Sensory Support

The Team provides services to both adults and children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, partially sighted, visually impaired or have a Dual Sensory Loss.

We provide advice and assistance about your hearing or sight loss; specialist equipment on the basis of assessed need and access to communication support.

The team consists of rehabilitation workers, social workers and equipment officers. We work with the Low Vision Clinic who assess and provide service users with equipment to aid vision on a daily basis. We also work with the Audiology department, who supply and fit the most appropriate digital hearing aid.

Individuals referred to the Sensory Support Service must be resident within the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have a significant sight loss that cannot be corrected by spectacles
  • Be profoundly deaf or have been assessed as having a diagnosed hearing condition by an Audiology Department

  • Referral

    The team offices operate a duty system each day, where a duty officer can help with your query or take a referral for the team. We accept referrals from service users, carers or family members, G.P’s and other healthcare professionals and voluntary organisations. Children under the age of 18 must be referred to the team via the Trust Gateway service, on Tel: 0300 1000 300

    Referrals can also be made using the sensory support email address. This is checked daily between 9am and 1pm.  The address is

  • Out of hours

    Please click here for emergency out of hours social work details.

    Please click here for Emergency SMS Contact Details.

    Tapsos Logo


    Members of the Deaf community can also use Tapsos which is an app available for anyone to use.  Tapsos can be downloaded from google playstore or Apple’s app store. Tapsos is free to use. Please look at the website for further details at

  • Sign Language Interpreting

    From 1st April 2023 a new service called Sign Language Interactions was introduced.

    Sign Language Interactions will provide communication support for people who are Deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing, by offering a full range of communication supports to include:

    • Face to Face Sign Language Interpreting
    • Remote Sign Language Interpreting
    • Relay Interpreters
    • Interpreters or deafblind people
    • Lip speakers
    • Electronic Notetakers
    • Speech to Text Reporting

    Sign Video is provided by Sign Language Interactions under the name of Sign Video (previously Interpreter Now).  It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Sign Video a free, on-line remote interpreting service for British Sign Language users (BSL) and Irish Sign Language users (ISL) in Northern Ireland.  It provided the Deaf community with access to Health and Social Care services during the Covid 19 pandemic and is now established as an on-going service.  For example a Deaf person can phone their GP, optician, social worker.

    Health care staff can also phone a Deaf person through Sign Video and can book a virtual appointment.  For health staff to request a virtual or face to face booking email or phone 0333 344 7712.

    Face to face appointments can still be booked through Sign Language Interactions.

    If a Deaf person would like to check if an interpreter has been booked please text Sign Language Interactions on 07520648955

    For more information visit

  • Support Services for People with Sight Loss


    The Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland (RNIB NI) is for everyone affected by sight loss.  If you or someone in your life have experienced sight loss, are blind or partially sighted, they offer a wide range of services, support and information to help.

    Address: Victoria House, 15-17 Gloucester Street, Belfast BT1 4LS

    RNIB helpline 0303 123 9999  8am – 8pm weekdays, 9 -1 pm Saturdays.


    Sense Northern Ireland 

    Sense upport children and adults with complex disabilities across Northern Ireland.

    Phone: 028 9335 5665

    Sense Nursery

    Phone: 028 90852031

    85 Jordanstown Road,
    Country Antrim,
    Northern Ireland
    BT37 0QE


    Angel Eyes NI

    Address: Forthriver Business Park, 385 Springfield Rd, Belfast, BT12 7DG

    Tel: 07775 873072


    Blind Veterans UK

    Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired ex-Servicemen and women to rebuild their lives after sight loss.  They provide rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to veterans regardless of how or when they lost their sight. They are here to help blind veterans regain their independence and live the life they choose.

    Phone: on 0300 111 22 33.
    Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, excluding public and bank holidays.

    Write to:
    Blind Veterans UK
    126 Fairlie Road
    SL1 4PY

    Torch Trust UK

    If you are living with sight loss, Torch is here for you. They offer a personal service through our client careline. A member of their friendly team answers the phone and helps to signpost you to whichever service you are interested in.

    Office hours are Monday 9.30am to 4pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 9am to 4pm, and Thursday 10am to 4pm.

