University of Edinburgh

Closure of Visual Impairment Scotland

An important focus of the Scottish Sensory Centre (SSC) has always been its collaboration with schools and education authorities with services for children and young people with sensory impairments. In line with Scottish Government policies and guidelines this area of work developed to take account of the wider aspects of education and the requirement to develop multi-agency working with medical, social work, parents, the voluntary sector as well as the children and young people themselves. This resulted in the development of Visual Impairment Scotland (VIS), as a long-term project within the SSC in the early 1990s. Over the years, VIS has made an immense contribution to the world of visual impairment and its work, which will continue to influence the education of children and young people with a visual impairment. However, funding for this project has ceased and VI Scotland is in the process of decommissioning. As a means of ensuring continuity of service provision, in May 2013 the Scottish Government approved an application for the development of a Managed Clinical Network for children and young people with a visual impairment. All current content of the VIS website will be transferred to the SSC website. The SSC will work in collaboration with the new Network.

This network, Visual Impairment Network for Children and Young People (VINCYP), will officially commence in April 2014. This Network is a health funded and led group but has wide involvement from education, social and voluntary services. Its aim is to drive improvements in services by developing standards of care and measures of quality of care against which improvements in services can be measured. It will provide training and education for professionals and parents, including developing guidelines to ensure children get the same standard of care wherever they are treated, along with providing information through a website and other means. The website will include links and other information currently on the VIS website. The Network will also develop a database of children and young people with a visual impairment in Scotland that will be held on a national system supported by NHS Scotland and would aim to make figures available to allow for better planning of services.

It is intended that VINCYP will build on the good work undertaken by VIS.

The SSC would like to offer a general note of thanks to all families and professionals who have supported VI Scotland over the years.