Visit to Angel Eyes NI on 15th April 2019
I visited Angel Eyes NI on 15th April 2019, to assess a grant application for funding their OHANA (Overcome Hurdles and Never be Afraid) project for partially sighted and blind children and their parents.
About Angel Eyes
Angel Eyes NI is run by a Committee made up of passionate and dedicated parents who want to support others and ensure all parents receive the information they need from diagnosis of their child’s eye condition.
The Charity was founded in 2008 by two parents who wanted contact with other parents facing the same challenges in bringing up a child with a visual impairment.
To achieve these aims Angel Eyes delivers a range of services from providing emotional support, timely information, practical help, advocacy and lobbying to ensure parents are supported through every step of their child’s life.
These services include:-
Four Educational days for parents per year
Emotional support for parents though a network of parents throughout Northern Ireland
Referral to other appropriate services and agencies
Information for parents on the types of services available to them
General day to day advice, help and support
I met Sara McCracken, Chief Executive and Karen Wilson, Education Advocate. Sara explained that Angel Eyes has expanded so quickly that it is now assisting 500 families, especially those families with children from birth to four years old. The charity has started to support Children in Southern Ireland and is also working with similar charities across Ireland.
Karen explained that the OHANA Project – which means family in Hawaiian, is specifically aimed at older children with sight problems and their families. One of the aims of the project is to support partially sighted children who may struggle during their secondary education. The three day residential workshop will support all family members by improving their confidence and skills.
Children suffering from sight issues find it almost impossible to take part in mainstream sports. British Blind Sport will be introducing children to new sports during the workshops to help children live more healthy lives. The project will support 30 people and it is hoped that Angel Eyes will run this project annually, with the feedback and success of the project carefully monitored.
I think this is a very well-considered project that fills a need for partially sighted older children in Northern Ireland. Angel Eyes has a good record of supporting children and their families in Northern Ireland.
Find out more about Angel Eyes NI