well as what support we can give. You may also find local services and information to help you on our Somerset Choices website.
The information sheets are in pdf format so that you can save them or print them. If you click on the name of the information sheet you want, it will open for you.
If you would like them in a different format, such as on tape or CD, in Braille or in a different language, please contact us and we will send them to you. Each information sheets has a code number so that it is easier for you to refer to, or ask for if you contact us.
We hold a register of all blind and partially sighted people in Somerset who have chosen to be registered. If your sight is very poor, a hospital consultant may recommend that you register with us. Your GP can make an appointment for you to be seen by an eye consultant at the hospital who will decide if you can be registered.
Depending on your degree of sight loss, your consultant will certify that you are 'sight impaired or partially sighted' or 'severely sight impaired or blind'. If the consultant decides that you are eligible for registration they will complete a form called a Certificate of Visual Impairment which you will have to sign. A copy will be sent to you, your GP and Adult Social Care.
After your consultation, a social worker who specialises in working with visually impaired people will visit you to tell you about the services available and the advantages of having your name on the register. They can add your name to the register and you will then receive a registration card. There is no charge for registration. Registration is voluntary and you do not need to take it any further if you do not want to. You will still be able to receive some equipment and services even if you decide not to be registered.
Specialist social workers can visit people in their own homes to provide help and advice about problems of daily living, such as:
cooking and household activities
communication (referral to the low vision service, and talking books, as well as Braille and keyboard skills)
getting around safely
employment and leisure
There are no charges for an assessment or any advice given. The cost of equipment will vary depending on what is needed.
An organisation called Swan Advocacy provides an independent advocacy service in Somerset.
Swan Advocacy contact details:
Hi-point, Thomas Street, Taunton, TA2 6HB
Phone 03333 44 7928
Somerset Sight may also be able to help.
Benefits available for people who are registered severely sight-impaired, blind, sight-impaired or partially sighted
There are a variety of benefits available - some are given as a right, while others are paid depending on your circumstances.
There is no additional pension for a registered severely sight-impaired, blind, sight-impaired or partially sighted person. But, there are other benefits and concessions available which you may be eligible for. A social work assistant for visually impaired people can give advice about these. Or, you can contact the Action for Blind People Welfare Rights Unit or RNIB for information.
Income Tax Relief
An increased personal allowance is given to people registered severely sight-impaired, blind, sight-impaired or partially sighted.
People registered as severely sight-impaired or blind automatically qualify for parking concessions under the Blue Badge Scheme. Please contact us for details.
TV Licence Reduction.
People registered as severely sight-impaired or blind are entitled to a 50% reduction in their TV licence on production of proof of registration. TV licences are free for anyone over the age of 75 years.