Visual Impairment Awareness Training (VIAT)

An overview

Wakefield District Sight Aid has been supporting visually impaired people in our community for over 150 years.

We are thrilled to be one of the first organisations in the country to be granted a licence to deliver training using the innovative EYEWARE app, developed by RNIB, which uses the very latest Augmented Reality technology to give users an immersive experience of the most common eye conditions in various stages of development.

Our VIAT sessions are practical and engaging, specifically tailored to meet your team’s needs and current levels of knowledge. We are flexible and can offer anything from informal one-hour sessions to more structured full day training.

Our sessions cover the following core topics:

  • Key information and statistics on sight loss in the UK, and locally.
  • An overview of the most common eye conditions and other health conditions that can have an impact on sight loss (e.g. diabetes, stroke).
  • Challenging visual impairment stereotypes and misconceptions.
  • The emotional impacts of sight loss and how to empathise with people at different stages of their journey.
  • How to make simple adaptations to your premises to improve accessibility.
  • Advice and tips on sighted guiding to help build your team’s confidence and improve customer service for a visually impaired person.
  • The support that Wakefield District Sight Aid (and other agencies) can offer, and how to refer into these services.

At a recent session we delivered to a large GP surgery in Knottingley, all the participants scored the course content as good or excellent, and all said they would recommend the course to others.

The Practice Manager said: "We found the session fantastic, the videos and the content used reached all staff, was highly informative and interesting. All staff came away having learned something with a much greater understanding of people living with visual impairment."

Meet our trainers

Our Sight Loss Advisor, Nicola Ford, joined us in 2018 as a qualified dispensing optician of over 20 years’ standing, and has considerable experience of delivering low vision services. Nicola works with people with a visual impairment in our community every day, leading our home visiting service and delivering our Living Well With Sight Loss confidence-building courses.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Hayley Grocock, has an OCN Level 3 qualification in Understanding Sensory Impairment and has been leading the charity since September 2017. Hayley is a member of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Access Group, which aims to improve access to frontline NHS services for people with additional requirements.

Our volunteer, Richard Doherty, supports the delivery of our Living Well With Sight Loss courses and sits on our Board of Trustees. He has lived experience of sight loss, having been diagnosed with a rare genetic eye condition called choroideremia which causes progressive vision loss.

Testimonials from previous sessions

"The advice on how to assist and guide a visually impaired person is something I would share with others."

"I was surprised about] the impact that losing sight can have on even young people."

"I had never thought about how vision impairment can have such an emotional impact."

"The number of people affected by visual impairment shocked me."

"I never realised how much our eyesight impacts on our wellbeing."

"Content and presentation was excellent with a smooth transition between presenters."

Designing a session for your team/organisation

The costs for delivering our training depend on your group size (and therefore the number of trainers needed) and the length of session you require. We are happy to work within your budgets and are here to help, so please get in touch to discuss how we can work together to upskill your team.  

We look forward to working with you.

For more information or an informal chat, please contact:

Hayley Grocock, Chief Executive Officer


T: 01924 215555