Grampian Society for the Blind was founded in 1879 and is run by a voluntary board which includes service users. In late 2010 it adopted the operational name of North East Sensory Services (NESS).
NESS offers a social work and rehabilitation service to people with sight loss / hearing loss and the Deaf communities in the Aberdeen City and Moray areas, under contract to Aberdeen City and Moray Councils.
Certain charitable services are also available to residents of Aberdeenshire, statutory services are carried out by the Council there.
NESS offices are situated in Aberdeen and Elgin although the majority of the work is carried out in peoples’ own homes. NESS offers the following services:
- Social work and rehabilitation services, mostly at home but some centre based
- Employment Advice Service
- Support Project for Young People
- Befriending Service
- Social activities
- Large resource for specialist equipment to try, borrow or buy
- Advice on specialist computer and CCTV equipment
NESS also has a range of informative leaflets available and assistance is given with claiming all relevant benefits. Several clubs and groups run throughout the area, including self help and special groups as well as social gatherings.
NESS holds the Registers of Blind and Partially Sighted people for Aberdeen and Moray Councils. It employs a team of Social Workers and Rehabilitation Workers who visit registered people and their families throughout the area.
Non registered but severely visually impaired people are also assisted.
Registration is voluntary but has many advantages. It acts as a passport to several services making them simpler to get and some benefits are only available to the registered blind. You do not have to be totally blind to be registered blind.
The test which the eye specialist (consultant ophthalmologist) applies is whether you are so blind as to be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential. Other disabling factors such as youth or old age are ignored for this test.
Advisory visits can be made by the Society to anyone contemplating seeking registration. NESS can arrange referrals to the Eye Clinic in suitable cases - this is done via the person's GP. In addition to this, unregistered people can self-refer to NESS and can be given practical help such as marking cooker controls and so forth where this is required.
People with hearing loss and Deaf people can register with NESS to receive its services. We welcome referrals from health professionals, individuals, families/carers and other organisations.
- The Resource Centre in Aberdeen has a selection of special equipment for people with sight loss and hearing loss. There is a mail order facility for out of town purchasers. A subsidiary centre is at Elizabeth House, 10 Victoria Crescent, Elgin Tel: 0845 2712345
- A drop-in / postal lending facility for large print books, cds, audio-described videos and tapes is open in the Resource Centre Monday to Friday from 10.00am-2.00pm. This is open to people with visual impairment whether they are registered or not and the joining fee is £10.00
- A fitness room, supervised by volunteers, is available to registered clients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.00am-2.00pm - application forms are available from the Society
- A technology room is available in both resource centres, containing high power magnifiers (CCTVs) and specialist computer equipment. The ICT Officer offers tuition in using specialist computer programmes. The facilities are free, paper is charged at cost. Booking is recommended
- There are also meeting rooms available to book and a range of client groups and clubs meet at both premises
- A drop-in café in Aberdeen is open 10.00am-1.00pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; a drop in coffee morning is held in Elgin every Tuesday from 10.00am-12.00 midday.
- A transcription service produces material in Braille, on CD/Tape or BSL DVD to assist businesses and individuals to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act
- Advice to shops and businesses on making print material and premises accessible to visually impaired/hearing impaired people is also available. We run regular visual awareness training sessions
- Radios, radio cassettes and CD players supplied by the British Wireless for the Blind Fund can be made available free of charge to qualifying registered clients
- Tapes and CDs containing recordings of mainly local material are supplied by the NESS Audio Service
Area Covered: Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire / Moray
Aberdeenshire Coverage: Banff & Buchan / Buchan / Formartine / Garioch / Kincardine & Mearns / Marr
Mon-Fri: 9.00am-4.00pm or by appointment
Referral: Referrals from ophthalmology and audiology departments at local hospitals, individuals, professionals, carers and family members
Provided on a voluntary basis
Scottish Charity No.: SC009537
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Wheelchair available for use
Hearing enhancement system information: meeting rooms equipped with room loop, portable loop available
Sign language information: staff are trained to BSL level 2/1, interpreters available by prior arrangement
Toilets and shower accessible to people with disabilities