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Winter 2013

A day in the life of Mark Bailey

Exhibition and Information Day

Club news Round up

Visiting the Everyman Theatre

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Insight Gloucestershire’s magazine for sight impaired people

Welcome To the Winter issue of Insight


10K Supporters!


CAN YOU HELP? Do you or a member of your family want to help raise vital funds next year? Insight Gloucestershire is looking for fundraisers for 2014 to take on a challenge (this could be anything from running, hiking, walking, swimming, cycling – the list is endless!) to help raise funds. As a small charity, even a small donation can make a big difference and you know that your money is going to sight impaired and blind people in the local area. So please do get in touch with us. Our fundraising Coordinator will be able to help you through every stage: from looking for a suitable event to join, helping you with a training plan and finally to cheer you on at the end!

A few of Insight’s younger supporters aged between 5-7 years old took part in the 10k Challenge based in Derbyshire earlier this year. This is what one had to say about challenges for charity: “Well, my Nanny White died this year. She was very old at 91 years! This charity looked after our Nanny because she did not have very good eyes. So me and my sister, who is 5 years old, went on a walk for 10 kilometres! It was very hard because we walked for 3 HOURS but lots of people gave us money to do this walk so we really wanted to finish it. It’s nice to help someone that helped our Nanny, because we loved her.” Jasmine W (age 7)

Please call 01242 22 11 70 or email Helpline 01242 22 11 70 Web Email

This edition contains a report about our hugely successful Exhibition and Information Day at the prestigious Pittville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham. The event took place on a sunny day in September and was attended by nearly 350 people – far exceeding our expectations. The feedback we had from clients, volunteers and exhibitors was all very positive, complimenting us on the exhibition and our new name. By the time you read this you’ll have discovered the magnet enclosed with this magazine. On the magnet is our helpline telephone number and it is printed as large and as clear as is practically possible to do. Most of you with some residual vision will be able to read it, so please keep it on your fridge, pin it to your pin board or just keep it by the phone. Please feel free to ring the helpline if you need advice on any issues relating to your sight impairment – we’re here to help. Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year to you all. Steve Martin General Manager, Insight Gloucestershire

this issue...

04 GAD 06 Gloucestershire Association for Disability Insight Roadshows 07 Schedule for 2014 of eye conditions 08 A-Z Charles Bonnet Syndrome Access2Books 10 Giant print & braille books 11 Calibre Audio Library A day in the life of 12 Mark Bailey (part 2) Gloucestershire 15 Insight Exhibition and Information Day Clubs 19 Round-up of Club news 200 Club 26 The Be in it to win it! At the Theatre 27 With Insight Gloucestershire is coming 28 Christmas Charity Christmas Cards New products 29 Round up of new products 30 Useful contacts Samaritans By David Ward

The Insight magazine is produced quarterly by Insight Gloucestershire. Registered charity in the UK (No 204279)

Insight Gloucestershire 81 Albion Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 2RZ

Samaritans By David Ward Hello Insight Readers,

What do we Samaritans hope for?

How could you help Samaritans?

My name is David and I was delighted to meet Steve Martin in June. He told me about your association and invited me to introduce Samaritans to you.

We aim to reduce the number of people who try to kill themselves and prevent others from becoming suicidal. It works. I have been a Samaritan for 16 years and I am still surprised that something as simple as talking helps, but it does.

If you don’t need to call us but would like to support us, we would welcome you. One easy way to do this would be to help on one of our collection days. Phone us on the number below if you would like to know more about supporting us.

Why contact Samaritans?

How could you become a Samaritan?

We Samaritans are a group of ordinary people. We volunteer to help others who are depressed, despairing, suicidal, lonely or unhappy by listening to their problems. We are trained to make sure this is a safe, confidential, secure experience for anyone who contacts us. I have listed ways to contact us at the end. Who calls Samaritans? Anyone: young or old, female or male, straight or gay. What can you as a caller expect? A friendly person who will listen, not judge, not tell you what to do but explore the problems you have and consider what options you have to help you cope.


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Sometimes confiding in family members or friends is hard; you may feel embarrassed, you don’t want to upset them, they may tell other people, they may tell you what to do, they may tell you not to be silly. Samaritans are safe. You will not upset us. You can discuss any problem or feeling that worries you; abuse, finances, relationships, drugs, voices, self-harming, anything. We do not need to know who you are nor where you are and we have no way of finding out.

