WESC

WESC Foundation is a purpose-built centre that cares for and educates visually impaired young people with additional, often profound difficulties.

It is a local, regional and national organisation that offers a school, college, outreach service, social enterprise comprising of five charity shops, a research and development department and a training centre as well as providing adult services.

Devondale was approached after WESC decided to refurbish its Visual Impairment (VI) Centre in 2015. The requirement was for the replacement of standard fluorescent batten fittings with LED lighting with a twofold aim; to have lighting that was controllable from a VI perspective with the added benefit of potential cost savings.

Devondale opted for Robus products both for cost effectiveness and the company’s impressive five-year guarantee. The Robus sales manager visited the site to ascertain which products to opt for, and competitive prices were negotiated. As WESC is a local charity that helps so many visually impaired people to widen their horizons and because the new lighting would improve their experience even more, Devondale helped towards the cost of fitting the products.

The Space panels (model R6060 LED 40) are flicker free with a Wattage of 40w, 4000 lumens and 50,000-hour lifetime, used with surface mounts (R6060 SMKDN). The LED lights are 50% above the lux level required for a standard office environment. The panels were not able to be flush as the ceiling is only plasterboard. An ingenious solution was the use of surface mounts; these not only offered a practical solution but added to the aesthetics of the centre.

Offering a practical solution for VI users, the installation has been configured in a way to allow lighting to be controlled in a flexible way; each row of lights is dimmable, so different sections of the room can be dimmed or fully lit depending on the individual user’s requirements. The contract also included rocker switches that can be felt and used easily; CLICK sockets; sensor lighting and an alarm in the toilets.

Richard Ellis, Head of VI Specialist Services said: “I am extremely pleased with the refurbished and equipped accommodation that we now use for our WESC Assessment Centre. We now have a bright and airy space which is welcoming for new families and their children, many of whom have a range of complex needs in addition to their visual impairment. The décor and lighting has been specifically designed to create a warm yet professional environment creating a positive first impression for families visiting us. The décor has been carefully planned to increase contrast avoid visual clutter. The excellent lighting is efficient and versatile. Children who come to us have a range of different visual conditions and consequently we need to have a versatile visual environment which we can control and adapt to different requirements. The high levels of illumination, together with the variable control of lighting across the whole assessment space means that we can adjust the visual environment to the specific needs of the young people visiting us.”

In addition, WESC liaised with Devondale for the refurbishment of one of its six charity shops. The shops are manned by staff with varying degrees of visual impairment – some of these are undertaking work experience, whilst others have lost their sight – and often their confidence – in later life. The Heavitree shop replaced existing lighting with 14 LED panels, in the shop as well as the rear area. Andrew Roberts, Head of Enterprise Development said: “This has given an even flow of lighting with no pooling, which has been of great benefit to the staff and enhanced their working environment.” Devondale also supplied a number of LED panels for WESC’s Sidmouth charity shop.

As well as its shops, WESC has a thriving eBay shop which is administrated from the Topsham Road site.