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9th Jul 2019
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A Norfolk charity has been awarded £95,000 from the National Lottery’s Community Fund to develop an app to link people with visual impairment with volunteers throughout the county.

The Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind - which last week announced it is to change its name to Vision Norfolk from January next year – will create the app in conjunction with a Norfolk-based technology firm.

The new app will help the estimated 35,000 people living in Norfolk who have some degree of sight loss to connect with volunteers to help with everyday tasks and activities that may require assistance.  These could range from help getting to doctor’s appointments or going shopping to enabling visually-impaired people to take part in employment or leisure activities.

The charity currently has over 200 volunteers who help Norfolk’s visually-impaired people live full and independent lives, and it is hoped that the new app will make their work more efficient and effective, as well as enable more people to step forward as volunteers.

“Many visually-impaired people rely on volunteers to help them do the kind of things which sighted people take for granted,” said Gina Dormer, chief executive of the NNAB.  “The new app will enable visually-impaired people to post requests for help, and it will match them with suitable volunteers who are available to assist.

“As well as increasing the effectiveness of our wonderful army of volunteers, the app will ensure that all such interactions happen in a secure and trusted environment.

“We are extremely fortunate to have received such a big grant from the National Lottery Community Fund, and our aim is to use it to create something which will not just help people in Norfolk, but can be rolled out nationally for the benefit of similar organisations across the UK.”

Following a tendering process, local technology firm Hyper Pixel has been appointed by the NNAB as the developer, with the aim of it being live by end of 2019.