If you have time for volunteering, you might want to become a Samaritan. This would involve undertaking training. You could talk to Steve Martin about this and he will put you in touch with me.

How to contact Samaritans • Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 • E-mail: • Text: 07725 90 90 90 • Face to face: at our Cheltenham centre; Back Albert Place, near Pitville Circus. • Our national website:

It has been great to have the opportunity to tell you about Samaritans. Thank you for reading my article.

I hope you will never need a Samaritan but if you do we are there day and night, 24/7 as they say. If you phone at 3 in the morning we will be there and we will reply.

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Insight Roadshows

Gloucestershire Association for Disability

Schedule for 2014

Gloucestershire Association for Disability (GAD) is a grant-making charity for people of all ages living in the county who have a physical, sensory or learning disability and are in receipt of a disability or age related allowance. There are three categories of grant:

Our schedule for our Roadshows next year is almost complete and we wanted to give you as much notice as possible about the events.

1. Individual – Grants of up to £500 can be awarded to people needing help for such things as holidays, household goods or specialist equipment that is not a statutory provision. 2. Organisations - Applications are considered for help with funding group activities or equipment for organisations where all or many of their members have a disability. 3. Bursaries – The Enid Stewart Bursary of up to £4000 is available to those taking up an academic career. The Kathleen Powell Bursary of up to £2000 is for those people following a more practical or sporting interest.

All applications are considered monthly by the Trustees and any grants agreed are paid on receipt of an invoice. Grants cannot be awarded in retrospect or used to pay off debts or bills. Application forms can be obtained by telephoning 01452 61 48 90 on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 10 am and 1 pm (or leave a message outside these hours) or they can be downloaded from the GAD website:

Our Roadshows take place at different venues all around the County – so there’s bound to be one near you! There will be a variety of exhibitors at each venue displaying equipment and daily living aids specifically for sight impaired people. Each event will take place between 10am and 4pm. Light refreshments will be available at each event so please let us know if you wish to attend.

For more information please call our helpline: 01242 22 11 70

Cheltenham Tuesday March 4th 2014 Resource Centre in Albion Street

Tewkesbury July 2014 (date to be confirmed) Library function room

Moreton in Marsh Monday April 7th 2014 Council Offices function room

Gloucester Tuesday September 16th 2014 Brunswick Baptist Church in Southgate Street

Cirencester Wednesday May 14th 2014 Parish Offices in Gosditch Street Stroud Thursday June 5th 2014 Subscription Rooms


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Cheltenham Tuesday October 7th 2014 Resource Centre in Albion Street

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Insight to Eyesight An A-Z of eye conditions: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Charles Bonnet Syndrome is named after a Swiss philosopher and writer who lived about 250 years ago. Charles Bonnet wrote about his grandfather’s experiences after his grandfather lost his sight to cataracts and began having “visions”; he could see patterns, people, birds and buildings, which were not really there. Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is a common condition among people who have lost their sight. It causes people who have lost a lot of vision to see things that aren’t really there, known as visual hallucinations. Anyone of any age, including children, may develop this condition, as any eye condition that causes sight loss can trigger CBS. There are thought to be more than 100,000 cases of CBS in the UK. Some research suggest that up to 60 per cent of individuals who are experiencing serious sight loss may develop it.

Acknowledgment: RNIB booklet “Understanding Charles Bonnet syndrome”.


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Causes of CBS The main cause of CBS is loss of vision and how your brain reacts to this loss. The exact way loss of sight leads to hallucinations isn’t really known, but research is slowly revealing more about how the eye and the brain work together. CBS tends to begin in the weeks and months following deterioration in your sight. How you know if you have CBS “I always thought that seeing things was a sign of mental health problems”. If you have lost some sight to a condition like macular degeneration or glaucoma and you start to hallucinate or see things that aren’t really there, then you may have CBS. There isn’t anyone test that your doctor can do to find out whether you have CBS or not. Usually, they try to rule out other causes of hallucinations, like mental health problems, Alzheimer’s and other conditions. If there are no signs of these other conditions then it is probable that CBS is the cause of your hallucinations.