    Phone: 01858438260


     Deaf Blind UK

    If you or someone you know is living with sight and hearing loss, they’re here to help. They are here every step of the way to reassure, advise or just to be someone to turn to if there is no one else. They provide practical help, emotional support, help with technology, information, advice and even holidays to anyone who needs it.

    Phone: 0800 132320


    Macular Society

    Every day, around 300 people are diagnosed with macular disease.  It’s the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK.  Macular disease is cruel and isolating. It steals your sight, your independence, and your ability to do the things you love.

    It can affect people of any age — even children — but not enough is known about why, and there is still no cure.

    Advice and Information Service: 0300 3030111

    Guide Dogs

    When someone loses their sight, Guide Dogs Northern Ireland is there to make sure they don’t lose their freedom as well.

    They want to change the way that sight loss affects people’s lives. To do this, they help everyone with sight loss – and their families – through life-changing mobility services to adults, children and young people with sight loss throughout NI.

    They also work to break down barriers by campaigning alongside people living with sight loss to ensure that they can get out and about on their own terms.

    Phone: 0800 781 1444

    Call the Guide Line to speak to an expert who can provide information and advice for yourself, your child or a family member. They are open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.


    Lisburn Outlook

    They are an organisation set up to promote social, cultural and recreational activities amongst blind and partially sighted people in the Lisburn area.


  • Subtitled Video Resources


  • Sensory Support Services in Northern Ireland (Subtitled Video)

  • Activities for people with sight loss

    Indoor Bowling Club

    Bowling Club for people with a visual impairment.

    Meets: every Wednesday afternoon, 2pm – 4pm, October-March

    Pickie Bowling Club, Bangor

    Cost £10 membership per year, refreshments £1 per week

    Own transport required

    Contact: Jill Breadon 9182 7981

    Outdoor Bowling Group

    Bowling Club for people with visual impairment

    Meets: every Wednesday afternoon

    2pm – 3.30pm, May-September

    Pickie Bowling Club, Bangor

    No cost, No refreshments

    Own transport required

    Contact: Jill Breadon 9182 7981, Joe Bourke 07532 758 755

    Walking Group

    For people with a visual impairment living in the South Eastern Trust area.  Must be fit enough to follow a set walk.

    Meets:  2nd Tuesday of every month (excluding Bank holidays and July & August)

    Cost £5 per year plus entrance fees

    Contact: Laura Cromie (Rehabilitation Worker) 9151 0136

    Apple Group

    Advice and support group for people with a visual impairment who use an Apple device eg iPod, iPad, iTouch or iPhone.

    Contact:  Laura Cromie (Rehabilitation Worker) 9151 0136

    10 Pin Bowling Group

    For those with a visual impairment who would like to play ten pin bowling

    If interested please contact David

    Contact: David Magowan 9127 4162

    Men’s Group

    Support and social occasion for men with a visual impairment living within the South Eastern Trust area. Has a variety of activities

    Meets: 3rd Thursday of every month (excluding Bank holidays and July and August)

    Contact: Karen Uprichard (Rehabilitation Assistant) 9151 0136

    Pilates Group

    Physical activity group for people with a visual impairment

    Contact: Ken Carson 07753 599 985

    Torch Fellowship Group

    A Christian based fellowship group open to all people with a visual impairment from the Bangor, Newtownards, Donaghadee and Holywood areas.

    Meets: At present only running in Lisburn & Belfast.  If interested please contact Joe Bourke 07532 758 755

    Bangor Macular Group

    A self-help support group for anyone diagnosed with macular Degeneration.  Relatives and carers welcome.

    Meets: 1st Tuesday of every month, 10.30am – 12pm The Hub, Hamilton Road, Bangor

    Contact: Elaine Orwin 02891 454 099

    Blind Veterans (previously St Dunstan’s)

    Organisation for ex service personnel with a visual impairment and PSNI, Fire Service and Ambulance Service personnel, who acquired visual impairment as a result of injury whilst on duty, or after retirement.

