Sensory Action Alliance

An alliance of organisations representing different sectors who have pledged to make changes to improve the lives of those with sight and/or hearing loss.

What is the Sensory Action Alliance?

Sensory Action Alliance
Sensory Action Alliance logo

It is an alliance of organisations representing different sectors who have pledged to make two small but widespread and impactful changes to improve the lives of those with sight and/or hearing loss. Pledges will be published here and reviewed annually.

We will support Sensory Action Alliance members to consider ways they could improve access and the steps needed to achieve their pledges.

Why do we need a Sensory Action Alliance?

One in six of us has a hearing loss and one in thirty has a sight loss. In Essex this equates to nearly 350,000 people and this figure is set to grow. This isn’t just something which happens to other people and so we all need to play our part in making the world we live in more accessible and inclusive.

Barriers to access can be environmental, personnel, system or information-based but often cause people to stop going out, lose confidence, independence and become excluded from society. The knock on is poorer health and quality of life, missed appointments, less footfall on the high street and higher complaints and dissatisfaction.

It is this we are seeking to change through the Sensory Action Alliance by sharing our expertise and supporting providers and wider communities to become more accessible.

The benefits of being a member

  • Publicly demonstrating your integrity and commitment to improving access for all.
  • Promotion as a founding member of this new and exciting initiative.
  • Improved customer and staff loyalty and positive feedback.
  • Opening up your business to thousands of potential new customers and the ‘purple pound’.
  • Reduced missed appointments and a chance to promote your achievements to the CQC.
  • Equalities Act 2010 and NHS Accessible Information Standard compliance.
  • Networking and training opportunities with us and other alliance members to share best practice.
  • The ongoing support of the ECL Sensory Team and partner organisations for information, guidance and advice.

If you’d like join us in the UK’s very first Sensory Action Alliance and help us to build a sensory friendly Essex, please contact us at

Victim Support

Victim Support logo

Victim Support are a national charity that dedicate in supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales. By providing practical support to help victims we help to get lives back on track. Victim support are there for anyone affected by crime not only those who experience it directly, but also their friends, family and others involved. Victim support are a charity and their support is free, confidential and independent. Services include, but are not limited to; Information and advice, emotional and practical help, advocacy, peer support and restorative justice.

Victim support can be contacted for support regardless of whether you have contacted the police, and no matter how long ago the crime took place.

If you have been affected by crime, call Victim Support in Essex on 0808 17 81 694. Lines are open Mon-Fri 8-5 or by Text Relay: 1800101277357557

Pledge 1

Train 10% of staff to become sensory champions

Pledge 2

To ensure we are an accessible service to people with sensory impairments, delivering the right kind of support co-produced with the service user


Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association

Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association Logo

Essex County Neighbourhood Watch Association manages fourteen Neighbourhood Watch Districts in Essex to raise the profile of Neighborhood Watch to reduce the opportunity of crime by distributing information from reliable sources e.g. Essex Police, The Office of Police Fire & Crime Commissioner, Essex Fire & Rescue, Crimestoppers and Victim Support . We have almost 140,000 members which do include those on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, However we also ensure that we can give information to anyone who has no need for a computer or the internet.

Pledge 1

We shall train at least one District Co-ordinator to use this service and promote it as a pilot in the Districts of Castle Point and Braintree so we can increase membership of Neighbourhood Watch to anyone who is keen to be part of Neighbourhood Watch where they live who are visually impaired or hard of hearing.

Pledge 2

To extend the sensory provisions to other Districts in Essex when it is proved that we can supply a suitable service to more people in the community to raise the profile of Neighbourhood Watch.


Health In Mind (Mid Essex IAPT)

Health In Mind (Mid Essex IAPT) Logo

Health in Mind (Mid Essex IAPT) is part of the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative and has been accredited in the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS) by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Combined Committee for Accreditation. The service offers free and confidential talking therapy and practical support for adults with common mental health problems including anxiety and depression.