CBS can be distressing, but the hallucinations are usually not permanent. Many people experience hallucinations for a year to eighteen months before they become a lot less frequent. For more understanding of CBS, go on-line type in Charles Bonnet Syndrome and you will find more information and descriptions of types of hallucinations from simple repeating patterns to complex hallucinations. Treatment There is currently no medical cure for CBS. When you experience CBS, the most effective form of treatment can come from knowing that the condition is not a mental health problem or a symptom of another disease but is due to sight loss. Knowing that CBS usually improves with time (even if it doesn’t go away completely) might also help you cope with the hallucinations. Having information on CBS and sharing your experiences with family and friends can also help.

Blind Mums Connect links visually impaired mums from all over the UK, sharing information and supporting one another. Our groups and get togethers enable mums to share experiences and swap practical tips, from feeding your baby and choosing a suitable carrier or buggy, to dealing with schools and homework. Our members include mums-to-be, mums of newborns, toddlers, older kids and teens, and with all levels of visual impairment. • Run by mums for mums • Free membership • Online support group • Local get togethers • Skype support groups • Members’ eZine • Awareness raising Join and follow us… blindmumsconnect @blindmums Join our friendly online support group to chat to others in the same boat: group/blindmumsconnect Winter 2013




Giant print & braille books

Audio Library

Would you love to be able to read a bedtime story to your children or grandchildren, but the print is just too small? Alternatively, does your young child struggle with the text size in his books, but wants to read the same stories as his friends? Eileen Finch is a grandmother with Stargardt’s, who decided to do something about this.

Calibre’s Audio Library has launched its streaming service with all 6,700 digital books available online. Streaming is a service where Calibre audio books are delivered to you live as you listen using the internet, as opposed to downloads where the complete book is delivered before you start listening. You can listen to them on internet enabled devices, which includes computers, tablets and, of course, smartphones. Calibre continues to offer their popular postal service with MP3, CDs and USB memory sticks.

Eileen is registered blind and found that when she read large print books to her grandchildren, they quickly became bored because of the lack of illustrations. This led her to set up Access2Books which produces a range of early years’ books in giant print (75pt) and Braille. The books feature the same illustrations used in the mainstream version of the story, but they don’t obscure the writing or the braille. There are about 30 titles to choose from at present and they are all individually produced to a high standard. As the books are custom made, this means you can choose the grade of braille, size of font and even the weight and size of paper that you would prefer.


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If you would like to purchase a book, or find out more about Eileen and Access2Books, then check out the website www.access2books or ring 01525 85 38 25. Insight Gloucestershire has a copy of “We’re going on a bear hunt” in our Resource Centre so you could even pop in and have a look at it.

There are two membership options. For a single payment of £35 you can enjoy great books (including streaming) with no annual subscription. Once you join, it’s free to use for as long as you like!

All the players have a bookmark facility and you also have the option of purchasing the players individually. If you enjoy reading, but have never tried audio books before, Calibre offers a three month free trial period. You can borrow a single book at a time (and/or listen to multiple titles via streaming) and at the end of the twelve weeks you can join our library with the membership option that suits you. For more information call our Membership Services Team on 01296 43 23 39 or visit

If you would like a player, there are two packages that include the joining fee, a choice of players posted to you and free books for life. For £65 or £67 there is a choice of two USB memory stick players: either Laplock Technology’s Boombox Plus, or the Kings Audio Sovereign. Alternatively for £70 you can have a Denver CD player.

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Mark Bailey

A day in the life of Mark Bailey Daily tasks as a sight impaired person! Part 2. Lunchtime. By this time of the day, as brilliant as technology is, I am suffering a bit from audio/ visual overload from all the sounds, speech functions and that my remaining sight is having to work extremely hard, so I take an hour lunch break & turn everything off – computers, phones, etc., and sit in complete silence with my sandwich and rest my eyes. Whilst at home, I’ve just had a visit from the postman with a parcel to sign for. I use a Signature Guide which the driver places onto his board, and this allows me to sign in the right place. I have been given my mail as well – all my bills and bank statements come in large print. Afternoon time is gym time. The gym is rather an uncompromising place for a blind person as other gym users leave weight lifting bars and weights lying around creating constant hazards and the dumbbells are never left in their correct pairs. When doing a workout I am constantly listening, as I can’t see which machines are in use. I have learnt that each machine makes a distinctive sound when being used, so this stops me having to keep constantly walking around the gym. 12

