Information, Advice and Guidance

When you have a visual impairment or other disability, it can be difficult to find information about what services are available. Our team is here to help.

Philippa smiling whilst on the telephone

First Step Team

Our First Step Team can provide you with specialist information and advice as well as emotional and practical support, to help you overcome everyday challenges and take your next steps. In addition, we can also signpost you to other relevant organisations who may be able to help you.

To get in touch with our First Step team, call 0300 222 5555 or email

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

Patient Support Service

We also offer a Patient Support Service at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Altrincham Hospital for adults, providing someone to talk to in confidence, a link with medical staff, medical information explained in a clear way and advice on local services, aids and equipment.

Our Patient Support Service can be contacted on 0300 222 5555 or email

Find out more about Patient Support
Man stood outside house with cane

First Step Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) Service

If your sight loss reaches certain levels, you can be certified as severely sight impaired or sight impaired by your eye specialist (ophthalmologist).

Find out more

Online support in our Knowledge Village

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.

Explore our Knowledge Village

Frequently asked questions to our First Step service

Q. How can I apply for or renew a Blue Badge?
A. You can apply for or renew a Blue Badge online here:

Q. How can I access my mobile phone or tablet?
A. Most devices have built-in accessibility features, such as Apple Zoom/VoiceOver. Our Digital Enablement Team can help with training – find out more here.

Q. I’m struggling with tasks at home, is there any support available?
A. Yes, your local Sensory Team can complete a full daily living and mobility assessment. The Sensory Team is part of Adult Social Services at each local authority and their aim is to enable people living with sight loss to remain as independent as possible. You can download a list of Sensory Team contacts for Greater Manchester here.

Q. I’m struggling to come to terms with my sight loss, is there any help?
A. Yes, our sight loss counselling service provides specialist one–to–one counselling.  You can find out more here.