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£10,000 Community Grant Brightens Lives through BucksVision's Befriending Service

"After losing my wife, I got into a complete muddle with my correspondence...” 

At Milton Keynes Community Foundation, our mission has always been to create positive change within our community. We are dedicated to making a difference and improving the lives of people in our community by funding a diverse range of projects across the city. 

Sight Loss and Isolation

In March 2022, BucksVision was awarded a £10,000 Community Grant to support its Befriending Service programme, which offers companionship to individuals experiencing extreme sight loss and suffering from social isolation. 

Today, we would like to share an impact story from BucksVision, a vision impairment charity supporting people with sight loss across Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire. 

Image Credit: BucksVision

Companionship during Covid-19

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns, the demand for BucksVision's face-to-face services has steadily risen, especially among older individuals. 

Many of these individuals, already challenged by mobility issues due to sight loss, found themselves isolated and vulnerable. BucksVision's Home Support Service emerged as a lifeline, ensuring regular contact and companionship for 40 people who would have otherwise been housebound. 

Befrienders visit these individuals in their own homes regularly. They engage in conversations, provide companionship, and sometimes go out for coffee or a walk, depending on the client's interests and requirements. 

Many beneficiaries live alone, with a substantial portion in the 70+ age group who were advised to shield during the pandemic, intensifying the isolation they experienced due to sight loss.

Image Credit: BucksVision

Meet Mr. A, a gentleman in his 80s.

Meet Mr. A, a gentleman in his 80s. 

Life took an unexpected turn for him when he lost his beloved wife, who had been his pillar of strength.

She was previously the one who managed their paperwork, post, and emails and would read to him. 

"After losing my wife, I got into a complete muddle with my correspondence...” 

BucksVision realised how much their assistance improved Mr. A's life, easing his feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and vulnerability.

Their support was not just helping him manage paperwork; they were giving him back a sense of connection and control.

“...Having my befriender come in once a week to help with this has been a godsend, I don't know what I would do without them."

Mr. A

Befriending Service: Transformative Impact

Through surveys and heartfelt feedback, it is evident that the Befriending Service has made a significant, positive impact on their lives. BucksVision witnessed a remarkable increase in the confidence of their beneficiaries.  

This transformation was reflected in the steady growth of their volunteer base, which currently stands at approximately 270 individuals.  

During this period, BucksVision learned several valuable lessons. They observed that the project effectively reduced loneliness among people with sight loss, particularly those facing mobility challenges and social anxiety.  

While the overall number of beneficiaries did not increase due to inevitable circumstances, such as beneficiaries passing away or changing circumstances, the impact on those it reached was profound. 

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Interested in our Grant Programmes?

Get in touch with our Philanthropy team on 01908 690 276 or visit our Grants Page