Each week we are going to be saying “Hello” to another organisation in the VI world to learn more about who they are and what they do.

This week, we are chatting to Philippa Swettenham (Information, Advice and Guidance Advisor – First Steps) and Mel Cooke (Community Services Manager – Children and Young People) from Henshaws.

So, Hi Philippa and Mel, please can you tell us about Henshaws:

Henshaws is a northern charity, one of the oldest in the UK – in 2017 we celebrated our 180th birthday – that supports people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities.

We provide Community Services across Greater Manchester and in Liverpool. This includes our:

  • First Steps Information, Advice and Guidance team
  • Patient Support Services (at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Altrincham Hospital)
  • Enablement Services (such as social and specialist groups, Living Well with Sight Loss courses and counselling)
  • Digital Enablement Services

Additionally, in North Yorkshire, we have a Specialist College based in Harrogate and an Arts and Crafts Centre based in Knaresborough.

We also offer training and services for businesses such as Visual Impairment Awareness training and a Transcription service. 

And you have an online Knowledge Village that can be accessed by anyone, regardless of where they live? 

Yes, here we share our knowledge and expertise through videos, blogs, resources and an eBook library. There is a general section but then, to help guide people to the content that they want, we also have specific sections such as Technology; Apps; Eye Conditions; Benefits and Support; Daily Living Skills; Life Hacks; Children and Young People; plus Health and Wellbeing. There is also a new section for COVID-19.

You can sign up for a monthly email to keep up to date with all new content.

What is the “I Can Do It” programme?

These are courses designed for children and young people with visual impairments to help them learn new skills, both physically and emotionally, to allow them to become more independent and confident. We cover a variety of topics such as keeping safe at home, outside and online; doing things for yourself; and thinking about growing up. They are great fun!

How can we find out more information?

For general enquiries you can phone us on 0300 2225555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk. You can also visit our website or connect with us via our social media channels: