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Reaching Out project gets off the ground


Work is underway on a research project which will help BWBF reach hundreds more visually impaired people.

Earlier this year we reported how a generous grant from the ED Charitable Trust would allow British Wireless to reach even more blind and partially sighted people in need.

The funding was to launch our Reaching Out project, which will involve gathering the most up-to-date numbers of people with sight loss across the UK.

We will also research things such as population and data on means-tested benefit provision, as this is one of the criteria for someone to receive a set from us.

This information will then be analysed against where the charity has already issued radios so trends and gaps can be identified.

BWBF will then deliver a targeted campaign to raise awareness of its work in areas where it is not reaching as many people as it could be.

Ellie, who has been volunteering with us since 2012, has now started work on the research, known as mapping, using a Geographical Information System.

She studied geography and international development at university, so as well as being a huge benefit to us having her on board, it is useful and relevant experience for her.

The work has started by taking the postcodes of everybody who currently has a British Wireless set and converting them into longitudes and latitudes to clearly show everyone in the country who is using the charity at the moment and where they are.

This will then be laid over a map of Britain where Ellie will research other factors, such as areas of deprivation, population, our existing agents from other organisations and any other information which could help us look at where we need to reach more people.

Ellie is hoping to complete her mapping project by October, and BWBF will then analyse the data and look at moving forward from there.

She said: “I’m basically creating a foundation map of all BWBF recipients and then adding different layers over the top of it.

“It’s about seeing where British Wireless is now and seeing where it could be.”

BWBF CEO Margaret Grainger said: “We are really excited about our Reaching Out project as it’s something we’ve been looking to do for some time.

“We’re delighted to have Ellie on board helping us as we have been aware for a few years that we are not reaching everyone but we have lacked the resources to research where others are.

“Once again we would like to say a big thank you to the ED Charitable Trust for the very generous funding.

“We would also like to thank Esri for providing the software, ArcGIS, to us at a charitable rate.”

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