Michael Matheson praises Borders sensory service
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson has been in the Borders to study the work being done to support people with hearing and sight loss in the region.
The Borders Local Integrated Sensory Service (BLISS) is run by RNIB Scotland and Action on Hearing Loss Scotland.
Mr Matheson said the project offered "practical support and advice" to people across south east Scotland.
He also praised the work being done to help them "feel less isolated and more part of their community".
"The role played by volunteers has really helped to make this joint sensory project the success that it is," he said.
"BLISS is a great example of how volunteers can gain new skills and give something back to the community that helps to improve the lives of those around them."
Action on Hearing Loss Scotland director Delia Henry said working with the RNIB and other partners had seen the scheme flourish.
She said: "The joint sensory project offers the practical support that means that hearing aid users are able to communicate better with family and friends and so overcome the sense of isolation faced by so many people with hearing loss."
RNIB Scotland director John Legg said it had been a "great opportunity" to extend "integrated services at grassroots level across the Scottish Borders".
"We are helping people come to terms with losing their sight and going on to lead fulfilling lives," he said.
"We are also keen to support those with learning disabilities and other complex needs whose sight loss might have gone undiagnosed.
"We hope this joint sensory service project exemplifies efficiency and localism - and we very much welcome the new emphasis on prevention."