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Charity warns people are left to face blindness alone

The charity says people need to re-learn skills like how to get around Credit: ITV News

A new report published by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), has found people are having to wait for up to six months to access support after losing their sight.

The figures show in at least five local authorities in Wales, people are waiting over 24 weeks to access rehabilitation support.

The charity says when people first lose their sight, basic skills such as making a cup of tea, preparing a meal and being able to get around safely, all have to be re-learnt.

That support, they say, should be provided through local authority social services.

RNIB Cymru's survey also found significant variations in staffing levels for rehabilitation.

The Welsh Local Government Association recommends a ratio of one Rehabilitation Officer per 50,000 of population.

Six local authorities in Wales only employ one Rehabilitation Officer, but their populations vary from less than 70,000 to over 126,000.

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Blind charity's audio letters from Father Christmas

As children across Wales have been reading notes or letters from Father Christmas this year, children who are blind or partially sighted have been enjoying an audio letter instead.

It's part of a project by the charity RNIB Cymru.

The charity also says many people aren't necessarily aware of how most tablet computers have built-in functions to make themselves more usable for people with sight problems.

A lot of them you can find on the high street. What we're finding is people don't know that the accessibility functions are already built in, so it's a case of showing them, delivering a bit of training.

Training is done through staff and volunteers, and it really is a case of changing your day to day life and making things a lot easier.

– DARREN WILLIAMS, RNIB CYMRU

RNIB: 'DLA is vital to help blind people live a full life'

Alexandra McMillan, from RNIB Cymru, said Disability Living Allowance is vital to allowing someone to live independently. She criticised the idea of simply cutting it if a person doesn't use a guide dog.

"You have to look at the individual circumstances" she said.

"An awful lot of blind and partially-sighted people rely on their DLA to do basic things that sighted people take for granted - going to the shops or going to a doctor's appointment"

A spokesperson for the Department of Work & Pensions said the proposals mean "support will be focused on those who need it most", and that they "will look at an individual's needs, rather than labelling them by their health condition or impairment".