A magazine for people with sight loss.
Winter 2012. Issue 24.
Editorial Team: Editor:
Photos provided by:
Jill Doidge, Vicky Kay, RNIB, gizmodo.com, Greater Manchester Police.
Cover: Santa invited you to our Winter Fair, see page 6. Note from the Editor. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you are all well and have managed to get yourself organised for the festive season. I know some of you got stocked up with gifts from our Winter Fair in November! Thank you to everyone who made the day such a special event! A special thank you of course has to go to our Christmas Fairy Jill (almost official title), who not only came up with the idea, but put such a lot of effort into organising it, well done! You can find out more about the fair from Jill on page 6. While we’re saying our ‘thank-you’s’, we would also like to thank all those people who have been saving up the ‘Wish tokens’ that were printed in the Manchester Evening News from September to November. They have now stopped printing them so if you still have any hanging around please do send them in to us as soon as possible. The more tokens we have, the bigger the chunk of the £25,000 that’s up for grabs we can get! For those who missed out on collecting the Wish tokens but feel they want to ‘do their bit’, we are now collecting used postage stamps. If you can cut them off with about a ½ cm border, and then send them in to us, that would be great! So don’t forget to collect your Christmas card postage stamps! It’s been a bit of a busy time here in the office! Aside from the Winter Fair, we have also had our Annual General Meeting here at Tameside Sight, and everyone has also been busy looking for back-upplan funding in case our Big Lottery Funding bid 2
is not successful! We’ve also been run off our feet with the ever-popular Transport to medical appointments service, to the point where we are going to have to start looking for more volunteers for this role as appointments on Thursdays have become hard to cater for with volunteers happening to be unavailable on that day! We would like to take this time to thank all our volunteers who do this and many other jobs for Tameside Sight, without which we wouldn’t be able to do half the things we do! You truly are our heros! Now on with this festive edition of the magazine! We’ve got Winter and Christmas related articles – including gadgets and gizmos as gift ideas; information from the committee; bits about what we do here at the project office; and also information on a variety of organisations. I hope you find it all interesting, do please let us know what you think. Merry Christmas, and see you in the New Year!
Vicky Kay, Editor & Development Worker, Tameside Sight.
Tameside Sight’s Trustees report. As we have reported previously the present funding for the Community Support Project from the Big Lottery ceases at the end of January 2013 and we are still awaiting confirmation from them that our application for a further 3 years funding has been granted together with funding from the Lloyds TSB Foundation. We have also submitted a 1 st stage application for a 2 year grant to Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for which we are waiting confirmation that we can submit a full application to the 2 nd stage. The Trustees have agreed that if we do not secure the Big Lottery funding, then we will fund the Project from Tameside Sight’s monies up to the end of May 2013. The Trustees have already had meetings with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, Henshaws and ‘Action for Blind People’ to discuss our future 3
development and we are awaiting their replies. Three local MP’s have also been kept informed of our present situation.
Margaret Carter, Tamside Sight.
Further to the Secretary’s report I would like to add my thanks to Beryl who has helped me to take on the role of membership secretary over the last 12 months. The treasurer Ray and secretary Margaret have both announced that they are standing down at the next AGM. This means that the Committee will be looking for more members to take on these and other roles. If you feel that you would like to become a trustee or you know of someone who may have suitable skills it is a great way of helping the Charity to develop and to have a say in the direction it takes. We would also like to see an increase in the general membership of the society as currently only 14% of the people known to Tameside Sight are members, so if you’ve not paid the £1 membership fee and you would like to become a member please get in touch and we will send out a membership form. The next few months will be very difficult for the charity as we continue to look for further funding to maintain the Community Support Project and the excellent work it does for the visually impaired people of Tameside. If you are interested in getting involved in any way please get in touch. The committee telephone number is 0161 330 7778 and I am sure that if you want to discuss any issues with the staff at the Project they will be happy to assist you and pass on any queries you may have. My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Joan Kniveton, Tameside Sight.