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Fortunately the dumbbells are black in colour and have large white writing on them telling you their weight. However, I still have to be able to lift the dumbbell close enough to my face to enable me to read it. As I can’t see what weight I am choosing when using the resistance machines, I need to have a good memory and remember which hole represents which weight for me to then put the pin in on each machine, using my finger to count the holes and then to place the pin in. Bumps and bruises are a daily pleasure! On the way back from the gym I call in at the supermarket for a few essentials. I stick with one particular supermarket so that I can remember where things are. If I do need to ask for help, the staff know that I have a visual impairment, although, it’s not always easy to find a member of staff, when you can’t easily identify them. I like to pay with cash as I have difficulty using a card machine. To identify notes I find it easier to look at the shape printed on the bottom left corner. A round circle for a £5 note, a triangle for a £10 and a square for the £20 note. If I’m not sure, I look closely at the value printed in large print at the top left corner. Coins are easy too,

- much to my wife’s shock whenever we are gardening together.

due to their different shapes and sizes, with coppers having smooth outer edges while silver coins have ridged outer edges. Back home again and just got time to do a quick tidy up in the garden. I use a petrol mower to cut the lawn as have found with an electric mower the trailing power cable is a problem. I have cut through them numerous times even though they are generally orange in colour. When cutting I do lengthways first and then cut it widthways just to make sure I’ve cut it all. Pruning is always fun, especially the roses. Once again my fingers are my eyes, carefully feeling my way around a bush or plant and then guiding in the secateurs to make a cut. I just can’t use garden gloves as I can’t feel what I am cutting or picking up

Its dinner time. The cooker, like the washing machine has bump-ons on it to identify the correct temperatures. Fortunately the oven clocks and timers are at eye level and have very clear displays. Slicing and dicing of food is relatively straightforward, it’s just a case of taking my time and thinking what I am doing. I place the item of food onto a high-contrast chopping board, and hold it with my left hand. Holding the knife in my right hand I use my right index finger to initially guide where I am cutting. When putting my food onto a plate I use white plates to create the best contrast and so that I know what I am eating. Just going to settle down with a film and have a few things to help. Firstly now you can get talking TV’s which are fairly new, but I have a talking set-top box which allows you to navigate the TV through text-tospeech software. To enjoy the TV there is a function called “Audio Description,” which is where you have a narrator describing what is Winter 2013


happening on the screen in between dialogues. More and more programs have this facility. Most cinemas now also provide this for films. When you book & pay for tickets in advance you can also book a set of cordless headphones which allow you to listen to audio description while you enjoy the film with your friends. This is something that I have only recently started to use. My wife can now enjoy the film and not be conscious that those around us may be getting annoyed with her whispering anything visual that I would have otherwise missed. This is also available for sports venues and theatres. Some theatres also


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have special nights where visually impaired people can arrive early and are allowed to feel costumes and have scenery described to them in advance so they can enjoy the play more. Check your DVD’s at home as you will find audio description on your home movies either in the language section or subtitle section. So I hope you have enjoyed a brief insight into my world. As you can see, being a registered blind person does not stop you from doing things – we just do things in other ways to sighted people but still get the same results!

The Insight Gloucestershire Exhibition and Information Day Tuesday 24th September 2013 Pittville Pump Rooms

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Hundreds flocked to the event that took place between 10am – 4pm on the 24th September, to discover a number of stands that offered various visual aids. The room was jam packed with an assortment of sight impaired products, lots of information and advice at hand.

Andy Burrows, who has used Insight Gloucestershire for over 7 years, commented, “I have been using Insight’s services for years and always go to the resource centre for any equipment or services I need. Events like this really make you realise how many people there are with an eye condition that need help and support. It’s also handy to have all this equipment and services in one place!”

Insight Gloucestershire have changed their name to become more inclusive, as Chair, Ann Lightfoot comments, “ In some ways ‘blind’ and ‘blindness’ are very misleading terms because the majority of people registered blind actually do have a certain amount of residual vision. I think it is important people don’t feel embarrassed to come to us for help. Our old title is slightly misleading; the new name is inclusive.”

