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A magazine for people with sight loss.

Spring/Summer 2012. Issue 22.


Editorial Team: Editor:

Vicky Kay

Photos Provided by:

Vicky Kay, Jill Doidge.

Cover: David Whitten tells us his experience of having a Stroke on page 6. Editors Note. Welcome to the latest edition of our magazine covering the Spring and Summer period. This edition is well and truly crammed full of information and stories, so apologies for the lack of pictures but we were running out of space! A few things have been going on here at Tameside Sight’s Support Project office since the Winter Eclipse magazine went to print: Jill has been busying herself adding ‘painter and decorator’ to her job remit; she has spent a few days hidden away in the back office painting over the walls from a headache-inducing banana-yellow-on-steroids to a nice calming magnolia, it looks lovely! We now have a few extra shelves in there as well to show off the various gadgets we have here for demonstration purposes. Glenis has been busy conducting a whole host of awareness talks of late - it appears she is in demand! Philip and Ray & Margaret from the Committee have been busy applying for funding considering our current lot runs out in January - we’ve got our fingers and toes crossed but no luck as of yet (More details on pages 4 and 13). Philip and myself trained a group of Prince’s Trust students in Vision Impairment Awareness and Guiding, which went really well and hopefully will become a regular training spot for us! But anyway, on with the magazine! Hope you enjoy it and please get in touch if anything springs to mind, we love to hear your feedback about things!

Vicky Kay, Editor and Development Worker, Tameside Sight. 2

Tameside Macular Group. Our local group first started in 1999 at Vision First with about eight people. Over the years our number has grown and we now have about 30 members and meet at Stamford Street Methodist Church Hall in Ashton-Under-Lyne every two months. We also have an annual outing in June and a Christmas Party in December. We have a variety of speakers and topics including talks on eye health, macular eye problems and treatments. Oldham Eye Hospital clinical nurses are very helpful, and consultants from Manchester Eye Hospital and Research Teams have also come along to speak. We try to advise if anyone has a problem, and are only a phone call away. As the national Macular Disease Society is celebrating its 25th year with ‘Tea for M.D.’ our local group is holding an afternoon celebration on Wednesday July 18th at Stamford Street Methodist Church Hall in Ashton-Under-Lyne from 2pm to 4pm. There will be musical entertainment, tea and biscuits for a small donation of £1.50 to the Macular Disease Society and Jill from Tameside Sight has promised to make us some of her famous cupcakes, so that should tempt everyone to come along and enjoy a pleasant afternoon! Please make a note of the date and we hope to see you all there!

May Bradford, Tameside Macular Group Organiser.

The Citizen. The Tameside Citizen is the newspaper of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. An audio (CD) version is available for people with impaired eyesight. Please do contact us should you require a regular audio copy and we will pass your details on.

Glenis Lee, Development Worker, Tameside Sight. 3

Our funding update. Most of you will no doubt be aware that Tameside Sight’s Community Support Project has been running for over 10 years. We have received 3 ‘Big Lottery’ grants of varying amounts to fund the Project and our current one will finish on January 31st 2013. A new outline grant application has been submitted to the ‘Big Lottery’ for approx. £500,000.00 over 5 years and we are disappointed that we have not been invited to submit a full application. After discussions with the Big Lottery it has been agreed that we do further work on the bid and resubmit it. The Project Manager and Management Committee are now working on this and we intend to have this ready by the beginning of May. The amount of money we will have received from the Big Lottery over the full 11 years is £730,468.00 and Tameside Sight has contributed £65,865.00 therefore the total cost of the Project has been £796,333.00 over 11 years. We are also looking at other funding organisations that would be willing to fund the large amount of money, £100,000.00 per annum, to keep the Project running as it now stands delivering the current level of services and taking into account expected inflation. We have met with a representative from Lloyds TSB Foundation so we will be keeping you posted.

Margaret Carter, Secretary Tameside Sight.

Magazine formats? Did you know that this magazine is also available online to either read or listen to? You can find these copies of our magazine either on our website:, or our Facebook page: Now you can share the articles you find interesting with friends and family far and wide, and also look back at previous magazines, perhaps you were one of our previous cover-girls (or boys!) and want to show your family in Australia? 4

New Benefit Rates from 9th April. Most working-age benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, rose by 5.2% in April, increasing the personal allowance for contribution and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance for someone under 25 to £56.25 per week and for those over 25 to £71.00 per week. Disability and carers benefits, such as Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, have also risen by 5.2% in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). This increases the highest care component of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance to £77.45 per week, and Carer’s Allowance to £58.45 per week. The lower rate of Attendance Allowance and middle rate of Disability Living Allowance has risen to £51.85 per week. The lowest rate of Disability Living Allowance has increased to £20.55 per week with the mobility component of this allowance also increasing to £54.05 per week (higher rate) and £20.55 per week (lower rate). The basic State Pension rose by £5.30 to £107.45 per week. The standard minimum guarantee for Pension Credit increased to £142.70 per week for single people (a rise of £5.35). It increased to £217.90 per week for couples (an increase of £8.20). The Savings Credit threshold for Pension Credit rose. Single people with savings up to £111.80 per week or couples with savings up to £178.35 per week will be entitled to receive this element of Pension Credit. The outcome for individual customers will depend on their own circumstances and you will have received a notification between January and April 2012 which detailed what your new rate would be from 9th April 2012. More information about benefits can be found at

Carol Renshaw, Department for Work and Pensions. 5

David’s stroke. I was returning from the dentist when I stumbled into a wall, not realising that I’d just experienced my first stroke! I called in at my doctors as despite often stumbling due to my eye condition which has left me with only peripheral vision, this felt different. The receptionist said that my face had dropped and thought I may have had a stroke so she phoned the ambulance. It was, to say the least, a shock; you don’t expect to have a stroke aged 55! I arrived at the hospital 40 minutes after the first episode (well within the 1 hour time-frame promoted in the awareness campaign), unfortunately I was then left in the waiting room for 2 ½ hours, eventually being transferred to the Acute Stroke Ward. I woke up the following day and I couldn’t move the right side of my body, and I couldn’t speak. I was transferred to the stroke ward, where I was surrounded by other stroke victims, some much worse off than me. I realised how lucky I had been, in that my sight had not got any worse. Most other people in the ward had had some form of vision problems caused by their stroke, and a couple had gone from normal sight to completely blind overnight, some temporary and some permanent. I was visited by a whirlwind of doctors, nurses, speech therapists, physios and occupational therapists who outlined my treatment. I realised that the success of treatment depended on my determination to recover. I also realised that the staff, although well meaning, had no training on how to deal with someone with visual problems, so much so that 1 nurse, when she realised I had peripheral vision, said “oh you’re not really blind are you”, luckily one thing I retained was my sense of humour. The chap in the bed next to me, now totally blind, was however left to wander the ward on his own. The physio department seemed to know how to work with vision impaired people however, and were able to adapt the treatment to meet my needs. They left me with an assortment of exercises to do in between each visit. One problem; all the exercises 6

prescribed were in pamphlet form and in small print! I asked for this to be changed to large print on several occasions and it was promised to me, but it never arrived. After 4 weeks in hospital I was finally discharged. Because I live alone and had been in hospital for so long, social services had to clean my house before I could be discharged. On returning home I found much of the furniture and equipment in my house had been moved, which, as any visually impaired person will tell you, is a nightmare when moving around or looking for something that is not in the place you left it! It took me several weeks and a visit from a friend before it was back to normal. The ‘reablement team’ provide up to 6 weeks care in your home free of charge. I found them to be really useful and well trained; providing me with whatever care I needed. I was trying to be independent earlier than they wanted, but they supported me with this and finished with me after 5 weeks. The hospital provided physio in my own home for 6 weeks then I was transferred back under the hospital for as long as I need. I have now gone to 6 sessions, and I have been making great progress. The physio said I should get all movement back, and she expects me to be “as annoying as ever” once my sessions are complete!

David Whitten, Tameside Sight Service User.

