Two days after lockdown started, Berkshire Vision began remote activities including armchair exercise, yoga, cardio, and dragon boating. Sessions were designed for people at differing levels of mobility, health and fitness. They were accessible for all levels of sight loss and all ages.
Over two-thirds of participants chose to dial in to sessions overcoming digital exclusion. Volunteers were trained as 'Tech Buddies' to support peers using tablets and smartphones. To boost wellbeing, and combat disorientation, the programme mirrored daily routines: morning stretches, coffee time 'shake up', and competitive team evenings quizzes.
Participants were supported to lead sessions including meditation, history talks, and wine tasting. Peer support groups reached people most at risk including those with diabetic retinopathy, age related Macular Degeneration, and Esme's Friends for people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. When permitted, socially distanced activities like tennis, ten-pin bowling, walks and picnics, were added. 157 people with sight loss attended 1,270 times.