Visual Impairment Enablement Services

We work with people of all ages living with sight loss across Greater Manchester. Our knowledgeable enablement team can help you with information, advice and guidance to make sure you can access the most appropriate support. We work together to assess your needs to make informed choices to build your confidence, independence and resilience.

Where we can support you

Our community hubs and services are spread across Greater Manchester, so you’ll never have to travel too far to find us. Here is a list of our community hubs:

Altrincham Hospital – Railway Street, Altrincham WA14 2RE
Bolton – The Sensory Centre at Thicketford, 336 Ainsworth Lane, Bolton BL2 2QL
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH) – Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL
Oldham – Medtia Place, 80 Union St, Oldham OL1 1DJ
Salford – venue to be confirmed
Tameside – 3-4 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield SK16 4LE
Trafford – Charity Head Office at 4a Washbrook House, Lancastrian Office Centre, Talbot Road, Stretford M32 0FP
Wythenshawe – Wythenshawe Forum, Simonsway, Wythenshawe M22 5RX

*As COVID restrictions ease, we are pleased to be able to re-open our Hubs and resume some of our groups face-to-face.

It is important that we keep service users, staff and volunteers safe so we have implemented measures such as limiting numbers and requesting people wear face coverings when moving around the hub. Please download our leaflet for information about the current safety measures in place.

Visiting the hubs: Frequently Asked Questions

We have also put together blogs discussing the return of service users to our Hubs in Tameside and Bolton.

Find out more about returning to the Tameside hub

Find out more about returning to the Bolton hub

We look forward to welcoming you to all our hubs across Greater Manchester.

Service user

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about our services.

  • Q: How can I get support if I’ve just been diagnosed with sight loss?
    A: You can phone our First Step Team for information, advice and guidance on 0300 222 5555, or email them at info@henshaws.org.uk
    Our friendly team will chat with you to find out more, explain what should happen next, talk through your options and signpost/refer you to support near you.
    If you live in Greater Manchester, we have enablement officers in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Salford, Tameside and Trafford.
    They can let you know more about what support is in your area and work with you to access the free support that we offer. See below for what we offer.
  • Q: How can I connect with others with a visual impairment?
    A: We offer groups and courses across Greater Manchester where you can connect with others for peer support and advice. These include our Living Well with Sight Loss courses, Tech Talk groups, and Friendship Matters groups.
    See below for all that we offer.
  • Q: Do you offer any support to help me read now I’ve lost my sight?
    A: Our Digital Enablement Team offer information about solutions to help you read, including accessibility features on phones and tablets, magnification software and products, and text-to-speech gadgets. We also have information in our Knowledge Village about reading, including this blog outlining services which offer accessible books.
  • Q: How can you put me in touch with other visually impaired people if I’m feeling isolated?
    A: We offer a range of groups and activities across Greater Manchester, face-to-face and over the telephone, that can provide a chance to meet with others, make new friends and learn new skills. See below for all that we offer.
Philippa smiling whilst on the telephone

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG)

Speak to our experts about any sight loss issue – we can support you, as well as your friends/family, and healthcare professionals that work with you. We can support you in taking your next step and can also refer you to other organisations as necessary.

Find out more about IAG
Gail Brett , Henshaws Community Enablement Officer (pink top) with guide dog Wanda. Pictured with Lynsey Clarke, Altrincham Hospital sister.

Patient Support Service

Our Patient Support Service is available at both Manchester Royal Eye and Altrincham Hospitals, providing someone to talk to in confidence, medical information explained in a clear way, and advice and equipment.

Find out more about Patient Support
Skillstep

Living Well with Sight Loss course

Our Living Well with Sight Loss (LWWSL) course is free to attend and aims to give you information and advice about living with your sight loss. Dates of upcoming courses can be found through the link below.

Find out more about LWWSL
Discussing stages of grief in a counselling session.

Counselling

It can be difficult to come to terms with being diagnosed with sight loss. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed, but it can help to have someone to talk to who can empathise and help you process the many emotions you can feel after your diagnosis.

Find out more about counselling
Yoga image

Exercise classes

These classes are designed to get you moving, at your own pace and ability, to improve your range of movement, strength and fitness. The sessions are for anyone in Greater Manchester experiencing sight loss.

Find out more about exercise

Digital Enablement Service

Our digital enablement team are here to find the solution that works for you, no matter what your sight level, age, or technical ability is. Our team provide assessments, training, groups and online resources on a number of digital products.

Find out more about Digital Enablement
Service users socialising at a group

Groups and activities

We offer a number of different groups and regular activities across Greater Manchester, from sessions in Braille and digital technology, to social and special interest groups. View a full list of our offer in the link below.

Find out more about our groups

Online Knowledge Village support

Our online resources including eBooks, videos and our blog provide free information on living with sight loss, so you can access our help and advice no matter where you are. These resources are useful if you or a family member are blind or visually impaired, or if you are a healthcare professional.

Find out more about Knowledge Village

Sylvia and Kathleen's story

“When I found out these free classes would be running at my local library, I jumped at the chance – it was so convenient! The exercise classes are great – the session leaders are wonderful, so supportive and make sure the class is suitable for all levels.

One of the best things I’ve gained is new friends. I’ve really enjoyed socialising with the other class members. I’ve come to accept my visual impairment over the years but Kathleen’s sight loss is more recent so I’m hoping I can provide emotional support and a shoulder to lean on. Thank you Henshaws, for giving me an extra spring in my step and for introducing me to a wonderful new supportive group of friends!”

Read more about Sylvia and Kathleen's story