“The added bonus of being able to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and the lovely cake while chatting about all the products we had tried out added to the joy of the visit. Thank you so much for a wonderful experience. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone who has sight difficulties.”

“I attended this exhibition with my mum, who is 90 years young. We were very impressed with the exhibition. Seeing so many people there surprised mum, as she said,” “I had no idea there are so many people with sight and hearing difficulties.”

“On entering the car park we were met by a smiling volunteer who showed us where to go very much appreciated.”

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Just under 350 people attended the exhibition: a number that completely exceeded the expectations of the staff and exhibitors. “The response from the visually impaired community in Cheltenham has been astounding; we have had more interest at our stand here than some of the major events we go to around the UK,” commented Mark Hill, Marketing Manager of Optelec.

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Clubs Round up of Club news Iris Club

Tewkesbury VIPs

The club took part in a poetry workshop in April 2013. We thought you would like to read a poem put together by some of the members:

Nine new volunteers, with two more to follow, have received their induction training from Susan Gregory and will join existing Highbury volunteers Keith Davies and Chris Chapman to start the new club for Tewkesbury.

My Father was a village Who heard the music in every language. Steve Martin, General Manager of Insight said, ‘It was a great event. Our new name has been met with enthusiasm and praise for the change from our clients, suppliers and volunteers. Insight will continue to expand the services we offer: we will be holding a series of Road Shows next year all around the County. We’re a ‘Countywide’ organisation and our aim is to bring our help and support to the local community all around Gloucestershire’.


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“The range of equipment was amazing. No hard sales persons, seeing and being able to try out all the different equipment was very helpful. Mum very taken with half eye prismatic. She was amazed she could read the print without the difficulty of having to hold a magnifying glass. She finds upon moving a magnifier across the page of a book she loses her place. The glasses would make her life so much easier and maybe enable her to enjoy knitting again. Looking forward to trying this new product out. She has also signed up to have the Gloucester Talking Newspaper a great asset.”

The language of the sea is bubbly, Familiar like the house that wrapped itself Around me for fifty-seven years. My uncle was the sea

Interest in joining the club has been received from about eighteen potential members, and meetings will be held at Marina Court in the afternoon on the first Thursday of each month.

By Hazel and Eileen.

Students from Tewkesbury School will be providing their home-made cakes for meetings as well as helping out. The school is very keen on community involvement, with the students’ involvement counting towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award. Over a dozen local retailers have pledged support, with provisions for meetings and small things for raffle prizes and birthday presents.

If you would like further information about the club please contact Pam Graham at Insight Gloucestershire 01242 22 11 70

All the new volunteers seem pretty enthusiastic and are looking forward to getting members to meetings, where they can enjoy that very important social contact.

That sparred with the sand he slept on. He held it close like my mother’s rose-gold wedding ring And the necklace from my daughter, The one we nearly lost but who came back to bloom Like the flowers in spring.

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Stroud and District Club for the Visually Impaired Meets at Hazelwood (off Meadow Road), Stonehouse on the second Tuesday afternoon of the month.

The Highbury Club The Highbury Helpers and Chauffeurs attended a ceremony on 14th October at Saints Philip and James Church Centre, where they won the GAVCA Cheltenham Volunteer Team of the Year Award, which they received from Mayor, Cllr Wendy Flynn. In particular, recognition is due to Clare Whittemore, who has been helping at the club for over 30 years, and also Valerie Pimble, who has supported for a long time as well. All the other volunteers have very short service, in comparison, as they only started in 2013. Their efforts and dedication have, however, saved the club from extinction. The members all say that they enjoy the meetings, with interesting speakers, and the outings to Blooms Garden Centre, for some live rock ‘n’ roll, and the World of Mechanical Music at Northleach.


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In September we visited the Stroud Museum in Park. The afternoon began with a burst of the advert – “it beats as it sweeps as it cleans” as Ann (from the museum) demonstrated that their latest acquisition, an early Hoover Junior still worked efficiently. We did resist the temptation to try on the 1960 crimplene dress although Jenny did model an early boy scout hat. October and November provide very different entertainment – a musical afternoon and a visit from the Hedgehog Hospital – with perhaps a prickly friend! At our Christmas meeting we shall be hearing about a meeting with Father Christmas in Lapland and other seasonal stories. Lyndsey and Cheryl have again promised us a special tea to end the year. If you would like to join us, give me, Celia, a call on 01452 86 46 45 or email: Transport can often be arranged – Ring & Ride minibus comes from Uplands, through Cashes Green, Ebley, Eastington and Stonehouse.

