Sight Concern Bedfordshire
Sight Concern Bedfordshire Sight Concern Bedfordshire
News & Views March 2002
Available in cassette, Braille, email and large print, free of charge
; Not being confident that bus drivers Make Everyone Aware
will call out the required stop There is no more powerful ammunition ; Pavements cluttered with wheelie for service providing organisations than bins the customers view. Sight Concern ; The discomfort caused to visually Bedfordshire‟s November‟s AGM impaired pedestrians‟ encountering started with a whole morning being overhanging garden hedges devoted to gathering the views of ; The hazard of A boards and other individuals and organisations connected displays shopkeepers set out on with Sight Concern Bedfordshire - i.e. pavements visually impaired individuals, Social ; Unprotected scaffolding Services‟ personnel, council ; Cars parked on the pavement representatives, volunteers, commercial ; The need for shop staff to be aware firms, staff and trustees. of the types of assistance visually
The consultation session comprised the impaired shoppers require
audience being divided into small All those points add up to visually discussion groups or workshops each impaired people finding it more and with a specific topic to consider. A more difficult to get out and about to the common theme emerged - awareness degree where their independence is raising, awareness raising and making totally undermined.
everyone aware of the needs of visually Sight Concern Bedfordshire is on the impaired people. right lines regarding its public education When, for example, the group or “awareness raising” strategy. Now discussing the topic “Out and About” that the Rehabilitation Workers are co-reported back, the entire audience located at our Bedford Office the closer identified with the need for bus drivers, working relationship has brought local councils and the like to be told of benefits to the quality of service the difficulties blind and partially sighted provided for blind and partially sighted people encounter. News & Views people. Improved liaison with hospital readers will recognise the issues too: staff has created understanding of the ; Having to negotiate awkwardly registration process and its importance positioned baby buggies and to newly registered people. The shopping trolleys when boarding a workshop discussing Sight Concern bus Bedfordshire‟s Talking Newspapers ; Being unnerved by pavement cyclists identified, for example, the work put in
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to set up a number of reliable reading
groups in Leighton Buzzard, a higher
quality of tape recordings and, on the
“cons” side the urgent need for more
volunteers with technical knowledge.
The consultation provided the organisation with much detailed
“I‟ll get by with a little help information which has already begun to
from my friends” so sang the influence the drawing up of priorities,
and the identification of resource Beatles, and they were absolutely right. requirements in the form of both cash What a difference it makes when needs and volunteer recruitment - in someone accompanies you to the short Sight Concern Bedfordshire can shops, and patiently helps you implement its work plans, knowing that distinguish between tins of beans and blind and partially sighted people have spaghetti. How would you manage directly shaped the charity‟s activities. without that friend who helps you when
the print quality is poor or the typeface Welcome
just too small? Then there are those Sylvia Styles is the new Services
who kindly put everything back in Assistant in Bedford. With many years
exactly the right place after a visit so experience of working for the Borough
that you can continue to manage Council‟s busy planning department,
independently. These „friends who help Sylvia is fitting in very well. We still see
us‟ sometimes referred to as „carers‟ are Mary Inwood and Mary Jurance who
in reality neighbours, husbands, wives, are both well.
parents and children. Some of them
give a relatively small amount of their
time others are there helping and caring
all day long.
British Blind Sport Day Sight Concern Bedfordshire would like thSunday 14 April Shenley Leisure to invite you and your friends or carers Centre Milton Keynes. This event is to “Looking after You”. This is a special greatly enjoyed by everyone who support programme, which over the attends. One of its aims is to space of four weekly sessions, seeks to encourage people of all ages to try address the specific needs of those who different sports and activities under live with or care for blind and partially expert coaches. It‟s free and this sighted people. Those who attend will year activities will include: Archery, receive new information, learn some Rifle shooting, Horse riding, Yoga, new skills and be encouraged to pass Goal ball, Dance, Swimming, Tai-chi, on their own cleverly devised coping and Pilates. Please contact David strategies. The atmosphere is friendly Hall on 01908 502488. If enough and informal with refreshments and people wanted to go, Sight Concern plenty of opportunity for talking and Bedfordshire could co-ordinate asking questions. At the moment the transport. group is run at the Bedford office, but
Sight Concern Bedfordshire 3
we are happy to consider other areas if FREE. So please phone 01234 842801 there is enough demand. After you have or 842612, for assistance.
experienced and hopefully enjoyed the
From Tim Poole following the training course you will be invited back
article on Jug Kettles in the last News on a monthly basis to share the „Carers
and Views. “If you have a cordless Couch‟. This is a supportive group
kettle, make sure the electrical contacts designed to share thoughts, feelings
at the bottom are kept dry. The safest and experiences of those caring for a
way to clean the base is to unplug it, VIP (Visually Impaired Person). There is
thus keeping the electrical contacts a section dedicated to „tips and tricks‟
dry.” Thanks Tim. along with a fun half hour. If you think
that you or one of your „caring friends‟
or relatives would like to attend, then
call us for more information.