Thoughts on sports? The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) are conducting a research project about sports and activity for people aged 14 and above who have a disability. They want to hear your thoughts and opinions about sport and fitness, regardless of whether you are active or not, or if you are older and donâ€™t think you would be able to take part in sport or fitness nowadays. They are particularly interested in people who are not active to find out what the barriers are, and also people who are active but have found the experience difficult. The answers to these questions will help shape the future of sport and fitness for disabled people in the country, and we would like people with sight problems to be represented and have their say as well! EFDS are a national sports body for disabled people with the vision that disabled people can and should be able to be active for life. The charity champions opportunities for disabled people to enjoy sport and supports the sport and physical activity sectors to be more inclusive. They also have strong links with British Blind Sport amongst others. If you are interested in taking part you can do so in various ways: Either over the phone, in person or online. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes, can be completed by someone on your behalf if you wish, and is open to anyone who is aged 14 and above, lives in England, and considers themselves to be a disabled person. The more people who take part in the survey and share their own views, the more scope the EFDS will have to ensure disabled people are represented effectively in strategy and provision for years to come. This way, EFDS can support sports organisations to deliver programmes which respond to peopleâ€™s needs in a realistic market. To book to complete the survey over the phone or for a face to face visit please ring: 01509 227752, or you can fill it out yourself online at: www.tinyurl.com/efdssurvey. 5
The Winter Fair!
The Winter Fair in Full Swing. What a great success Tameside Sight’s very first Winter Fair was! A lovely wonderful time was had by all! The morning of Friday November 23rd dawned bright, crisp and clear, a lovely day for a lovely afternoon! The stalls were all kept very busy by a constant stream of customers buying cakes and scarves and winning prizes from the Tombolas. The Bottle Tombola sold every single ticket, and the Chocolate Tombola and the general Tombola very nearly sold out as well! The hall could barely The ‘Baked Goods’ stand. contain our good spirits! 6
Well done to Miss Mercer for winning the first prize of a Kobo Touch eReader and a book light on the raffle! Congratulations to everyone else who won prizes, I hope you are enjoying them! Thank you to everyone who came to see us and buy things and share such a lovely day with us! Thank you to everyone who made items and donated prizes, without you this level of success would not have been achieved! Thank you to Roy Knowles for stepping in at the last minute to entertain us with his beautiful Street Organ. Thank you also to the staff and pupils at Stalydene School for their support and their beautiful singing of Christmas Carols! And a big thankyou to Dukinfield Methodist Church for allowing us to take over their hall and for all their help and assistance on the day. The biggest thank you goes to our wonderful volunteers, who The chocolate Tombola Stand. once again went above and beyond in their efforts to make the day a true success. Thank you for your time and patience and for being so lovely! The final figures have yet to be added up officially, but I believe that the Winter Fair raised around ÂŁ1000 for Tameside Sight and we are delighted by that. Now Iâ€™m off for a lie down to rest my feet which are still aching from all the rushing about!
