Community Support Groups

Community Support Groups exist in local communities across New Zealand. The volunteers who make up the groups include Blind Low Vision NZ clients, family and whanau, local health professionals and others interested in supporting Blind Low Vision NZ’s work. They are involved in a lot of different activities which bring people who are blind or have low vision together. Supporting and complementing Blind Low Vision NZ’s work, they create community connections.

If you’d like to join or find out more about a Community Support Group in your area, please get in touch. If there’s not a group in your area and you’re keen to establish one, we can help with that too.  Call 0800 243 33 33 and ask for the Community Engagement Practice Leader or email communityengagement@blindlowvision.org.nz

Telefriend

Telefriend is a peer support service available for you, your family and friends. It offers the chance to talk to other people who understand from their own experience. Staffed by trained volunteers who are blind or have low vision themselves, Telefriend is a caring, confidential service protected by a code of practice.

You can reach Telefriend on 0800 100 051 (Monday to Friday, 1:00pm to 4:00pm). Outside of these hours, you can leave a message and the call will be returned.

Learn more about our Telefriend peer support team.

Peer Mentoring Programme

Our Peer Mentoring and Facilitated Peer Support Programme is offered throughout New Zealand for those who have a lived experience of low vision or blindness to share their experiences and skills with others. Mentors and mentees meet on a regular basis either in person, via phone or internet working together on goals set by the mentee. Mentoring and peer support relationships could be focused on any number of areas relating to living life as someone who is blind or has low vision.

Mentors are selected through an application process, training programme and matching process. Please visit our website Peer Mentoring to find more information on how to register for the programme.

Hobbies and keeping active

Many special interest groups and activities exist around the country, all tailored for people who are blind or with low vision. We can put you in touch with what’s available in your area. Activities range from tramping and kayaking to card games and crafts, to art appreciation, garden, meditation and music groups. Several other organisations offer specialist activities such as sailing, cricket and bowling.

The Blind Low Vision NZ crew is also always keen to hear about your own hobbies and social interests. That way, we can help you to get the most out of whatever activity you choose while feeling safe. If you’d like to set up a special interest group or get involved in activities that are already happening, get in touch.

Getting support from volunteers

We’re lucky to have a community of volunteers, who are such an integral part of our team. We couldn’t do what we do; without them! Wherever possible our volunteers provide assistance with a variety of tasks: from driving, to eye related and rehabilitation appointments, to one-on-one vision support, such as personal reading and writing, to a wide range of group and recreation activities. Volunteers also get involved with fundraising, Guide Dog volunteering, library services, and so much more.

Some regions offer a telephone tree, with volunteers calling clients from time to time to check in, and see how they are doing.

Becoming a volunteer
We welcome both clients and non-clients as volunteers. If you would like to be a volunteer or learn more about volunteer services in your area, please call Blind Low Vision NZ’s Contact Centre on 0800 24 33 33 or visit our volunteer opportunity page