Blue Badge Changes. The Blue Badge Scheme is very useful to enable people with disabilities to have vehicles they are travelling in park near to where they need to go. The rules for using car park spaces in Tameside with a Blue Badge have changed and many now require you to pay a parking fee when previously they were free. The rules at Tameside Hospital have also changed. It is important that you check the local signs for rules about how long you can park and whether there is a fee. If you would like more information about how to apply for a Blue Badge and who is eligible, give us a call.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight. 7

Personal Shopping Service. Some of you may have heard the item on ‘Talking News’ about a personal shopping service for visually impaired people a few months ago. When people start to lose their sight, shopping and choosing clothes becomes increasingly difficult and that can contribute to people losing their confidence. Debenhams and John Lewis offer a shopping service to help combat that. It is free, for around two hours of assistance and although a ‘pop in’ service is available it may be best to book a session in advance. The process is individually tailored to the customers’ requirements – it may be a ‘Mother of the Bride’ outfit or a whole new wardrobe! The contact telephone numbers for Debenhams are: Manchester: 0161 838 8432 Stockport: 0161 429 3213 Oldham: 0161 621 6071 Trafford Centre: 0161 746 3071 And for John Lewis they are: Cheadle: 0161 491 4914 Trafford Centre: 0161 491 4040

Glenis Lee, Development Worker, Tameside Sight.

The Crooked Sea by Trevor Raistrick. We have an audio CD of this historical novel available for loan. Trevor Raistrick wrote the story in memory of his aunt as she lost her sight in advancing years. It is set over a hundred years ago in the beautiful area of Morecambe Bay and the industrial cities of West Yorkshire. The story follows the life of a young travelling salesman – filled with tragedy, romance and humour with a rich range of northern characters. The story is recorded onto MP3 format CDs and is read by Peter Hope. Let us know if you would like to borrow the CD.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight. 8

Approved Traders Scheme. If you are looking for a tradesperson to sort out a problem (e.g., plumber, electrician, gardener etc) then the Council’s Approved Trader Scheme provides a list of people who have been vetted by the Trading Standards people in Tameside Council. This gives you a degree of confidence that you will be dealt with fairly. The list is on the Council’s website, or you can ring Age UK on 0161 308 5000 or give us a call for assistance.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight.

Kettlercise Fitness! We have been contacted by a gentleman named Michael Ross who is offering visually impaired people the chance to try a form of fitness regime called ‘Kettlercise’. This is a form of exercise that only uses one piece of equipment, a kettlebell, which looks like a shot-put with a handle on the top. They come in a range of weights and sizes to suit the user. Kettlercise is a form of exercise that has been around for a long time – ancient Greeks used it, as well as American and Russian Olympic teams! Michael is offering free ‘one-toone’ sessions to train people up on the basics; what the movements are and what they are called, and then when people feel confident enough they can join a proper class which is to music. Kettlercise is mainly using your upper body with not a lot of moving around, so it is ideal for people who may not feel confident enough to join exercise like aerobic classes in case they bump into someone. Michael is offering training sessions before joining the classes and so it is also ideal for people who struggle to follow what is going on by simply copying someone at the front. He has worked with vision impaired people previously with much success. If anyone is interested please do contact us (See back page for contact details). 9

A quiet Pedestrian Crossing? Controlled pedestrian crossings (i.e., not zebra crossings), either at standalone crossings or as part of a signal junction, give pedestrians a clear sign for when it is safe to start crossing a road and have different types of indicators to signify this. The simplest and ever-present indicator is the ‘green man’, which appears when it is safe to cross. Other types of signals can be provided based on the site layout, local factors and safety considerations. An audible signal, normally a looped beeping sound, caters for pedestrians who have a visual impairment and therefore cannot see the ‘green man’ signal but can hear the beeps. However, audible signals are not always suitable; for instance they are not used at junctions that have more than one crossing if they cannot all be crossed safely at the same time, such as staggered pedestrian crossings or a junction that has several crossings where there is always some traffic moving across at least one of the junctions. They are also not used if two signal sites are close together. The danger with these types of layouts is that a pedestrian may hear a signal and believe it is for their crossing, when it may actually be for a different one nearby, potentially leading them into the path of oncoming traffic. Another reason why audible signals may not be appropriate is if the signal is situated where it may be classed as a statutory nuisance or noise pollution for people who live or work very close to the crossing. In some situations you may find that these audible bleeps are turned off between 11pm and 7am; in some cases they are switched off for much longer and in other cases the volume is turned down very low. Another type of ‘safe crossing indicator’ is the tactile signal. This is essentially a small rotating cone which is located on the underside of the push button box. The cone rotates in the direction of the crossing at the same time as 10

the ‘green man’ is displayed to show that it is safe to cross. This type of signal comes with a number of benefits; unlike audible signals, it cannot be confused with a signal at a nearby crossing; it caters for both visually and hearingimpaired pedestrians and are very important to pedestrians who are deaf-blind. They can also be used at every controlled crossing with the ‘green man’ signal and are always located on the right hand side of a crossing, so guide dog users (who are trained to hold the dog reins in the left hand) can use the tactile cone with their right. Since around 2000, these visual and tactile signals have been the default signal used wherever a new ‘green man’ indicator is installed. In most cases, where an audible signal can safely be provided it is installed in addition to both the ‘green man’ and the tactile signal. However where an audible signal is simply not safe or suitable, the ‘green man’ and tactile signals will still cater for the vast majority of pedestrians.

Joel Sawyer, Senior Media Officer, TfGM.

Consultations on Cut Backs. This year there are many services and organisations that are being reduced or cut completely as the funding problems and recession bite hard. We have had meetings with various agencies who have been consulting their customers on which services are most valued and considered most important. The libraries service in Tameside and Greater Manchester Police have been holding consultations and the results of these will become clearer later in the year. Some of you may have been contacted for your views but if you feel strongly about particular services then do contact your local councillors or give us a call if you need help with this. A service that has been withdrawn recently is the CHOICE shop in Ashton which has been giving support and advice about care homes and in-home care options in Tameside.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager. 11

Staying Active with Later Life Sight Loss. Many people lose their sight later in life and this can often result in them becoming inactive. I am one such person who once enjoyed being able to take myself for a walk. I, like many other blind people, found myself confined to my home for long periods of the week. Whilst I decided to fill my enforced retirement days with studying for a degree, it soon became apparent that the long periods of physical inactivity were affecting my general fitness and mobility. Something needed to be done. I telephoned Tameside Council, asking if there were any facilities available for visually impaired people to access the gym at one of the Council's Leisure Centres. They were more than helpful and the result was that I went to Hyde Leisure Centre and was shown round by one of the fitness trainers. I joined for ÂŁ20 a month, covering admission to any of the pools and fitness centres in Tameside. Now, when I turn up twice a week, I am met at the front desk by one of the trainers and escorted upstairs to the gym area. They then guide me from one piece of apparatus to the next setting the pressures and speeds for me. At the end of my session the trainer escorts me back down to the reception area and hands me over to my driver. There are showers available but disabled persons would need to be accompanied by their own carer if using these. Finally, just in case you think that fitness centres are for the young, I will be 68 in May. There is definitely a noticeable improvement in my personal fitness and mobility and I always look forward to my weekly outings. There are Council run fitness centres all over Tameside as well as the one at Hyde Leisure Centre, and many are open late evenings. For your nearest venue telephone the Tameside Switchboard on: 0161 342 8355.

Gordon Collinge, Tameside Sight Trustee. 12

999 or 101? 101 - Police NON-emergency number 101 is the new number to call if you need to contact your local police force about a matter which is not an emergency. You should call 101 to report less urgent crime and disorder. For example: Your car has been stolen, Your property has been damaged, You suspect drug use or dealing in your local area, To report a minor traffic accident, To give police information about crime in your area, To speak to the police about a general enquiry. You can call 101 seven days a week 24 hours a day. Each call costs 15 pence from both landlines and mobile phones. It does not matter how long the call is or the time of day you call. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, you can textphone 1800 1 101. If English is not your first language, the local police will use an interpreter to translate your call. 999 - Police EMERGENCY number If your situation is an emergency you should still call 999. For example: You are seriously ill, You are in danger, A serious crime is happening.

