sight loss services Northumberland

Sight loss services project

Understanding the support available for people with sight loss in Northumberland

Contracting organisation: Adapt North East
Contract value: £5,500
Delivery period: March 2022 to June 2022

Healthwatch Northumberland was established in 2013 and is delivered by Adapt (NE) based in Hexham. As defined by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for health and social care across the county. Our role is to give a voice to people who use services, encourage, and influence positive change to services and help meet the health and social care needs of the population.

Contract purpose and focus

This project will learn about the experiences of people in Northumberland who, in the last three years, have been issued with a Certificate of Visual Impairment. This could be due to a diagnosed eye condition or resulting from a health condition or incident (diabetes, stroke etc).

The ‘sight loss pathway’ aims to promote independence and autonomy for adults with sight loss to ensure that services are well coordinated across health and social care. The project will map the current eye care pathways and use the Seeing it My Way outcomes to gather people’s experiences before, during and as we come out of the pandemic. It will seek to understand what services have worked well and ideas for improvements.

This will require desk research, questionnaires/interviews with service providers and commissioners and interviews with people who have used services. The project’s key output will be a report describing the service user and where appropriate, carer experience, highlight good practice and make appropriate recommendations for changes or improvements. The report will be public and will be discussed with Northumberland County Council and health service commissioners and providers before publication.

We anticipate the project will use a mixture of structured and semi-structured individual interviews and possibly focus groups if relevant. The minimum number of participants required who have sight loss is ten. It is important that people from across the county and diverse communities can participate and that participation is accessible to people with sight loss.

Given the on-going Covid-19 situation using online, or telephone methods are acceptable ways to gather feedback. Physical meetings are possible if allowed within Covid-19 restrictions and subject to thorough risk assessment.

1. Contract duration and dates                                                                       

Tender issued: 10 February 2022
Submission deadline: 1 March 2022
Notification by: 10 March 2022
Work to commence: by end March 2022
Interim review: by 30 April 2022
Delivery of draft report: by 4 June 2022

2. Outputs

The key output required is a report with anonymised information:

a) Describing the process, findings and drawing on these to make any appropriate recommendations for further action by Healthwatch Northumberland, commissioners and service providers. The report should include an Executive Summary.

b) Two short case studies which represent the key theme(s) from the findings.

3. Conditions for participation

Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced individuals or organisations who demonstrate:

a) The ability, capacity, and commitment to meet the delivery timescale.
b) Knowledge or experience of the operation and purpose of sight loss care pathways and services.
c) Understanding of the ways in which patient and carer experience and voice can be used to influence service delivery.
d) Understanding of health and social care provision in Northumberland with a mixture of rural and urban areas, diverse and isolated communities.
e) Ability to work sensitively and appropriately with participants and with due regard to safeguarding for vulnerable individuals.
f) Value for money.

All applications will be assessed against these criteria. All criteria will carry equal weight initially but criteria a) will be used to make a final judgement if necessary.

4. Contract Value
The total contract value is up to £5,500. It is anticipated the work will take 20 days. All contractor costs should be covered in the contract price including travel, subsistence, office and administration costs. Healthwatch Northumberland will agree with the contractor if additional resources are required to ensure the process is accessible to people with sight loss.

5. Procedure for tendering and the submission deadline

In no more than five A4 pages provide:

a) Details of the main contact person for the project, address, phone numbers and e-mail address. If applicable, your website address.
b) Relevant previous experience including your background and, if applicable, the type of organisation you are, including company or charity registration numbers if applicable.
c) Details of the main people who will carry out the work. Due to the nature of the work you will need to be sensitive to the constraints on people’s time, their situations and have a constructive approach to working with service providers.
d) A delivery plan covering what you will do to deliver the outputs and a breakdown of your costs against your proposed activity.
e) A risk assessment including major risks for non-delivery and contingency plans to manage the risks. The risk assessment should also cover risks for Covid-19.
f) A hyperlink to, or attach a document of, one piece of relevant work you have done previously and which you consent to us contacting the contracting organisation, if we choose.

Applications should be sent by email to not later than 9.00am 24 February 2022. All applicants will be notified by 1 March 2022.

6. Payment
The agreed contract price will be paid in two instalments. 50% at commencement and 50% on agreed successful completion.