Jill Doidge, Official Christmas Fairy (and Admin), Tameside Sight. 7
Blind Veterans UK. Formerly St Dunstan’s, Blind Veterans UK provide practical and emotional support to veterans who are battling with blindness, regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. They support people to get back on their feet, recover their independence and ‘discover life beyond sight loss’. The charity was first established in 1915 by the owner of the Evening Standard and founder of the Daily Express, Sir Arthur Pearson. He had lost his sight through Glaucoma and was shocked to see society’s attitude towards vision impaired people. Originally the charity helped veterans who had lost their sight in the First World War through rehabilitation and care; supporting them to lead independent lives. Today they serve any ex-service men and women regardless of how they lost their sight. Blind Veterans UK give guidance and support to people regardless of the level of support they need, and will work with them for the rest of their lives. They provide week-long introduction courses giving life changing support as they adjust to their loss of sight and regain their personal independence. New members meet other veterans who have shared similar experiences and explore ways to overcome the challenges of sight loss, as well as being able to try out new things and gain new skills. Their regional welfare and grants support team help people to access support for financial difficulties, home modifications, further training and services, respite care and holiday breaks. Blind Veterans UK support people to get to grips with using computers; helping people of all ages and abilities with the first steps – from touch typing and computer basics, to becoming confident computer users. Several of their trainees have even gone on to careers in computing, while others just use them to keep in touch with family 8
and friends, or to order their groceries online. They organise special sports, recreation activities and events, and encourage veterans to try out sports they may not have even thought possible! These include: running, swimming, cycling, walking, rock climbing, surfing, gym training, acoustic rifle shooting, tandem bike riding, and anything else the members want to try out! Their rehabilitation officers are professionally qualified specialists who help veterans adjust to sight loss. This includes teaching simple skills and strategies to allow people to live more independently, as well as assessing what useful vision a person has and how to make best use of it. Sometimes this means simple changes like better lighting and magnifiers. They are also able to support people to learn the skills and get the aids to assist them to get around easier, including finding the best routes, whether out on foot or using public transport. Their Art and Craft department encourage veterans to explore both skills they may think they have lost and also ones they have not tried out before! These activities include: painting, drawing, ceramics, mosaics, woodturning, sculpture and photography. Veterans UK also have a variety of clubs and societies which give veterans a place to exchange ideas, knowledge and experience. Some are more active-based and some more relaxed. Some of their members do need a little more help, which is why their nursing and social care services at their centres in Llandudno and Brighton offer physical, social and intellectual stimulation in a safe and comfortable setting. This can be available for long-term residential care, or short term care to recover after surgery etc. Blind Veterans UK have 3 centres, one in Brighton, one in Llandudno, and one in Sheffield. If you are interested in becoming a member and accessing some of their services you can contact them on: 0800 389 7979. 9
Christmas Present ideas for the hard to buy for (and sight impaired) person. If you are the person who is known as the ‘hard to buy for’ family member then perhaps we will be able to spark some inspiration with some of these gift ideas from the RNIB’s shop. Perhaps dropping some hints (such as circling the item and placing the magazine in yours partners lap while saying ‘HINT HINT’…) might help! We have split the gift ideas into topics of ‘Watches’, ‘Games and activities’, ‘gadgets’, and ‘Practical Gifts’.
‘Jumbo Chrome finish easy-to-see watch’. Extra large watch face housed in a chrome case. Bold black letters on a white background. Choice of black, white and pink strap colours. £11.99 (£14.39 Inc VAT). RNIB product codes: black is CW68, pink is CW68PINK and white is CW68WHITE. ‘Solar powered “atomic” talking watch with leather strap – large’. Self charging using solar power and self setting using atomic radio signal. Date and Time are announced in RNIB’s natural male English voice. Battery charges under natural and ambient light. Leather strap and silver case, easy to see white face with bold black hands. £49.99 (Inc. VAT £59.99) RNIB product code: CW178. Also available with a silver case and silver metallic bracelet strap £54.99 (Inc. VAT £65.99). RNIB product code: CW178BR. Other gift ideas in this category include tactile, talking and easy to see watches in various styles including unisex, ladies or mens, easy fasten strap, expandable strap, leather, chrome, silver and gold.
Games and activities:
‘Uno Card Game’. A game which is a mixture of chance 10
and skill. Each card is embossed in grade 2 Braille with the numbers and shapes. Characters on the easy-to-see cards are approximately 3cm tall. Includes instructions in the format you require. £7.99 (£9.95 inc. VAT). RNIB product code: GC06. ‘Giant print puzzle book – Issue 3’. 45 giant print puzzles printed in 24-point font, as well as the answers. Includes: crosswords, word searches, sudoku, word pyramids, speed maths, ‘find the phrase’ and many more! £3. RNIB product code: TC21380. Other gift ideas in this category include large print scrabble, tactile dominoes and large print playing cards.
