Spalding business makes advanced equipment for those with sight problems
It is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to making and selling products to help those who have visual impairments or are blind - yet many people do not know VisionAid even exists, let alone is based in Spalding.
Established by John Ellis in 1996, the independent family firm has grown considerably in that time and today makes some of the most advanced pieces of equipment available to aid those living with sight problems and blindness.
Sadly John passed away in 2011 just as the manufacturing arm was starting to expand but now his son Ellis is at the helm, together with his mother, Sue, and wife Sarah.
Today VisonAid employs 20 people at its headquarters in Spalding Common, where it has recently expanded into a new building.
The business is split into two divisions, with one arm selling a range of more than 1,000 products from over 100 different suppliers to customers worldwide while the other designs and manufactures its own products and technology on site.
Among the items in its catalogue are a range of video magnifiers which offer significant advantages over traditional magnifying glasses as they provide variable magnification together with a range of enhanced, high contrast viewing modes for reading text.
Other exciting technologies available include wearable assistive technology, large print keyboards, lighting and software as well as mobility aids and reading machines all designed to help people with visual impairments such as macular degeneration as well as those who are blind or dyslexic.
Marketing manager Kate Kemp said despite the company’s national reach it is surprising how many people are unaware of its existence.
“We’re a thriving independent family business which has grown considerably in recent years, but we do have to look for different ways to market ourselves.
“Online and social media marketing aren’t great ways for contacting our key demographics,” she said.
“We work with blind societies across the UK, who let their members know about some of the solutions that are available, and also attend many exhibitions including national ones such as Sight Village.
“Other people come to us after assessments in the workplace or for education but the most difficult challenge we face is actually just letting people know VisionAid and these solutions exist in the first place.”
Kate said one of VisionAid’s most innovative developments is the new ReadEasy Evolve – the world’s first portable standalone reading machine capable of capturing whole newspaper sized pages, magnifying them and simultaneously reading them out loud.
It is described as the world’s most accurate device, coping well with complicated layouts of documents, tables and it can read text as small as 5pt in size.
She added that VisonAid prides itself on its customer service and members of its team offer free home visits anywhere in the UK. They bring items of equipment with them so they can be demonstrated in the customer’s own home to give them a realistic idea of how they will work with no obligation to purchase.
* For more information about VisionAid and its products, www.visionaid.co.uk or call them on 01775 711 977.