Pledge 1

To complete Sensory Champion Training for a group of therapists in the team

Pledge 2

To ensure we are an accessible service to clients with sensory impairment by continuing to review and improve our referral pathway and adapting treatment materials.


Mid & South Essex NHS Hospitals

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Logo,

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust is one of the biggest trusts in the country, following the merger of Mid Essex, Basildon and Southend hospitals in April 2020. The trust provides a range of clinical services and care for a population of over 1.2 million people in central and south Essex across the three main sites; Basildon University Hospital, Broomfield Hospital and Southend University Hospital. The trust also runs services from community hospitals including Braintree Community Hospital, Brentwood Community Hospital, Orsett Hospital and St Peter's Hospital. In total the trust has 1737 beds and employs over 15,400.

Pledge 1

To continue to review Trust services in line with the needs of those patients who have a sensory impairment to ensure they are co-produced and accessible.

Pledge 2

Continued commitment to Improve the trusts compliance and meet the standards as set out within the Accessible Information Standards framework.


The Hospice of St Francis

The Hospice of Francis Logo.

The Hospice of St Francis helps people live their precious lives well. Our free care has many meanings and is defined by each person's need, needs that may change many times. We care for the whole person or family unit for however long we are needed – days, weeks, months or years. It provides specialist palliative care services within the community, in patient unit and for carers/families and bereavement services for children and young people. We have volunteers who support all functions of the organisation and work across West Hertfordshire. We people at home or here at the Hospice through 1:1 appointments or group sessions (anything from physio to nursing support and mindfulness to complementary therapy) in our Spring Centre or through 24-7 care in our beds.

Pledge 1

Agree to train 10% of staff as sensory Champions.

Pledge 2

Ongoing training for staff in terms of appropriate equipment required and the purchase of aids/equipment to meet individual need.


Healthwatch Essex

Healthwatch Essex logo.

We are an independent charity set up under the Health & Social Care Act 2012 and we use your voice to improve health and care in Essex. We undertake high-quality research and engagement to uncover your experience of services and use it to shape health and care.

Pledge 1

Sensory Awareness Training for all staff.

Pledge 2

Provide accessible information for all volunteers.


ECC Mental Health & Wellbeing team

ECC logo.

The Adult MH Wellbeing team provide short term, early intervention support to adults living in Essex aged 18-65 who are experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety, low mood, emotional difficulties, stress and who are not already receiving a service from secondary NHS mental health teams. We cover the whole of Essex and we offer information, advice and social prescribing; occasionally providing direct work with the adult with the aim of connecting people to find ways to understand and better manage their mental wellbeing.

Pledge 1

To ensure mental health awareness is promoted to people with sensory impairments within Essex.

Pledge 2

To ensure we are an accessible service to people with sensory impairments, delivering the right kind of support co-produced with the person.



Chelmer Housing Partnership Logo

Based in Chelmsford, Essex, CHP is a locally managed and governed housing association, registered as a Community Benefit Society Established in 2002 to deliver its core social purpose of meeting housing need by providing homes for rent and sale, CHP owns or manages over 10,500 homes and provides services for over 25,000 customers across the eastern region. In the financial year 2019-2020 CHP completed over 32,000 repairs and modernised nearly 1,000 homes. The organisation let 961 properties in the 2019-2020 financial year and built 375 new homes. Most of its new homes are for affordable rent whilst others are for shared ownership and open market sale.

Our two Sensory Action Alliance pledges are as follows:

Pledge 1

We pledge to train our employees to understand sensory loss/impairment issues so that we can tailor our services and customer engagement to meet customer needs, and to raise awareness and create an open dialogue in the workplace.

Pledge 2

We pledge to find out more about the sensory needs of our customers and use this in how we communicate and work with them.

Pledge 3

We pledge to make our website and digital communications accessible.


Spin Mobility Ltd

Spin Logo

Spin is the micro mobility unit of Ford Motor Company. The company currently operates dockless electric scooters and bikes in campuses and cities across the United States, Germany and in the UK with the mission of enabling movement for all types of communities. Spin is working with the UK Department of Transport and local councils as part of a national e-scooter trials scheme. Spin is currently operating in Milton Keynes and several locations across Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton and Colchester).