‘TVonics talking Freeview+ HD Recorder – DTR-HD500’. Freeview TV receiver with built in electronic recording of up to 175 hours of TV. High Definition (HD) ability. Watch and record programmes with Audio Description (AD) soundtrack. Built in voice reads on-screen information including the easy to use 7 day programme guide and programme information. Fully customisable settings with a choice of six colour schemes for the menus. Record two channels at the same time. Well laid out remote with raised buttons and dedicated audio description button. Easy to set up with an existing TV. £127.47 (£152.96 Inc. VAT). RNIB product code: TV06. ‘Alto 2 talking mobile phone’. Simple design with well spaced, colour and shape coded buttons. Simple menus. Choose either a male or female voice to read you: the on-screen information, contact list, text messages, and each letter as you write a text message. Space for 200 contacts in the phonebook, built in hands free speakerphone and 11
alarm. Emergency call feature where up to 3 emergency numbers can be stored. To activate press and hold the emergency button and phone will automatically begin dialling each number in turn until the call is answered. Font size of numbers in 24 point font, text messages is 12 point font. 3 optional ringtones and vibration alert. Phone is of a ‘slide to open’ design and is 10cm tall, 5.2cm width, and 2cm depth. Includes desk stand charger and all come in optional colours of orange, blue or dark grey. £119.49 (£143.39 inc.VAT). RNIB product codes: Orange is HM43OR, blue is HM43BL and grey is HM43K. Other gift ideas in this category include talking measuring jug, easy to use universal TV remotes, talking kitchen scales and video magnifiers.
‘Compact magnifying mirror (5x) with Swarovski crystals’. Elegant portable compact mirror. 7.7cm in diameter, clamshell style with one side a true mirror image and the other a five-times magnification mirror. Outside is black plastic with silver coloured trim and Swarovski crystals in the centre on top. £12.46 (£14.95 Inc. VAT). RNIB product code: DM07. ‘Snow and ice shoe grips’. Universal shoe grips slip easily over the toe of your shoes or boots and are fastened using Velcro, providing you with extra grip on snowy and icy pavements. £5.79 (£6.95 inc. VAT). RNIB product code: MP108. Other gift ideas in this category include large print or Braille 2013 diaries, calendars and address books, and Tweezers or nail clippers with magnifier and light. All of these products are available from the RNIB, either over the phone via 0303 123 9999, or on the internet via www.rnib.org.uk/shop. 12
Nurse Training at Tameside Hospital. Part of Tameside Sightâ€™s objective is to raise awareness in the community about sight loss and the impacts on individuals. We formed a joint venture with Tameside Hospital over 10 years ago to provide training for any hospital workers including volunteers, nurses, porters, doctors etc. This was set up through the Disability and Equality Working Group at the hospital that has met regularly to promote the interests of accessibility and inclusion for hospital services. Tameside Sight has been represented by Glenis Lee and Les Hankinson over the years and their work has helped to ensure that the interests of Blind and Partially Sighted people are actively considered in hospital services and planning. Each year we have been running several sessions at the hospital providing practical training in sight loss covering between 100 and 200 people each year. They cover real demonstrations of different eye conditions using simulation spectacles and interactive discussion of the impacts on peopleâ€™s lives. Some of the sessions include a talk from a person with sight loss about their experiences of living with the condition. The second part of the session includes practical demonstrations of ways to support people with sight loss. Guiding practice shows simple ways to guide people around in unfamiliar places. The trainees find the experience of being blindfolded and guided by a colleague to be daunting and (occasionally) terrifying! The session ends with information on the technology and gadgets available to help around the home and enable people to keep active and take part in favourite hobbies and pastimes etc. We hope that these courses (and similar ones given to a wide range of community groups) help to raise awareness and encourage better support in businesses, shops and by 13
individuals for people with sight loss. One of our service users who is blind has recently had a hip replacement at Tameside General and has reported that he received excellent service at the hospital from everyone and they were able to make a booklet about the operation available to him in Braille so that he knew exactly what to expect. If you know of any groups or organisations who would be interested in a talk or training from Tameside Sight, give us a call.
Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight.