The Persula Foundation is coming to Handy Hints No 2. Labelling Bedford Library! Professional Even the simplest everyday object can storytellers perform free of charge to be made into a label that can audiences of blind and partially sighted distinguish apparently identical items for people. All are superb entertainers with someone with a visual impairment. An lots of experience, and the bigger the elastic band around a jar of marmalade audience the better the atmosphere. can distinguish it from a jar of jam; a thSounds great to me, so put Monday 8 small piece of elastoplast on the handle April in your diary, and call 01234 of a toothbrush when its colour cannot 311555 for more information on times. be seen; a safety pin discreetly placed
inside the cuff of a jacket or coat Bobby Scheme ensures that it can easily be Set up in 1997, the Bobby Scheme distinguished from others. A paperclip aims to help elderly or vulnerable can be an invaluable marker – some people by giving advice, support and people use one to distinguish a return practical help in improving home ticket from the outgoing one on a security. Roger Tuck operates across journey. the whole of Luton and Bedfordshire Those who retain their colour vision can and is a trained carpenter, lock fitter make use of this either by selecting and crime prevention advisor. Roger will similar items in different colours, or fit whatever security devices are where this is not appropriate by adding needed, to ensure the property is a distinguishing or contrasting colour. secure, including door chains, window Brightly coloured electrician‟s tape can locks, change the locks if you‟ve lost be bought in DIY stores, using different your key, sash jammers, key safe, coloured strips on plastic containers in a security light, smoke detectors and a freezer could help identify the contents, recorded memo minder for those of us eg red on meat, blue on fish, green on who are forgetful, and this service is vegetables. Using different coloured
Sight Concern Bedfordshire 4
electric plugs would help ensure that helps, and how colour contrast is useful. the fridge or freezer are not switched off Unfortunately there is no magic wand instead of the toaster or kettle. Electric though, most people have to practice plugs can also be marked by different using an aid, and can only see a few coloured or patterns of tape, e.g. a words at a time, and can only use it for cross, a straight line, or two straight a few minutes at a time. So if you would lines. Different coloured plastic folders like a referral to the Low Vision Service widely available in stationers can be – maybe you have never seen someone used to separate personal documents about a magnifying aid – phone 01234
or bills from other letters. 311555 if you live in North or Mid Beds, Joan O‟Sullivan or phone 01582 655554 if you live in
South Beds or Luton.
Low Vision Services
It‟s a whole year since the Low Vision
Service was transferred from Bedford
hospital, covering people in Mid and
North Beds. One thing we know is that
many people have benefited from Attendance Allowance & having a chat with someone from Sight Disability Living Allowance. Concern about all the different services What are they? that are available. So Sight Concern The two benefits most likely to apply to Bedfordshire is making sure that those people who have a sight difficulty. of you who use the Luton and Essentially they are similar benefits; it Dunstable Hospital can also get this depends on your age, which you should important part of the service. Rachel apply for. Both involve very long Slessor from the Stuart Street Office will complicated forms that seem to want to visit the L&D each Monday to talk with know everything about you, but if you you. During this last year the Bedford are successful you could get ?37 a Low Vision Service has; week (lower rate AA) to spend on taxis ; loaned 297 magnifiers and given or getting someone in to help you. away 64 pairs of anti glare glasses Neither of these benefits is means ; seen nearly everyone within 15 tested: it‟s about the help that you need, minutes of their appointment time rather than the amount of money you
; made appointments within four have in the bank. Sight Concern
weeks Bedfordshire has experienced staff and
; pleased 90% of the people using volunteers who have a high success
the service rate with these benefits. In fact
; gained 124 referrals from GP‟s someone from the Benefits Agency
and Optometrists recently let slip that they had noticed What can you expect from the Low how good Sight Concern Bedfordshire‟s Vision Service – discussion about what success rate is. Part of this is due to you hope to be able to do (read your being persistent, because the system mail or watch TV), advice about using can be very arbitrary: only some are any remaining sight, how task lighting fortunate enough to get it first time. So if
Sight Concern Bedfordshire 5