Pledge 1

Commit to training at least 6 members of staff to have one at each hub across Essex

Pledge 2

Commit to engaging with local disability groups and access organisations to create a better, safer and less fearful relationship between e-scooter riders and people with sight and hearing loss.


Essex Libraries

Essex Libraries Logo

Essex Library Services is a large public library service run by Essex County Council with 74 libraries and two mobile libraries, spread across the county. We also offer eLibrary services and a Home Library Service, delivered by volunteers, to people unable to get to a library due to age, disability or caring responsibilities. The council is the second largest library authority in the country, serving a population of approximately 1.5 million.

Our two Sensory Action Alliance pledges are as follows:

Pledge 1

To ensure our service is accessible to people with sensory impairments we pledge to train the equivalent of one member of staff per library as a Sensory Champion.

Pledge 2

To help make our libraries are accessible to people with sensory impairments we will carry out an access audit for one of our main libraries such as Chelmsford or Colchester.


The Essex Alliance

Essex Alliance logo.

The Essex Alliance is a co-operative group made up of charities, community groups and social enterprises. We work together to ensure the third sector of Essex is kept informed and involved.

Pledge 1

Promote the Sensory Action Alliance and the ECL Sensory Service throughout the voluntary sector.

Pledge 2

To create an accessible communications policy.


Maldon and District CVS

Maldon and District CVS

Maldon and District CVS is the voluntary sector infrastructure charity for Maldon district.

We provide support, information and good practice advice to over one hundred local community groups and charities as well as hosting the local voluntary sector and a range of projects aimed at increasing community involvement.

Our two Sensory Action Alliance pledges are as follows:

Pledge 1

Maintain or increase the proportion of staff trained as sensory champions.

Currently 2 of our staff are trained champions. As a team of 8 this represents 25% of our workforce. Champions are encouraged to engage in regular meet-ups and share learning and we will look for opportunities to increase knowledge in the workforce.

Pledge 2

Create an accessible communications policy.

Develop a policy that outlines the expectation that documents and other communications are produced with sensory access in mind. Including but not limited to text only word documents, screen reader friendly social media posts and multiple contact options.


Chelmsford Talking Newspaper

Pledge 1

Chelmsford Talking Newspaper

Volunteers at Chelmsford Talking Newspaper read and record a version of the Essex Chronicle each week. Real people with real voices – not computerised. We make a 90 minute recording onto USB mp3 sticks of the local news and events. We also include family announcements, to help to keep track of old friends and colleagues.

Our two Sensory Action Alliance pledges are as follows:

Pledge 1

We will improve the audio quality of recordings by review our recording equipment, techniques and training.

Pledge 2

We will seek to widen our distribution channels. We will research and develop podcasts for Alexa and mobile apps etc. We will work with other recipient groups.


Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Essex county fire and rescue service

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service provide FREE Home Safety Visits for everyone living in Essex. Our Safe and Well Officers are all Sensory Champions and receive on-going training, so can tailor their visit to accommodate specific sensory needs. The Service provides sensory smoke alarms for people with hearing impairments and can provide specific fire plans and safety advice.

Two of our Safe and Well Officers are also training in British Sign Language (BSL) so we have a better understanding of, and communication with our Deaf community. The Service works closely with other organisations to ensure those with sensory needs can access all the resources and support available.

Our two Sensory Action Alliance pledges are as follows:

Pledge 1

Our Safe and Well Officers and contact centre staff completed Sensory Champion training earlier in 2019. In order to maintain best practice, we pledge to review our training, keep it up to date, and also arrange a shadow visit for our Officers with ECL Sensory Service to gain further feedback on the quality of our assessment, communication and information provided during the Safe and Well Home Safety check visit.

Pledge 2

We want to ensure our service is accessible to people with sensory impairments, from the point of booking through to receiving a visit. We pledge to work with ECL Sensory Service to review our systems, processes and information, making changes and improvements wherever possible.