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  1. 1. Worthing Society for the Blind Newsletter - August 2009 Index 1 Index / A Big Thank You 2 Chief Executive’s Report 3 Chief Executive’s Report contd 4 CE’s Report contd / The Royal Pavilion, Brighton 5 Exhibition morning / Wellbeing / Guide to Britain 6 Resource Room / Items of interest 7 Clubs and Classes 8 Useful telephone numbers 9 World Sight Day / Theatre Trips / Winners 10 Handyman Service / Handicrafts / Staff Meetings 11 Low Vision Aid Assessments / Did you know 12 Contributions Towards Transport 13 Another side to Frances 14 Dates for your Diary / Diaries / WSB Contact Info A Big Thank You On Saturday 4th July Victor Munro, who many of you know from Socials, was kind enough to hold a ‘musical event’ for us at the clock tower in Worthing. 1
  2. 2. He was joined by our members – some of whom belong to the line dancing class – and our volunteers. The line dancing teacher, Fay led the group in two demonstrations; they were joined by members of the public and a good time was had by all. Once again the weather was very kind to us and the generosity of the good people of Worthing meant we collected a whopping £900.47p. On behalf of everyone in the office, thank you to Victor and our members and volunteers who gave up their time to make the day so successful. Chief Executive’s Report – Summer 2009 The world, and in particular the UK, is coming out of recession if I am to believe recent reports in the Press. I am not sure whether to believe them or not. In last six months we have been bombarded with editorial stating that the end of the world is nigh – instead of in boom, we are into bust! Maybe it is coincidental but, as soon as the spotlight focuses on MPs and their alleged wayward activities, spin seems to move us away from their “comedy of errors” and into the feel-good environment of an economic upturn. I am of the opinion that four weeks of sporadic good news does not an economic recovery make! However, our erstwhile elected members have been sailing close to the wind for many years, without the level of regulation required to ensure public money is spent wisely. The level of regulation that governs the Third Sector, as we are affectionately known, continues to increase year-on- year, wasting time, effort and money. Maybe they should apply some of this regulation to themselves! However, the signs are positive for some degree of economic recovery and although rather flimsy at present have helped to change perspectives. People are looking up rather than down and that is always better. At the Society we have worked hard to weather the storm and there is a general feeling that the worst is over. Unfortunately we must remain prudent because it could be many months before the public feel 2
  3. 3. confident enough to start giving again. Regardless of the current situation we have enjoyed positive help from many local businesses. Nothing can be better than strawberries and cream. Tesco donated all the goodies for our summer fair last month and Members ate their way through a very large pile of strawberries, dripping with cream and sugar. I am positive that your GP would not have approved. The event was like Wimbledon without the tennis but with plenty of unhelpful weather. Waitrose supported us under their Local Charity Scheme where they donate £1000 per month, split amongst three nominated local charities. Those who shopped at the store in Worthing placed their little green tokens in our bin in their hundreds. During the month of June 479 Waitrose shoppers showed their support for the Society and we received a cheque in the sum of £479 from Waitrose - a tremendous help, and an indirect display of appreciation by the general public. It is always good to know that our efforts are well received by those who live and work in the Borough. The funds have been used towards providing a new computer with speaking software and internet access. Chief Executive’s Report – Summer 2009, continued The Government has hit the target again by indicating their wish to alter the Attendance and Disability Living Allowances. Only recently, we reported a rare success story when, following much lobbying, the Government agreed to a higher rate of benefit for those with sight loss. Now it appears that they want to move the goal posts. Please write to your local MP and ask him “what he is doing about the Green Paper that plans to abolish some disability benefits”? I would be interested to know his response because the Society will vigorously fight these plans but we need your help. Bogus street collections, I would like to bring to your attention a potential problem with bogus street collections happening in the area at the moment. There are various companies that are collecting your old clothes, shoes and toys etc. The plastic bags they leave on your door step or through your letterbox mimic bona fide charities asking for help: please be wary of them. They are commercial outfits selling the second hand clothes to other countries and not helping those in need at all! These operators are very crafty and are doing nothing illegal according to Trading Standards – misdirection is not a crime. If you suspect any activity of this type please report it to Trading Standards 3