The Wigmore Church community you cannot read your mail, nor see your
face clearly in the mirror and don‟t go to sent along another ?400.00 contribution new places on your own, do ring for from their Harvest lunch and Christmas further advice. carol collections. Thank you to
everyone for their continuing efforts on Social & Activity Groups our behalf. Councillor Mitchell gave ?50 In Luton, both Tuesday and Wednesday donation from her year as Mayor. groups have had excellent attendances, Donations were received in memory of despite the dreadful weather, members Alice Myerstein, Margery Whiteley,and have been happy to pop in and share John Mansell, who died suddenly and information and a chat. So if you‟re unexpectedly. Wendy Rider had a looking for an outing and a pleasant special birthday and asked for money hour or so contact Luton office and we‟ll for Sight Concern Bedfordshire instead be happy to have you join us too. The of presents (I won‟t tell everyone how Wednesday contact centre in Bedford is old you are Wendy). St Margaret‟s proving busier too. For the socially Church Streatley had a collection of ?65 minded there are three clubs, in Some businesses have collection
Bedford, Biggleswade and Ampthill, and boxes on the counter from which a Bowls club in Bedford which needs regular amounts soon add up: Bedford more people to go along for some fun Arms Pub ?23, Gunns Bakery ?17, The and activity. Ship Inn ?18, The Stores, Dale Road
?21, Allders Opticians Flitwick ?10. Is
there anywhere near you that would
welcome a collecting box? Let us know.
Helpful Shopping Fishermen Catch Funds
We also received ?150 from Due to the energy and efforts of the
Sainsbury‟s to thank us for the efforts of fishermen of the Crown Public House in
Marion Purdy and a group of volunteers Houghton Regis, a fishing competition
who helped shoppers out in the was run in December 2001: Sight
Christmas rush at Bramingham. Thanks Concern Bedfordshire netted a splendid
to Lillian, Maurice & Ann and Peter and ?1,891.35. Thank you to all who
Stephen. participated, the fishermen, staff and
Members and friends friends of The Crown and especially
And especial thanks to all those Craig Slessor and Peter Rowe who set
individual members and friends of Sight it all in motion.
Concern Bedfordshire who sang carols, Mowsbury Golf Club held
dug deep in their pockets, sent along several events during the year and
the proceeds of home collection boxes raised over ?3,600. A big big thank
and as usual showed their generosity you, especially to Tony Mattia for his
and support for our continuing work for enthusiasm and fundraising ability
the blind and partially sighted across The Bedford Singing Circle raised
Bedfordshire & Luton . If we named you ?165 from their Christmas carols, Mr
all we‟d have no space for other news, and Mrs Smither raised ?144.63 also
thank you all. from carol singing.
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We‟ve just heard that Bedford Borough as part of their licence? So if you have a Council will not give Sight Concern Guide dog, and you phone a cab, or Bedfordshire a grant, yet again this year, pick one up from a rank, all drivers must so fundraising becomes even more take you, and cannot charge you any important. extra for cleaning any fur. If you do
have any difficulties, take the number of Abseiling the driver and contact Sight Concern Ever felt like jumping off a tall building – . Bedfordshire
wearing a rope? It‟s called abseiling.
Last year a few adventurous people Countryside
raised several thousand pounds for Link
Sight Concern Bedfordshire and had Transport is always fun (they told me they did!) Well this an issue if you can‟t year you have another opportunity to see. An excellent new take part. It‟s being held in Bedford on service has just been launched in Mid stndMay 21 and 22. It could be a special Beds. designed by local people. The birthday present, or if you are the Link is a new streamlined golden bus, adventurous type or know a man (or which provides a regular service to woman) who can please phone Sight places that other buses don‟t visit Concern Bedfordshire. regularly. The route takes in Dunton,
Eyeworth and Wrestlingworth, the The Arndale Shopping
Saxon Gate swimming pool, Cockayne Centre Do you read braille? If you Hatley (right in the village) Sutton, shop at the Arndale and can read braille Potton, and Everton and Sandy or the shopping centre has produced a Biggleswade railway stations. The bus braille map of the layout and all the has a ramp for wheelchairs and shops for you to use to find your way pushchairs, friendly drivers, new bus around. Please ask at customer care stops, colour contrasted seating, is for this useful tool . linked to trains going to London and school times. The new bus shelters
have solar panels to provide lighting at
night (no heating though), and have
been well planned and thought out.
