Sensory awareness training toolkit is launched in Derry

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The Sensory Engagement Programme (SEP) have launched a digital training toolkit to raise awareness among service providers.

The toolkit is aimed at promoting awareness of what it is like to be blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing and using every day services.

The launch took place at the end of last month in Derry and the SEP will offer the service on a cross-border basis. The core focus of the free online resource is on accessing libraries, colleges and banks.

“The SEP has made a significant impact to the lives of blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing on an all Ireland basis,” Pat Colgan, Chief Executive at the SEUPB said.

The launch of the Digital Training toolkit represents the culmination of three years of work from an innovative cross border partnership between the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB NI), Action on Hearing 
Loss, National Council for 
the Blind of Ireland 
(NCBI) and DeafHear.

Barry Macaulay, Senior Manager, Independent Living at RNIB NI said: “The SEP has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of hundreds of people living with sensory loss.

“The digital training toolkit will represent a lasting legacy to the programme, the creation of this online resource epitomises what SEP has been about from day one; empowering people with sensory loss to be more confident, active citizens and educate service providers to be more accessible for all their service users.”

SEP participants Lisa Dawson and Michael Joyce spoke of how they worked through the programme directly with key service providers in the North West to improve access and increase awareness of the issues facing people who are blind, partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing.

Lisa said: “SEP has given me the confidence in living with my hearing loss. I am delighted to be involved in the legacy of a great project and I feel extremely proud knowing that what I have to say will help others understand what it’s like for me to live with my hearing loss and ease the way for better communication.”

Michael Joyce, who worked with the staff and management of the Central Library in the city on increasing access to services for blind and partially sighted people, said: “Through the SEP I’ve been involved in a number of initiatives in my local library. I have found my engagement with them very helpful and enjoyable and I’m grateful to SEP for helping me to the bridge the communication gap for myself and others.”

This online training resource comprises a series of short films focusing the participant’s personal experiences. A series of downloadable training materials for service providers is currently available at www.sensoryengagement.com.