Glenis wants you to talk more! For those of you who have spoken to me you know I like to talk! Well, I’m asking you to do the same! Early next year the funding for the Support Project expires and at present Philip and the Committee are hard at work looking for money to keep those services you have appreciated for the last 10 years continuing. To this end, it would really help us if you could mention Tameside Sight – by name – when talking to: friends, family, businesses, councillors, MPs and even the Queen should you meet her during her Diamond Jubilee tour! To paraphrase the old song: ‘Please DO talk about us, else we’re gone!’

Glenis Lee, Development Worker, Tameside Sight. 13

Spring and Summer AD events! Fancy doing something a bit different and watching a show this spring or summer? Well how about trying an Audio Described (AD) show instead? These shows have additional commentary fed personally to you via a discreet headset and describe the types of things you may normally miss if you cannot see very well, such as characters coming on stage, body language and facial expressions. Often these tickets or an accompanying ticket will be cheaper (or even free!). Here are a few that are going on during Spring and Summer: Phantom of the Opera: Cameron Mackintosh's spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's phenomenal musical hits the Manchester Opera House. Beneath the splendour of the Paris Opera House hides a Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist. AD showing on May 2nd at 7.30pm.

Booking Number: 0161 245 6605.

Miss Julie: Maxine Peake plays Miss Julie and is known for her television appearances in Silk, the BAFTA nominated Hancock & Joan, and Shameless. Sweden, 1894. Midsummer night’s celebrations are in full swing but the Count’s daughter, the beautiful and imperious Miss Julie, feels trapped and alone. Downstairs in the servants’ kitchen, handsome and rebellious footman Jean is feeling restless. When they meet a passion is ignited that soon spirals out of control. Strindberg’s masterpiece caused a scandal when first produced – and has been hugely popular ever since – for its searingly honest portrait of the class system and human sexuality.

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, AD showing on May 5th at 4pm. Booking Number: 0161 8339833.

Introducing the Museum: A descriptive tour of the Imperial War Museum North, including a guide to the themes, 14

history and design of the museum; an AD tour of the ’Once Upon A Wartime’ exhibition and an object handling session.

Imperial War Museum North, AD tour on 27th May at 1.30pm. Free so just turn up at reception on the day. More information: 0161 836 4000 and press 1 then 0. Dumb Show: Tapping into the current question of press morality and the ethics of celebrity culture, ‘Dumb Show’ follows star of Saturday Night TV, Barry, as his ratings drop and a quick fix solution turns out to have one big catch; a hidden camera. With the press wanting to get every last juicy detail from one of Britain’s best known personalities they go to extreme measures to get their scoop. Oldham

Coliseum at The Garage Arts Centre, AD showing on 28th June at 7.30pm. Booking Number: 0161 624 2829. Star Cross’d: Oldham’s very own take on Romeo and Juliet. Prepare for a few surprises thanks to the Oldham Theatre Workshop, a variety of dance companies, and a brass band! Robbie O, a typical tracksuit wearing Oldham lad, and Judy, a beautiful Bengali student from Oldham College, come from very different backgrounds and live very different lives. When the star-crossed pair meet and fall in love, their relationship is faced with conflict from all sides. ‘Star-Cross’d’ is performed promenade style, moving around Oldham’s Alexandra Park. Oldham Coliseum at

Alexandra Park, AD showing on 19th July at 7.30pm. Booking Number: 0161 624 2829.

Our new Membership Secretary Hi, My name is Joan Kniveton. I have met some of you as I am a volunteer with Tameside Sight. I have recently joined the committee and am now the Membership Secretary. I would like to thank everyone who has sent in their membership fee and a special thank you to those who also included a donation. Can I remind those who have not yet renewed that the fee is still £1 and also invite anyone who wishes to become a member to contact us at the office .

