Southport-based service gets £10,000 to support blind and visually impaired adults

Southport-based service gets £10,000 to support blind and visually impaired adults

by Tom Martin (April 2021)

Six Dots Counselling is celebrating after being awarded £10,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with blind and visually impaired adults in Sefton and the wider Merseyside area. 

The brand-new organisation, based in Southport, will use the cash to provide a one-to-one counselling service to those recently diagnosed with sight loss and to people who have been blind or visually impaired all of their lives.

Six Dots Counselling was set up in December 2020 and was founded by Kelly Barton after she recognised that the community was struggling to provide emotional support to those living with sight loss.

The organisation currently works with individuals throughout Sefton and Merseyside who are living with sight loss, by providing one-to-one counselling support either online or over the telephone, with face-to-face counselling sessions planned when lockdown restrictions lift. Thanks to funding all sessions are free of charge and are delivered by a qualified counsellor who has lived experience of visual impairment.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see many more counselling sessions being delivered. This means that an even greater number of blind and visually impaired adults can access this much needed service.

Kelly Barton, founder of Six Dots Counselling, said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to support those living with sight loss in our area. The past year has been particularly difficult for those who are blind and visually impaired; many have not left their homes and have lost their confidence in getting round this new world that we now live in. Social distancing when you can’t see is almost impossible and we are hoping that through counselling we can help people to re-engage with their local communities.”

Kelly, who is a qualified counsellor and has been registered blind since being born, added: “Being diagnosed with sight loss can be really overwhelming for people and currently very few people are offered emotional support at this stage. We want to support those recently diagnosed with sight loss and also people who have been blind or visually impaired all or part of their lives. We offer a sight loss counselling service, but we are here to support those with sight loss through any issues that they are currently facing.”

Kelly was inspired to set up Six Dots Counselling during the COVID pandemic after recognising herself the many difficulties that other blind and visually impaired people were facing.

She added: “It’s been such a difficult 12 months for everyone. I am very pro-active though and I just wanted to do something positive, to help change the lives of other blind and visually impaired people for the better. So, I decided to set up Six Dots Counselling and we are already working with several clients in the area and helping to improve their mental health and wellbeing.”

Lesley Muir-Taylor, Chairperson of Six Dots Counselling, added: “It is absolutely fantastic that we have received National Lottery funding. It means that we can help more people living with sight loss who are currently going through a tough time. It’s so important that people have someone to talk to and the fact that through Six Dots Counselling they will get to speak to a counsellor who is also visually impaired is really important - they know that they will be understood.

“Six Dots Counselling is a very new organisation, but we are excited to see it grow. There is currently no sight loss counselling provision in the Sefton area and it is vital that people get to hear about the work we are doing, so that we are able to help and support as many people as possible.”

To find out more about Six Dots Counselling please visit www.sixdotscounselling.org follow us on Twitter @sixdotsorg or Instagram @sixdotscounselling If you or some one you know would benefit from accessing our sight loss counselling service please email kelly@sixdotscounselling.org or call 07759 475 581.

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