See With Me, a local group that provides assistance to people in the community with low or no vision, is in the process of incorporating.
Lauren Govan and her sister Jane Richey created the group in 2018 after Ms Govan started to lose her vision.
The sisters, who both have the hereditary disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, said they had seen family members and others in the community struggle to come to terms with losing their sight.
Ms Govan said See With Me was a self help group that fosters social inclusion and provides assistance to those coming to terms with a new way of life.
“We want to grow and be a useful resource for lots of people,” she said.
“It’s trying to create social inclusion as well, which is really important.
“It’s about recognising that because you have vision loss it is not the end of the world, although it’s really tough and life is different.”
Ms Richey said it was good to see the networking and support the group members give each other when they need it.
“If someone wants to buy a new phone, or a talking book, or something, instead of having to ring up some organisation that’s going to cost you a lot of money for them to come out and specifically tell you, people will say ‘oh I just bought this and this is no good for that’,” she said.
Already the group has meetings once a month, check in services to make sure members are ok, and provides basic technology training
By incorporating, the group will be able to offer more services, such as days out, they will be able to apply for grant funding, and they will be a legitimate service that professionals can refer people to for assistance.
Though the group is there to assist people with a vision impairment, Ms Govan said anyone was welcome to join in.
“It’s a nice way to connect with people, but we don’t always want it to be people with low vision or no vision, if people want to join in and be a part of the group or volunteer their time, we really encourage that,” she said.
The sisters have had different experiences with their disease.
Ms Govan was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa very early, but symptoms did not appear till she was about 40.
“It almost happened overnight, I was very short-sighted anyway, but I could still drive and do all sorts of stuff,” she said.
“It’s really taken hold over the last couple of years, my vision is getting worse and worse.
“I can see everything, but nothing in detail. It’s not blurry, it’s all just fading away, it’s like an old photo that is losing its quality.”
While Ms Richey also has the disease, it has not taken so much of her vision and she often has a carer’s role when she meets up with her family.
The groups meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, for more information you can call Lauren Goven 0405 424 265 or email [email protected]
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