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your local news and views because you have difficulty reading standard newsprint, why not try listening to The Cotswold Listener, the talking newspaper for the blind and visually impaired? The Cotswold Listener brings you weekly news from where you live - whether it’s Cheltenham, Tewkesbury or the north Cotswolds. And the service is absolutely free. Often, being unable to read a newspaper can make people feel isolated and cut off from what is happening locally. Our aim is to help people with visual impairment to keep in touch with what is going on in their local community and stay aware of the issues which are of interest to them. Many of our listeners refer to The Cotswold Listener as their lifeline and tell us that as well as keeping them up to date it has also improved interaction with family and friends.

The Cotswold Listener is recorded weekly, read by our enthusiastic team of volunteers. It lasts about 80 minutes and has three distinct sections. First of all there is 40 minutes of news by courtesy of The Gloucestershire Echo and The Cotswold Journal, selected daily by our team of news readers. This is followed by a magazine section that includes articles of general interest perhaps gardening, Cotswold history, local celebrity gossip or simply an amusing anecdote that our readers think you will enjoy. Finally we have reports and reviews on the latest products and gadgets designed specifically for the visually impaired. The Cotswold Listener is available on CD or memory stick. These are posted out by first class post under the Royal Mail’s Articles for The Blind Scheme. It is also available on our website: To receive your copy of the Cotswold Listener or if you would like to try a sample just call us on 01242 25 20 72 and please leave a message, or contact us at the website above. And remember this is a completely free service.

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Gloucestershire Village and Community Agents Gloucestershire Village and Community Agents work with the over 50s and vulnerable people in the county to help them get the support they need to live as independent a life as they want, for as long as possible. Outlook


Outlook is the group for young and young at heart sight impaired people. Our monthly bowling nights are still on-going, and we are looking into new activities. Please let us know if there is any activity you’d like us to arrange. We’re always looking for new members. Come and join us – we have a great time! For more details please contact Marc on 01242 22 11 70, email

The Gloucestershire Growlers have completed their debut season in Blind Cricket. It was a good entrance into the sport as they fought through some tough opponents to gain 4 draws and 1 win, but ended up losing 3 of their games, finishing 4th in the league. In September the team headed to Leicester for a development weekend with 7 other development sides from around the country. Although the team were short of numbers, this did not stop them handing out a heavy defeat to Yorkshire and getting some revenge on Berkshire, with a massive 3.5 over victory in a 10 over game. Great work from all! As debuts seasons go, it was a great learning curve for all involved and there were new players being picked up all the time. They are not only teammates, they are true friends.


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There are 33 Village Agents who each look after a geographical area, while the five Community Agents work with Black and Minority Ethnic communities across the county. Eleven of the Agents have also received additional training to work with anyone over the age of 18 who is affected by cancer. The Agents are all CRB checked so they can visit people in their own homes and take the time to listen. We work with a wide variety of partners, including Insight Gloucestershire, the County Council, and Age UK, to try and find solutions for our clients. Our main aim is to help older people in Gloucestershire to feel more independent, secure and cared for. To find out who your local Agent is, contact Clare Huckett, Gloucestershire Village and Community Agents Manager, at GRCC on 01452 52 84 91 or by email to

We can: • help you find out about social groups in your area • arrange a home safety check including getting smoke detectors installed or replaced • have your benefits checked to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to • request an assessment by an occupational therapist and Social Care support.

Join us Find a local club near you Are you interested in joining a local club? Why not contact Insight Gloucestershire to find out what clubs are available near you. With over 20 clubs in Gloucestershire I am sure we can find one to suit you! For further information call 01242 22 11 70.

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St John’s Guild

Stroud Macular Support Group Our group members are the experts on living with macular disease. Many get involved in improving their local communities to benefit people with sight loss. The group worked with staff from the Forestry Commission to give advice about black on yellow large print signs and an audio described trail in the National Arboretum at Westonbirt. The activity was part of the ‘Hidden Voices’ project aimed at engaging with new audiences and improving the experience of those visiting the arboretum. Members visited the arboretum once a month for six months as part of the scheme. Group leader Sandra Best said: “I was keen for us to be involved in the project and knew our members would enjoy it. The highlight of the project was witnessing how keen people were to get involved in the activities. We had a great time!”

