Paul Jackson with Sara McCracken, Chief Executive
In the middle of January 2019, I visited Angel Eyes NI to present a cheque for £2,000. This will go towards funding a Saturday Club for partially sighted and blind children and their parents.
About Angel Eyes
Angel Eyes NI was founded in 2008 by two parents who wanted contact with others facing the challenge of bringing up a visually impaired child. Run by a committee made up of passionate and dedicated parents, the charity’s aim is to provide information and support from the first diagnosis of their child’s eye condition.
To achieve these aims, Angel Eyes delivers a range of services; providing emotional support, timely information, practical help, advocacy and lobbying. This ensures parents are supported through every step of their child’s life.
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 aged 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.
Virtual Reality – learning about sight limitations
In order to demonstrate how it feels to have sight limitations, prototype virtual reality equipment is available to parents, carers and teachers.
Sara persuaded Ulster University to develop the equipment with Jonathan Jackson, Head of Optometry at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
I tried the goggles which gave me a real sense of how difficult life is for some visually impaired children.
I learnt that some children only see in 2D which makes things like steps incredibly dangerous. Sara hopes that production of the equipment will become commercially viable.
Range of services
• Family days.
• Four educational days for parents per year.
• Emotional support – this is provided though a parents’ network 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.
For more details:
Visit Angel Eyes on www.angeleyesni.org