7. Contract
Adapt (NE) will issue a contract to the successful applicant. This will include a confidentiality clause.

8. Support
The successful applicant will be required to participate in a set-up meeting with Healthwatch Northumberland (costs within contract price) when regularity of contact and support will be agreed. Safeguarding process will also be agreed. At the start of the project Healthwatch Northumberland will agree with the contractor a list of relevant contacts, organisations and networks. Healthwatch Northumberland will introduce the project and the successful applicant to these contacts and to gain data sharing consent.

9. Legal duties
The successful applicant must comply with any legal obligations that may be relevant to the contract such as planning, licensing, employment, safeguarding, data protection, health and safety, insurance, and equality legalisation. The contractor must comply with all relevant Covid-19 safety restrictions in force at the time of the project or imposed during it. The contractor must carry out their own risk assessments for the work and is solely responsible for addressing those risks.

10. Intellectual Property
Adapt (NE) will own the intellectual property on all materials and reports produced.

11. Further information
For further information please contact Derry Nugent, Project Coordinator, Healthwatch Northumberland.

Please email or call 07590 880016.

This opportunity has now closed.

BID Services Northumberland

BID Sight Loss Drop In Service

BID Services is a charity working in partnership with children, young people and adults and their families and carers. It supports people who are deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired or have a dual sensory loss. Specialist service areas include advocacy, employment, British Sign Language interpreting and training, rehabilitation and mobility training, specialist equipment, residential care, social work, support for tinnitus and housing related services.

BID Services Northumberland is trying to further promote services across the community by having promotional tables at a range of venues for people to come along and discuss sight loss. There will be equipment on display and information leaflets available on different sight conditions. The people manning the table are qualified professionals within the sight loss area and are able to answer any questions you may have. Please see below where you can go and when to have a chat with the BID Services team.

For more information call 01670 293150.


Prudhoe Waterworld

Monday 17 February, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 25 June, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Friday 23 October, 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Wentworth Leisure Centre, Hexham

Monday 17 February, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Tuesday 25 June, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Friday 23 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm


Swan Centre, Berwick

Monday 20 January, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Wednesday 20 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Thursday 24 September, 10.30am – 12.30pm


Willowburn Leisure Centre, Alnwick

Monday 20 January, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Wednesday 20 May, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 24 September, 2.00pm – 4.00pm


Ashington Leisure Centre

Monday 20 April, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Wednesday 19 August, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Friday 4 December, 2.00pm – 4.00pm


Riverside Leisure Centre, Morpeth

Monday 20 April, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Wednesday 19 August, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 4 December, 11.00am – 1.00pm


Blyth Sports Centre

Wednesday 25 March, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Thursday 23 July, 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 20 November, 11.00am – 1..00pm


Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington

Wednesday 25 March, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Thursday 23 July, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Friday 20 November, 2.00pm – 4.00pm







close up of an eye

Sighted Guided Training 2018

Northumberland County Blind Association is holding some more family and friends Sighted Guided Training sessions. The sessions will enable you to safely and confidently guide someone with sight loss. Sessions will take place on:

Tuesday 23 January: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Wednesday 28 February: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Tuesday 27 March: 10.00am – 12.00pm or 1.00pm – 3.00pm

To book a place please call: 01670 514316 or email:


Northumberland Recovery College – Useful Apps for Visually Impaired People

In this free session by Northumberland Recovery College and NCBA, discover apps that can help if you or someone you know has a visual impairment.

The session will take place via Zoom. To book a place please email: or text 07515 326 750.

What is a recovery college?

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

Northumberland Recovery College – Useful Apps for Visually Impaired People

In this free session by Northumberland Recovery College and NCBA, discover apps that can help if you or someone you know has a visual impairment.

The session will take place via Zoom. To book a place please email: or text 07515 326 750.

What is a recovery college?

A recovery college is not a building or a place, it’s an opportunity to become your own expert in what works to manage your wellbeing. The college provides learning experiences, mutual support, and activities at a pace that is right for you.

National Eye Health Event

National Eye Health Week takes place between 23 and 29 September to promote the importance of good eye health and make people aware of the network of support services available locally.

Northumberland County Blind Association is holding an information event in Morpeth where you can get free information and advice from the following sight loss organisations:


  • Northumberland County Blind Association
  • BID Services
  • RNIB
  • Eye Clinic Professionals 


The Northumberland County Blind team will be available for one to one demonstrations of a range of vision aids, some of which are available free or for a small donation.