A Christmas Treat! If you don’t like chocolates, cakes or Christmas then the following article is not for you! However, if you do you may like a visit to Slattery’s Patissier and Chocolatier in Whitefield. This well established family business is well known for baking and icing fabulous wedding cakes – customers include the Royal Family! The Dining Room, besides serving delicious lunches and afternoon teas, is well suited to people who have a visual impairment. They have available a large print or Braille menu, and easy grip cutlery – and – if you have forgotten your spectacles, ask to borrow a pair of their reading glasses! Slattery’s is based at 197 Bury New Road, Whitefield, very close to the Metrolink tram stop. Their telephone number is 0161 767 9303. So instead of socks or slippers for your stocking why not ask Santa for a trip to Slattery’s?!
Glenis Lee, Development Worker, Tameside Sight. 14
The Review: Microsoft 7000 Keyboard & Mouse. Many of us require software to increase the size of the text on the screen when using our computers. Needless to say, like most specialised software, this can be expensive and out of the price Mouse and Keyboard. range of many people. However, I have recently discovered the Microsoft 7000 keyboard and mouse, which offers all the advantages of this type of software at a fraction of the price. Indeed, in some aspects it has an advantage because once the computer is set up it is simple to increase or decrease the size of both text and pictures at the press of a key. First I will explain some of the functions on the keyboard. There are 6 special keys on this which can be programmed as â€œhot keysâ€? to open favourite programmes or perform certain functions. Between the keyboard keys, which have been divided into two sections, one containing the keys used by the right hand and the other those for the left hand, there is a very useful key called the zoom key, which enables the user to increase or decrease the size of the text on the screen to suit their needs. Increasing the size of text on the screen does not affect the text size to be printed, in other words, if the text to be printed is set to 12 point font, irrespective of the size on the screen that is what will be printed. The final additional and very useful keys are just below the spacebar. These enable the user to flick between pages when on the internet. Now for the mouse: This is a little larger than the one you may have become accustomed to, but is very comfortable and easy to use. It has the usual buttons with two additions, both operated by the index finger. One of these enables the user to increase even further the text size by hovering a magnifying frame over it. This is extremely useful if you 15
need to highlight a particular piece of text. The size of the frame can be increased or decreased as preferred. When the key is pressed a second time the frame disappears and the highlighted text returns to the original size. The second key enables you to flick back when reading internet pages. The scroll wheel has an additional function to make reading the screen much easier. As well as scrolling the text up and down the screen, by flicking the wheel to the left or right will scroll the screen in that direction, making visible the text not shown on the screen. I have now been using the Microsoft 7000 keyboard and mouse for a couple of months and am extremely happy with it. At a cost of around £50 this may seem quite expensive for a keyboard and mouse: but compared with the software which does exactly the same thing at over £300, £50 seems very reasonable. An additional convenience is that both keyboard and mouse are wireless operated, in other words you will not be plagued with more wires on the desk, as they both run from one USB connector.
Les Hankinson, volunteer and service user of Tameside Sight.
A look back at the last year. As we approach the end of 2012 I thought it might be useful to review the successes and issues of the activities at Tameside Sight. It has been a very successful year, along with frustrations and difficulties on the way. It is good to see the continued interest and enjoyment in regular items such as the Trailblazers Walking Group (which meets every month), the Eclipse magazine (over 900 copies are sent out per issue) and new members joining the Social Clubs around Tameside. There have been nearly 100 new people referred to the project during the year making a total of 700 people with sight loss in regular contact with Tameside Sight. Support services continue to be well used and 16
highly valued and once again this year we have seen an increase in the numbers of requests for services (over 800) which are delivered by volunteers and staff. Thank you to all our volunteers who continue to do a fantastic job and the feedback from customers is excellent e.g. “All your volunteers are wonderful – I don’t know what I would do without them”. Transport and guiding is still the most popular service and then advocacy, information, home visits, equipment purchase and installation are high on the list of most used services. Part of the work of the association is directed at awareness and training courses in the community to raise awareness of sight loss. This year we have delivered courses to over 200 people from nurses and firemen to school children and community groups. We feel this strand of the project activity is having positive effects in community understanding of sight loss and its impacts. The feedback is excellent – some of the nurses commenting that they had had nothing like it on their degree courses. All new people referred to us will receive a home visit where we discuss all the options that individuals might like to consider, both from our own services and others that we are able to refer onto. These include options such as: receiving Talking News, having a Fire Assessment, joining a social club or having assistance to a medical appointment etc etc. This personal and individual approach has been very well received. These activities have been happening against a background of concerns over the future funding of the association to run these services. We have been actively applying for funding to continue and we await the outcome with baited breath as you will see from other articles in the magazine.
Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight. 17
Wellbeing and Community Engagement. Wellbeing Advisors are part of the Council's adult support services and work with adults and carers to find out how they can get support with their Health and Wellbeing. If you need support to stay independent and active, or if you are looking after someone and are not sure where to turn to for advice, we can help you find: Support if you are feeling anxious, low or lonely Advice on benefits, cutting energy and other bills Ways to take a break if you are caring for a relative or friend Befriending and buddying schemes Home safety advice and equipment And many other things! The team support adults and Carers aged 18+. To make an appointment and for further information, you can contact the Wellbeing Advisors at the Carer’s Centre on 0161 342 3344 or email email@example.com. The Carers Centre is located at 50 Warrington Street, Ashton and is open for drop-in sessions Monday – Friday from 10.00 am – 3.00 pm. Or you can ask me on 0161 342 4389. The Wellbeing Advisors work to support individuals with their Wellbeing, and the Community Engagement Team works with groups to support Wellbeing: Are you a member of a community group? Do people in the group sometimes wonder where to find out about where to get help with their health and wellbeing and how to get more involved in their community? The Community Engagement Team could help! Our community engagement officers can support a member of your group to become an information ambassador with access to all the information that the team can provide. An information ambassador is a member of a group who lets us know what you would like to know about, and passes the information that we give back to the group. A community engagement officer could also help your 18
group to make the contacts that you would need to start a small healthy eating course or an exercise class for your group. We also let Information Ambassadors know about consultations that affect you and help you to get involved. The team works with groups from ages 18 upwards. To contact myself or the team phone; 0161 342 4389.
Nicola Carter, Community Engagement Officer, Health and Wellbeing Service, Tameside MBC.
Geemarc Landline telephone. There is a new landline telephone available through the RNIB which was developed with their advice and which offers a number of useful features for people with sight loss. The unit is like a standard large button phone but also includes a hinged large screen with bright large number display of useful information. It also offers speaking options to indicate the numbers being dialled, phone book entries (by name and Talking landline phone. number), speakerphone etc. It can be used to speak the name and/or number of incoming calls (before you answer the phone) provided that your phone line has Caller Line Identification enabled. From our short testing of the unit, the really useful feature is the phone book which holds up to 50 names and numbers and you can easily select the person you wish to call from the spoken list. This is currently available from the RNIB at £83.32. The phone is described as “The only fully talking big button and large screen telephone that announces every button press and menu selection in a clear female voice, reassuring you that the number you dialled is correct and the function you want is selected. A truly unique telephone that is accessible to all!”. The RNIB reference number is DH275, and their catalogue shop number is 0303 123 9999, or give us a call.
Philip Singleton, Project Manager, Tameside Sight. 19
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
Police clamp down on winter crime. Police are clamping down on a variety of ‘dark nights’ crime ranging from stealing to burglary, metal thefts to vehicle crime. One of their main tips to prevent crime is keeping your house lit. They say “Burglars love the dark. Keeping them out need not break the bank or cost the earth. For a penny a day you can leave a low-energy light-bulb on midafternoon to late evening in winter to deter burglars.” The operation is set to target thieves and thugs that come out at night. But they need the public’s help when reporting crime and suspect behaviour. The police are asking people to report criminal activity direct to police on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Published by: Tameside Sight, 3 Wellington Parade, Dukinfield, Cheshire. SK16 4LE Community Support Office Tel:
0161 343 4090 / 6903
Online contact points: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tamesidesight.org.uk www.facebook.com/tba.blind www.twitter.com/tamesidesight 20
Printed by: P.D. Print, Hyde.