    Various support and activities

    Contact:  Jack Hadnum 02891 640077 / 07934 452 614

    CAN (Campaign Active Network)

    Campaigns Group supported by RNIB

    Meets: First Friday of every other month, 12.00 noon  – 1.30pm

    Carnegie Library, Hamilton Road, Bangor

    Contact: Ken Carson 07753 599 985

    Audio Book Club

    Book club for people with a visual impairment.  Books and audio devices discussed.

    Meets: 1st Tuesday of every month, 2pm – 3.30pm, The Ava Bar, Bangor

    Contact:  Ken Carson 07753 599 985

    **Also online members welcome**

    Tandem Cycling Club

    Bangor cycling club have 4 tandems and trained pilot riders to enable visually impaired people to cycle.

    At present not running.

    For enquiries contact Disability Sport – 02890 469925

    Craft Club

    Programme of various craft activities for people with sight loss.

    Meets: 4th Tuesday of every month, 11 – 1pm, North Down Community Network, 25 – 27 Main Street, Bangor

    Small charge to cover cost of room and materials.

    Contact:  Ken Carson 07753 599 985

    RNIB Connect Groups

    Read aloud.

    Various reading materials read out by various speakers and then discussed.

    Meets: 1st Wednesday of every month, Ards Library, Regent Street, Newtownards, 11am – 12pm

    Contact: Una Mulgrew (RNIB) 07702 140 761

    Ards Brunch

    Coffee and chat – targeting visually impaired people but all welcome.

    Meets: 3rd Wednesday of every month, Regency Café, 5 Regent Street, Newtownards, 11am – 12.15pm

    Contact: Una Mulgrew (RNIB) 07702 140 761

  • Other Groups

    Social and friendship Group

    This is a social networking group of adults of all ages with a range of disabilities who want to meet for coffee/lunch and a chat.

    Meets: 2nd Monday of every month, 1pm-3pm

    Contact:  Joe Bourke 9146 2601

    Park Run

    Meets: Every Saturday

    Time: 9.30am

    Venue: Ward Park, Bangor, BT20 4JZ

    **Some volunteers have been trained to be sighted guides**

    For further details see website.

    University of the Third Age (U3A)

    Offers a range of educational programmes and leisure activities to people who are no longer in full time employment.

    For further details see website – North Down and Ards U3A

    Boccia (Ards)

    Boccia is a seated bowls game, played individually or in teams, including skill and tactical play.  For adults of all ages with a range of disabilities.

    Meets: Every Friday, 11am-1pm, St. Marks, Ards

    Cost:  £2.50

    **Bring own lunch**

    Contact: Susan Bourke 07810865022

    Kilcooley Women’s Centre

    Kilcooley Women’s Centre offers a wide range of training and education courses for women.  Courses on offer include CLAIT, Introduction to IT, ECDL, Word Processing, GCSE Maths, English, History, Sociology, Glass Painting, Nutrition, Women studies and much more.  All women are welcome to enrol and you do not have to live in the Kilcooley Area.

    Kiddie Academy, our on-site crèche is available while the women take part in their education and caters for pre-school children.

    Contact: 02891 478292

    North Down Community Network

    North Down Community Network exists to help people to help themselves. They run a range of weekly activities and provide information about other local groups and activities.

    NDCN Wellbeing Centre

    25-57 Main Street
    02891 461 386

  • RNID Hearing Aid User Support Services


    Click Here for RNID Near You Support Sessions for NHS Hearing Aid Users 2023

    Click Here for Bangor – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Donaghadee – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Newtownards – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Lisburn – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Portaferry – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Downpatrick – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Newcastle – 2023 Support Service.

    Click Here for Portavogie – 2023 Support Service.


  • ID card for people with sight loss
  • Disability Training video (Subtitled)
Four service users with guide dog on a beach walk

Contact Details

North Down and Ards Area

Minicom: (028) 9151 0137
Mobile: 0773 428 2646
Fax: (028) 9151 0145

Call us(028) 9151 0136

Down Area

Minicom: (028) 4461 4744
Mobile: 0773 987 9556
Fax: (028) 9041 1897

Call us (028) 4461 6915

Lisburn Area

Minicom: (028) 9260 3120
Mobile: 0773 987 9554
Fax: (028) 9041 1369

Call us(028) 9260 7746