Joan Kniveton, Tameside Sight Trustee. 15

Letters to the Editor… Do you have a question you would like us to answer, but also think others might be interested in the answer? Would you like to comment on any services provided by Tameside Sight or another organisation? Get your thoughts published here! Contact details are on the back page if you would like to contribute. Here are a few queries and comments we’ve had recently to get started with:

“I recently became a member, and I had a lovely surprise this morning through the post. It was a talking book by Maeve Binchy, I shall really really enjoy this, and I thank whoever sent it very much indeed, thank you.” That’s quite alright, I believe it was Glenis who helped you out on this occasion. We do have a few audio books available in the office if anyone would like to borrow any, or alternatively if you are an avid listener of books you may be interested in the library service or a postal service such as Calibre or RNIB National Library Service. There is also an audio book-club that runs out of Vision First, so if you would like to join like-minded people and discuss the books you listen to let us know and we can send you more information.

“I use my computer quite a lot but I’m now struggling to read the text on my emails, word documents and internet pages. I’ve heard about software that can assist with this but I hear it can be very expensive, and all I really want is the text to be a bit bigger, is there a cheaper option that you could recommend?” Depending on the age of your computer’s operating system (the software, for instance ‘Windows 7’ being the most recent) there are features available that simply need turning on that might be able to assist you. The latest systems have built in zoom and speech software, however virtually all ages of systems have the ability to change the colours of the screen (e.g. yellow on black), change the size of the mouse pointer and most text sizes. If you are 16

struggling with internet pages you should be able to make the text better through altering the options on the web browser you use (e.g., Internet Explorer or Firefox etc) and you should also be able to add a button to the browser window so you can manually increase and decrease the size of the text as you need it. These are great solutions if you are only just beginning to have problems with interacting with a computer, so if you still struggle with these don’t panic as there is still software out there to help. If you would like more assistance with any of the above or would like a demonstration of some of the other types of assistive software available please get in touch.

“Thank you for taking me to the hospital today. Your volunteer was so nice and stayed with me all the time. In fact all your volunteers have been so kind and helpful. Thank you for your services, I don’t know how I would manage without you.” Thank you for your kind words! It’s nice for us to know the work we do is appreciated and I’m sure it’s nice for the volunteers to see just what an impact giving their time can have on somebody! For those who are not aware, we provide a transport and guiding service to medical appointments for our service users. If you ring us when you first hear about an appointment we will try to find a volunteer driver who is available on that day and time to pick you up, take you to your appointment, guide you through the building and to the right department/consultant room etc, wait for you, and then take you home. This is a free service that is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, so volunteers get their expenses reimbursed. If you would like to use this service or become a volunteer driver please get in touch using the details on the back page.

“I’m struggling to see how high the hobs and oven are turned on on my cooker and I’m worried I might have to spend a lot of money to replace it with something I can use, stop using it altogether or even worse, leave it on and cause an accident” 17

Tactile markings might be ideal here. You would have to work out your own system but most people seem to find these help a lot. Having a blob you can feel on the pointer part of the dial and then at regular points around the dial or at the points you use the most can help you navigate where the dial is pointing by touch rather than relying on your vision. This system can be applied to any turn-dial, for instance microwaves, central heating dials or radio dials. ‘Bumpons’ are tactile stick-on blobs that come in a variety of colours and shapes, or alternatively ‘tacti-mark’ is a liquid pen that dries raised. Both products can be bought from the RNIB shop. For a catalogue call them on 0303 123 9999.

“I thought the last Eclipse Magazine was absolutely fabulous! It is written in such a way, as though you’re talking to us face to face, which make us feel part of what’s going on. The COPD article was great. I have it and think it’s great to get the information out there! Keep up the good work!” Well thank you, I’m really please you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll enjoy this one just as much! Please remember if you think there is an issue that you would like us to cover in the magazine or you have an idea for an article please do not hesitate to get in touch. You never know, you might just become our next cover girl or boy!