Our branch of St. John’s Guild for Visually Impaired People (VIPs) celebrates its 21st birthday in October. We still have three of our founder members attending regularly and several who have been with us a long time. We are always very pleased to welcome new members, helpers and drivers.

Cheltenham Macular Support Group The Macular Support Group held an art session in August. Mary Brazil and some artist friends brought bags of materials to our meeting and we made whatever we could from the pieces of cloth, metal, rubber, plastic, cardboard, then each group reported back on their activities. One group produced a paddle steamer and the desert with a sun which was a tinfoil dish and when reversed became the moon! Another group reproduced our visit to Weston with crayons as people, bits of coloured cloth for sea and sand; a newlywed couple in their kitchen full of gadgets emerged from bits of pipe and scraps of cloth; another group made a fire with red shiny paper and a fire fighters nightmare, which was a ladder with the rungs going off in different directions.

A couple dressed in pieces of cloth and became an Arab and a Hindu woman, examples of living art! It was fascinating to witness what could be achieved with a jumble of materials and little sight. There was much laughter and chat and Mary and her team directed the afternoon with great skill and vivacity. We listen to many talks, but it’s good sometimes to be more active. In October, we’re being introduced to Yoga and Chi Kung, which will concentrate on breathing and relaxation exercises; another active meeting.

We meet on the third Tuesday of each month at St. Michael’s Cornerstone Centre, Severn Road, Whaddon, normally from 2 – 4pm for a time of fellowship, entertainment and sustenance. I can guarantee you will get a good tea! If you are interested in joining us or would like to know more about the Guild, please contact me on 01242 24 12 28 or leave a message at Cornerstone, 01242 77 77 77. Transport can usually be provided within the local area. Margaret Thame.

For further information Contact Genevieve Matley on 01242 57 64 97

Contact Sandra Best for further. T: 01453 83 36 14 24

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The 200 Club

At the Theatre

Be in it to win it!

With Insight Gloucestershire

The National lottery has changed but we remain the same!

Four or five times a year, Insight Gloucestershire offers discounted tickets to its members for afternoon performances at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham (and one carer can accompany a member by buying a ticket at the same price). Seats are reserved at the very front of the stalls.

The National Lottery has increased the cost of a ticket to £2 but the cost to join in the 200 club remains the same! Insight’s 200 club is a monthly draw that helps raise money for our charity, and gives you the opportunity to win cash prizes. It only costs £12 per number for the entire year!

The more numbers you have the better chance you have of winning! For example 1 number costs £12, 2 numbers cost £24 and so on. The draw is made at our resource centre during the first week of each month. Remember our 200 club is not just open to you, our clients, but also to your friends and family, so why not ask them to join in the fun! We rely heavily on donations to help us to continue the vital work we do. If you wish to participate, please contact Nazia White on 01242 22 11 70.

Over the past few years we’ve seen Penelope Keith and Felicity Kendal. We’ve seen Shakespeare. We’ve seen some of Agatha Christie’s ‘who-done-it’ detective plays. We’ve been to musicals, from HMS Pinafore to Oklahoma. This year we’ve been to see the musical Blood Brothers, then Cider with Rosie, Twelfth Night, Charley’s Aunt, and To Sir with Love.

What’s more, we are given a ‘touchtour’ on stage on the morning of each event we are attending and, of course, we have a live audiodescription for every show - apart from, usually, the musicals. If you are sight impaired and interested in joining our theatre outings, please give us your name, address, telephone number and email address, if you have one, and you will receive all details in good time to book. We would be pleased to welcome you to our theatre group. One further point - the staff at the Everyman know us well. They are extremely kind and helpful to us when we are visiting their theatre.

STOP PRESS… In April 2014, the first touring production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap will be arriving in Cheltenham and Insight Gloucestershire has seats reserved.

Good luck to everyone taking part. Remember you have to be in it to win it! 26

Winter 2013

Winter 2013


Christmas is coming! The Insight Gloucestershire Charity Christmas Cards are now available! Our fantastic Christmas Cards are only £4.00 (plus p&p) for a pack of 10 quality cards (one design with envelopes).