  4. 4. and maybe we can stop or deter the rogue traders. Today, the second hand clothes market is worth about £700 per tonne hence the large number of bags put through your letterbox each month. Despite our efforts to kerb expenditure across the Society’s operations, the cost of providing transportation continues to climb with fuel prices, insurance and vehicle maintenance rising rapidly. Unfortunately, this means that there will be an increase in donations for Members using the service in the New Year. We will continue to subsidise the vehicles but a more realistic figure is needed if we are to maintain the door-to-door service. Finally, I am pleased report that our new Directors were ratified at the EGM in June. They are now working hard and are very keen to move the Society forward. It was disappointing that, for the first time in the history of the Society, we failed to have sufficient attendance at the first EGM in June and it was re-convened to 30 June. This is your Society and it is important that you play a part in key decisions such as the appointment of Directors. I hope that more of you will attend the AGM in October. Chief Executive’s Report – Summer 2009, continued I have asked the new Directors to write for the bulletin, so you get to know a little more about them. Their articles will appear in future editions and should make interesting reading. John Baker, Chief Executive Officer The Royal Pavilion, Brighton On Friday 19th June we went on our annual Summer Outing, this year to the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Once again we were very lucky with the weather, it was dry and warm but not too hot – perfect! Even the dreaded roadworks didn’t cause us too many problems, at least not on the way there!! On arrival at the Pavilion, our group of vision impaired members, escorts and staff were greeted by two guides who would be taking us on our tactile tour. They were excellent, they took us into the room which is used for civil ceremonies and provided us with a really amusing and informative history of the Pavillion and its past owners! We then had a tour of 4
  5. 5. the dowstairs accommodation; the banqueting room with its incredible chandalier, the kitchen, drawing room and music room to name a few. They were all amazing and surprisingly enough, almost everything in the Pavilion is/was British made even though it looks Asian. After the tour concluded we all retired to the café for cream tea… mmmm!! The scones were beautiful, made on the premises that day especially for us and perfect with strawberry jam and thick cream! Once tea was finished we took a short stroll back to meet the coach for a slightly slower drive home due to roadworks but having had a good afternoon and a gorgeous tea I don’t think many people noticed the delay! And now we move on to planning next year’s trip – we always welcome suggestions so if there’s somewhere not too far away you think would make a perfect destination, please contact Tracy in the office on 01903 235782. Exhibition Morning Thank you to everyone who attended our recent open morning in July, we hope that you found your visit useful. Nearly 40 people came along on the morning and we apologise to those who had to wait a while before being seen by the exhibitors. They were kept very busy! Our next exhibition morning will include demonstrations of hand held magnifiers, and will be held later in the year. Well being afternoons We will shortly be starting fortnightly afternoons concentrating on aids to relaxation. The afternoons will be on alternate Thursdays from 2.00-3.30pm and will include tea and biscuits, transport can be provided for a small charge. The afternoons will include regular relaxation/meditation sessions, guides to positive thinking and general well- being, plus uplifting music and words. We also hope to 5
  6. 6. cover subjects such as healing and alternative approaches to well being. If you are interested in coming along on a regular basis please contact Jayne (01903 210737) who will be running the afternoons. Jayne would also welcome your ideas about things you might like included in these afternoon sessions. Rough Guide to Accessible Britain 2009 The popular new “Rough Guide to Accessible Britain” (Edition 2) is out now. Even better than last year, the 2009 Guide contains: over 175 inspiring ideas for great days out across the UK, a wide range of reviews all by disabled visitors, something for everyone from parks and museums to scenic journeys and more. It’s not available in the shops, so for your copy call 0800 953 7070. Resource Room The resource room is open during our normal office hours. Please feel free to pop in during these times with your queries and to purchase items. If however you would like to view a number of items or discuss various issues or problems relating to your eyesight, an appointment is a good idea, and ensures that the appropriate time is set aside for your visit. To find out more about what the resource room can offer and help you with please contact Jayne on 01903 210737. 2010 DIARIES We are now taking orders for next year’s RNIB, VIP, and Partially Sighted Society diaries. RNIB and VIP diaries are available in pocket and larger sizes. Prices range from approximately £3.50 to £10 depending on size and type. 6
  7. 7. Please contact Jayne in the Resource Room, for details of the different options available and to pre-order your diaries. SECOND HAND EQUIPMENT Quality Second hand items such as electronic video and pocket magnifiers and reading machines are available from Humanware Europe. All their second hand products are inspected and tested by their technicians and include a 6 month warranty. For availability, telephone the Humanware Sales Office on 01933 415600. RNIB CATALOGUES RNIB 2009/2010 catalogues are now available. The Everyday Living and Mobility, Braille and audio catalogues contain many new items and are a good source of information on the large range of equipment available to the blind and partially sighted. Any items may be ordered on your behalf via the Resource Room, which also holds a limited stock of the catalogues. Clubs and classes Don’t forget, we have quite a lot of clubs and classes running – a full list is given below. Some of them may have a waiting list but if you are interested in any of them, or would like more information, please ring the office on 01903 235782. Monday Club - weekly on a Monday for visits to garden Centres, beauty spots etc. Art Class - Monday afternoon’s. Active Vision Group (AVG) - alternate Tuesdays for the more active younger members. (AV) Tuesday Group - alternate Tuesdays for visits to local places of interest. Classical Music - once a month on a Tuesday afternoon. Music With Tony - once a month on a Tuesday afternoon. 7