Kindling the Flames of Modern Reading. For those of you who don't keep abreast of modern technology the term "E-Book reader" probably means nothing. An E-Book is an electronic book which can be downloaded from the internet onto your personal E-Book reader, a hand held device which looks rather like a big calculator and is no larger than a thin paperback book, but can hold over 1400 complete novels, so you can carry a whole library around in your pocket or bag! I attended a demonstration of E-Book readers at the RNIB National Library at Bredbury, where the demonstrator gave 18

us an introduction to E-Books and showed us four different types. Two of these were "read only" which would only be suitable for those who had enough sight to read the large print screen. However, the other two examples had built in audio facilities which read out the writing on the screen, albeit in an electronic voice. The reader most of us favoured was the Kindle from Amazon which incorporated a wireless facility. This meant that books could be purchased by accessing the Amazon store from almost anywhere where there was wireless internet reception and mobile phone reception no need to plug into a computer to access the Amazon store. My wife already had a Kindle at £89 and I was so impressed with the audio 3G model at £149 that I bought one. Admittedly, there are limits to what a person with no sight can do with this device. Since I cannot read the screen the keyboard is of little value and so downloading new additions to my library is still down to my wife. But operating the Kindle as a reading instrument is fairly easy once you are familiar with the few operating control buttons next to the keyboard. Scrolling through your list of stored books and selecting one to read is simple enough and there is a volume control and headphone socket which cut out the built-in speakers. E-Books can cost slightly less than paperbacks; I have a number of Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde E-Books which we downloaded for around 79p each! When fully charged the Kindle will function for about a month or so depending on your level of usage. They are widely available from electrical and computer retailers and some supermarkets, and most stores should be able to demonstrate the device for you. Alternatively you could look at the one at Tameside Sight’s Project office.

Gordon Collinge, Tameside Sight Trustee. 19

Update on Goldie, our sponsored Guide Dog puppy. On 1st March Linda and Dave, Goldie’s Puppy Walkers brought her to Thursday Club to meet us all. She is now eight months old and absolutely lovely! She is a soft golden colour and full of fun and energy. Linda told us that Goldie has been taught to travel on many forms of transport – cars, buses, trams, trains and behaves herself well. She also loves going in shops with Linda. Dave is in charge of walks and Goldie loves to go on long walks with him. Frances from Guide Dogs came with them and loved meeting everyone, especially renewing acquaintance with Chairman John’s Dog Vanya, who she remembers from Guide Dog training. Hopefully Dave will bring Goldie to see us again before she leaves them to go to do her Guide Dog training at Atherton when she is 12 months old.

Jean Price, Volunteer, Wednesday and Thursday Clubs, Tameside Sight.

Audio Description on Television. There has been a national campaign to raise awareness of the Audio Description service for Blind and Partially Sighted television viewers on all programme channels recently. You may remember the advert which challenges us to recognise the difference between the sound of a heartbeat and the sound of a beating drum. Audio Description is a service which gives an additional spoken commentary describing actions and expressions that affect the storyline. This service is available on about 20% of television programmes including all the popular ‘soaps’, and makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of television programmes when you are struggling to see the 20

screen and understand what is going on in quiet parts. Many new televisions already include the ability to switch the extra Audio Description on and off. All Sky subscribers can access Audio Description by adjusting the menu settings. There is also a set top box available that plugs easily into any television and has a large button remote control. The unit gives Audio Description services and a full range of spoken information about channels and programmes and a seven day spoken programme guide. Give us a call if you would like more information, a demonstration or help setting up Audio Description.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager.