We have 3 seasonal designs to choose from. A Christmas scenes B The village at Christmas C Christmas robin The greeting inside the cards is “With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year.”



To order yours please telephone 01242 22 11 70 for credit card payments or send your cheque (made payable to “Insight Gloucestershire”) with your order to: Insight Gloucestershire 81 Albion Street Cheltenham GL52 2RZ

New products Diaries, Display, Keyboard, Clock and Lamp Diaries

Smartlite Large Face Clock

Don’t forget your 2014 diaries. We have stock of the following:

If you want to read the time at night and avoid waking people up with a talking clock, this could be for you. With its Smartlite technology and glow-in-the-dark face, you can see the large display clock face at night with more ease.

A4 Desk Diary £8.00 A5 Midi Diary £7.00 Pocket Diary £5.00 A3 Calendar £6.00 Pebble HD Pebble HD provides a crisp, clear, colourful, HD picture. A new ergonomic lightweight compact design makes it the perfect companion whether at home or on the go. Features - Magnification from 1.25x to 13.5x, freeze frame, real time clock, calendar and audible feedback. Lightweight Table Lamp This lightweight desk lamp can be positioned to direct light in several ways. With its flexible arm and swivel head you can move it to support your reading needs. The bulb omits 825 lumens.

Dolphin Supernova Keyboard Do you use Dolphin Supernova? Do you find it difficult to remember all of the keyboard shortcuts for the controls? Well now you don’t have to, as Dolphin have released the Supernova keyboard. All of the main commands for the keyboard now have their own designated key, so you don’t have to worry about remembering all of the shortcut combinations.

Our Resource Centre located in Albion Street Cheltenham is fully equipped with over 200 products that are aimed to help sight impaired people to live independently. Open: 9am - 1pm Monday to Friday. Out of these hours please call 01242 22 11 70 to make an appointment. 28

Winter 2013

Winter 2013


Useful contacts

The Insight Gloucestershire team RNIB Helpline: 0303 123 99 99 Web:

Steve Martin General Manager

Monday – Moreton-in-Marsh Council Offices Tourist Information Centre in the High Street, GL56 0LW

Insight Gloucestershire 81 Albion Street, Cheltenham GL52 2RZ Tel: 01242 22 11 70 Email: Web:

Chrissie Dutson PA to the General Manager

Wednesday – Gloucester Brunswick Baptist Church, Southgate Street, GL1 2DR

Gloucestershire County Council General enquiries: 01452 42 68 68 Web:

Benefits Agency Helpline Helpline: 0800 882 200

Guide Dogs for the Blind Tel: 0118 983 55 55 Web:

Stephanie McKeever Advocacy and Information Officer

National Blind Children’s Society Helpline: 01278 76 47 64 Web:

John Balfry Advocacy and Information Officer

Insight information offices Open every week from 10am - 1pm

Thursday – Stroud Subscription Rooms, Kendrick Street, GL5 1AE Thursday – Tewkesbury Library Sun Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5NX Friday – Cirencester Parish Offices, Gosditch Street, GL7 2AG

Calibre Audio Library New Road, Aylesbury, Bucks. HP22 5XQ. Tel: 01296 43 23 39 Email: Web: The Cotswold Listener The Talking Newspaper for the Blind Tel: 01242 25 20 72 Department of Work & Pensions Helpline: 0845 301 30 11 Gloucestershire Deaf Association Colin Road, Barnwood, Gloucester GL4 7JN Tel: 01452 37 29 99 Minicom: 01452 37 26 00 Fax: 01452 37 22 88 Web:


Sense – Support for the Deaf/Blind Tel: 0845 127 00 60 Textphone: 0845 127 00 62 Fax: 0845 127 00 61 Email: Web:

Mark Bailey Advocacy and Information Officer

NHS Direct Tel: 0845 46 47 48 Web:

Pam Graham Visiting Advisor

Marc Gulwell Resource Coordinator

Susan Gregory Volunteer Coordinator

Nazia White Marketing & Communications Officer

Helpline 01242 22 11 70 Web Email

Insight winter 2013  

A magazine aimed at sight impaired people in Gloucestershire.

Insight winter 2013  

A magazine aimed at sight impaired people in Gloucestershire.