Fares are a maximum of ?1, and
cheaper for short distances. At present
this is funded by the Councils, but only
for three years, so Use It or Lose It. It
runs early in the morning, late at night and on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Taxis Watch out for the new bus stops which Did you know that all the local are green with a gold stripe. There is a authorities in Luton and Bedfordshire diamond symbol on the side door, are using their discretionary powers to which is meant to help those with poor ensure all taxis must take Guide dogs sight, but it isn‟t that easy to see. Sight
Sight Concern Bedfordshire 7
Concern Bedfordshire has a large print gadgets and equipment for you to try copy of the timetable if you would like a out and other people for you to meet. copy. So if you haven‟t been able to visit Sight
Concern Bedfordshire‟s Resource Day of Disabled people Centres for a while, put these dates into thTuesday 14 May 2002. Bedford your diary.
Borough Council is holding this event to
Accessibility look at lifelong learning opportunities for
Sight Concern Bedfordshire has made people of all ages and with all sorts of
their Bedford premises more accessible disabilities. Planned topics include
(no, not by waving a magic wand and student awards, accessibility,
moving to the town centre). The car volunteering, careers, and the range of
park has been clearly marked out to courses on offer in and around the
make sure there is always clear North of Bedfordshire. Further details
pedestrian space in front of the doors. available shortly, and yes it‟s free of
Large yellow arrows have been painted, charge. Later on in the year there will
leading towards the door, so hopefully be another art competition and
no more getting lost in the car park. In programme of music. I know there are
addition a new front door has been some very talented people out there, so
installed, with clear windows and a why not show off? Contact Julia
bigger, brighter, yellow handle. This lets Ambrose on 221667 (answerphone)
more light into the hallway, and makes
visiting members of the public aware of Action for Blind People the needs of blind and partially sighted Mobile Resource Centre people. Bob Palmer „volunteered‟, and This proved so popular last year, that did a brilliant job, thank you Bob. we have booked it again for the week Bedford Borough have also told us that thbeginning 20 May. Rather than you they will put in a new spongy coming to us, Sight Concern „information surface‟ on the pavement, Bedfordshire is coming to a place near outside the gate, which will inform you you, so this time it will visit the smaller of the entranceway. Thanks to the villages. Borough Access Group and the County
stCouncil for funding these improvements. ; Tuesday 21 May Flitwick in the
morning Ampthill in the afternoon
Enclosed with your newsletter this near the town centres
quarter is an introduction to The ; Leighton Buzzard all day on the
National Service Framework of Care Market Square on Wednesday ndStandards for Older People produced 22
for you on behalf of the Bedfordshire ; Sandy am and Biggleswade pm, rdNHS Trust. They really do want to hear Thursday 23 both in the Market
from you. Squares.
The bus will have Sight Concern
Bedfordshire staff and volunteers willing
and able to assist, a wide range of
Sight Concern Bedfordshire 8
Lottery for Sight Concern Bedfordshire
How many years have you been religiously playing the National Lottery? Probably, like most others, you will use the same numbers each time, ... “Just in case they come up!”
Have they? Have they even “come up” to the extent of returning all, or any, of your stake money? My own household has been spending a minimum of ?4 every week but have little to show for it, other than a collection of stubs (more trees) and presumably, part ownership of the „Millennium Dome‟.
True or not?
Why not divert some of your Millennium Dome Lottery money into a cause closer to home?
stOn 1 January 2002, Sight Concern Bedfordshire unveiled its own lottery, based
on the daily temperatures of six popular holiday cities. To play, you have to select any six numbers between 0 and 9 and compare these with the second number in the daily published temperatures of the six designated cities.
E.g., if you chose “5” for Corfu, then any published temperature for Corfu, ending
with a “5” would be a match … -5, 45, 55, 65, 75, … etc.
All this excitement costs only ?1 per week, draws are daily Monday through Friday and prizes range from ?2 to ?10,000 per day, depending on how many of your numbers match.
Payment is by monthly standing order from your bank – so, if for any reason, you want to
stop playing, just tell your bank!
Why you should bother?
You will be helping Sight Concern Bedfordshire directly and regularly, not funding white elephants. This way, your contribution stays in Bedfordshire for the benefit of people of Bedfordshire! Contact Malcolm on 01234 311555
Sight Concern Bedfordshire
This Newsletter was produced by
Sight Concern Bedfordshire
For further information, to respond to anything in this Newsletter,
or to change from print to tape, braille, disc or e-mail, please
116 Bromham Road 14 Stuart Street
Bedford MK40 2QN Luton LU1 2SL
Tel: 01234 311555 Tel: 01582 655554