Low Vision Drop-in Sessions. Come along and have a look at various low vision technology products. There will be opportunities to ask questions about any magnifiers you currently have (although we are not able to issue new magnifiers during these sessions). There is no need to book, and you can come as many times as you want to. Some months we have technology promoters who are able to talk you through the latest assistive gadgets and gizmos, but please check before hand as they are not able to make every session. 1st Tuesday of the month, 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Vision First, Wilshaw House, Wilshaw Lane, Ashton, OL7 9QG. Tel No. 0161 342 8565. Dates for 2012: st  1 May  NO DROP IN SESSION IN JUNE rd  3 July th  7 August th  4 September nd  2 October th  6 November th  4 December

Judith Grant, Vision Impairment Team, Adult Services. 21

Firewoman Wendy says hello! Hello everybody, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Wendy and I am your local Community Safety Advisor. I am based at Hyde Fire Station and along with the rest of our team help to promote fire safety across Tameside and Stockport. I hope to be able to meet up with those of you who attend the local clubs in the near future, however in the meantime here is a little information about me. I have worked for Greater Manchester Fire Service for the past 7 years in various roles. I initially joined the service in the Industrial and Commercial Training Unit arranging training courses such as Fire Marshall training and Fire extinguisher training. I have spent 5 years working on an operational fire station in Stockport as the sole administrator. The station was a town centre station with 2 full time fire engines and 50 operational staff. This was an interesting role which was very interactive with the crews and the community. Being a town centre station we had regular visits from people who just want a look round out of curiosity to more demanding callers who may need rings cut off or other items. Children in the summer holidays were frequent callers with some interesting items stuck – one child had a toilet seat (child size) stuck over his head! All part of a firefighter’s day! I am currently working towards my Level 1 certificate in British Sign Language. This is something I do in my spare time and I find very interesting and I am looking forward to using my newly acquired skill out in the community. I have spoken with Vicky at Tameside Sight and we are going to arrange some Visual Awareness Training for our new staff who have joined the team which I think will really help our awareness and understanding when we come out and do our Home Safety Checks. 22

Don’t forget if you need one of our FREE Home Safety checks to ring 0800 555 815 (free phone) or you can contact your local Fire Station or ask Tameside Sight to refer you. I look forward to meeting you all soon.

Wendy Hall, Community Safety Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.



Help Us Spread the Word. The volunteers at Tameside Talking News are preparing to expand their number of listeners around Tameside, especially in the Dukinfield area. They recently applied for a grant at the ‘You Choose’ event in Dukinfield and were successful in obtaining £3,000 from the Tameside Council scheme. This money has been used to purchase more memory sticks and ‘boom-boxes’ which are needed to be able to play the recordings. The Talking Newspaper converted to a digital format in January 2011 and is now able to add extra features as well as the weekly news which is read by its team of volunteers. The news covers all areas of Tameside and also has topical features of interest that are recorded by the national organisations for the blind and partially sighted. The Talking Newspaper team are also currently including items about Tameside in the 1800’s as well as short stories that have been written and recorded by members of the local ‘Writers Reign’ story group. This service is completely free to anyone who is registered blind or partially sighted in the Tameside area. Members of the team of volunteers will visit your home and demonstrate the ‘boom-box’ which is supplied free of charge. If you would like to partake of this service or know of anyone in Dukinfield or elsewhere in the Tameside area who could benefit from it, please contact Tameside Sight or the Talking Newspaper Secretary, Mr Harry Ritson on 0161 338 3578.

Ian Jones, Technician, Tameside Talking News Association. 23

Please remember Tameside Sight when you make your will. This local charity works for all visually impaired people in Tameside - serving the Community for 37 years. 4 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield SK16 4LE Committee contact number: 0161 330 7778 Charity No: 504063

Ambassadors Scheme. The local council works with many agencies to try to spread information about healthy living, safety and various opportunities. The Ambassador Scheme establishes links between the Council’s services and nominated people representing all different groups around Tameside. Several social club leaders are Ambassadors and we in the Tameside Sight Support Project are also part of the scheme. We try to pass on information to you via the Eclipse Magazine and in other ways. This information stream however can also work the other way; if you have information, comments or requests that you are struggling to make to the council then do let us know and we will try to find the appropriate channel.

Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight.

Published by: Tameside Sight, 3 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield, Cheshire. SK16 4LE Community Support Office Tel:

0161 343 4090 / 6903

Online contact points: 24

Printed by: P.D. Print, Hyde.

Eclipse 22  

Tameside Sight's magazine for people with sight loss. Issue 22, Spring/Summer 2012