Your views help to shape the future of our charity.
Here are some of the ways we are putting your suggestions into action:
VICTA has developed an enviable reputation for delivering high-energy physical activities from skiing in Italy to rock climbing in the Brecon Beacons to hiking expeditions in the Peak District. While highly popular we wanted to build a more balanced calendar that delivered a number of creative activities for those with an interest in the arts.
In conversation with parents we developed a better sense of what might prove popular. And in 2019 we introduced workshops with performing arts group Extant and a photography course with the London Institute of Photography from which participants will receive a Discovery Arts Award.
At our Family Weekends and Family Days, there is only ever one hot topic of conversation – education. More specifically, Education, Health and Care Plans. We know that EHCPs can be a huge source of stress and anxiety, fuelled by a lack of information and knowledge as to parents’ rights and entitlements, and the responsibilities of schools and councils.
To counteract this, we developed our EHCP FAQ, to provide answers to the key questions parents have. Aimed at myth-busting false information and streamlining the EHCP process, this FAQ has become a wealth of information to the many parents who have made use of it.
Young ambassadors programme
Our Young ambassador programme was introduced in response to parents asking us to strengthen our employability focus. For young adults aged 18 to 29 the programme is shaped around projects designed to strengthen key employability skills and build business understanding, all supported with bespoke mentoring. Throughout the programme, we work with each Young Ambassador to show how their learning and newly acquired skills translate into a strengthened CV, job application or personal statement.
VICTA Parent Portal
Over the years, we have heard parents describe the endless hours they would spend trawling the internet trying to find the information they needed for their child. Information on schools, benefits, hobbies and more. With no one central site providing this information, parents would end up frustrated and disheartened.
To fill this gap, we have created the VICTA Parent Portal, a one stop information hub for all parents and carers raising a child who is blind or partially sighted. The Portal has a wealth of information covering topics from Early Years to Assistive Technology, and signposts to many other organisations out there who can help. victaparents.org.uk
While our family days and weekends allow families with a visually impaired child to attend up to the age of 17, our Youth and Young Adult activities currently start from the age of 14. Parents have often expressed frustration caused by their child’s disappointment when realising they are not old enough to attend an exciting activity, having to wait until their mid-teens. Understanding that it’s never too early for a child to develop independence and social skills, we are introducing activities for pre-teens (10 to 13 years) with a mixture of one day events and residential overnight trips. These activities will bring younger children together to take part in fun days out away from their parents, often for the first time, and to meet other children with a vision impairment. Being able to relate to someone of a similar age going through some of the same hurdles is not always possible in schools or local settings. These activities allow positive relationships to grow during a challenging growing up phase as children leave primary school and enter secondary school.