  8. 8. Exercise Class - twice a month on a Tuesday morning. Tai Chi - every Wednesday morning at 11.30. Line Dancing - once a month on a Wednesday afternoon. Card/Games - once a month on a Wednesday afternoon. Socials - once a month on a Thursday afternoon at Heene Community Centre. Craft Class - alternate Thursdays in the morning. Wellbeing Afternoon - alternate Thursdays in the afternoon. Lunch Club - once a month on a Thursday. Friday Group - fortnightly, on Friday’s for trips out in the bus to local places of interest – garden centres etc. Christmas Party - all eligible members will be invited to attend. Computer Class - one to one tuition. Holidays - we can help make your holiday arrangements. Home Visiting Service - contact Lynne for more information. Outings - all eligible members will be invited to join us on yearly trips to places of interest such as the Bluebell Railway. Reading Group - once a month at Wraysbury. Theatre Trips - regular visits to Worthing theatres. Useful Telephone Numbers WSB Reception 01903 235782 WSB Resource 01903 210737 WSB email Action for Blind People Freephone Helpline: 0800 915 4666 Age Concern Good Neighbours Volunteer Service 01903 8
  9. 9. 600300 01273 Community Partnership Team 268900 Macular Disease Society 0845 241 (helpline) 2041 Neighbourhood Care Alliance (NCA) 01903 538904 RedAssure (previously 01903 Careline) 703103 0303 123 RNIB Helpline (new number) 9999 01903 Sensory Services Team 745331 Sight Care Advisors (Worthing Hospital) 01903 285281 Stop – Junk mail 0845 703 4599 0845 Stop – Nuisance calls 0700707 Voice of Progress (local talking newspaper) 01903 776569 West Sussex County Council 0845 758 1232 Wiltshire Farm Foods (Brighton) 01444 881926 01903 Worthing Shopmobility 820980 9
  10. 10. Worthing Borough Council/Town Hall 01903 239999 01903 WRVS Meals on Wheels 237790 World Sight Day, Thursday 8th October 2009 World Sight Day is an annual event, held on the second Thursday of October. The day focuses attention on the problem of global blindness, did you know that every 5 seconds one person goes blind or that a child goes blind every minute? For our part to help raise awareness, we are planning to hold a lunch ‘Food for Sight’. The lunch will be made of food thought to be beneficial to the eyes and sight. There will also be a raffle and tombola plus a few items available to view from the Resource room. For more information on time and cost etc or to book a place (booking is essential), please call the office on 01903 235782. Theatre Trips Members on the Theatre trip list will have received their first letter regarding forthcoming theatre events. We are sending letters now to allow everyone to receive the information on the same day and make the booking system fairer. We realise some members may have difficulty reading the information so please phone Patricia 10
  11. 11. on 235782 and she will be very happy to read the contents to you. The next letter will be sent out early in October. Winners of the competitions from the May Issue of WSB News are: “Words in a word” winner with a very impressive 112 words was J Lawton, well done to you all though, many of you had found 80 words and above. And the winner of the “sudoku”, drawn at random from all the correct entries (and there was a lot!) was J Pelham. Prizes will be on there way to you both very shortly. HANDYMAN SERVICE Hi everyone. Just a little reminder in case you’ve forgotten about me! I'm still ready, willing (and hopefully) able to do those little jobs that may need doing around your house. Don't go spending out a fortune on getting that leaking tap fixed, an awkward light bulb changed, a sticking lock freed, a chair repaired or a loose cupboard door tightened. We charge a minimum fee of £15 for half an hour’s work plus any materials necessary. Not a lot is it? And I'll try to get you sorted within a day or two. So give me a call, David at the society on 01903 235782. Look forward to hearing from you. The new handicraft class will be starting in September! We would like suggestions for a new name to describe this class. Hopefully we will be attempting some new activities as well the old favourites! If anyone has unwanted or leftover wool and/or material Patricia would be happy to hear from you. 11
  12. 12. Staff Meetings! Each Wednesday morning we hold a staff meeting in the office so that we can all try and keep up to date with what’s going on. These meetings usually start at 9.30am and finish by 10.30am. Could we politely request that you try to avoid phoning us during these times unless you need to cancel transport for that day. After 10.30 it is back to business as usual and we will all be pleased to take your calls. Thank you! LOW VISION AID ASSESSMENTS We have some very good news for our members, which could be a much needed step forward for some of you in terms of getting the most from your sight. As we’re sure you know, all our members come within the category of persons with low vision and are registered either ‘partially sighted’ (6/60 distance vision) or ‘blind’ (3/60 distance vision). It seems that often our members are not offered the opportunity to have a thorough low vision assessment and are left with a somewhat hopeless prospect. It is not an exaggeration to say that low vision sufferers can often improve their sight with the correct advice and low vision aids and that includes those registered as ‘blind’. Optometrists and most opticians do not offer low vision therapy, but they should refer patients who need it to a low vision assessor. However it seems that this service is inadequately represented in some areas. Worthing Society for The Blind is now in a position to offer such a service to its members. After their successful completion of an intensive Low Vision Aid Assessment course, David, one of our full time members of staff and Pat, one of the society members will be providing Low 12
  13. 13. Vision Therapy to those of you who feel it would be beneficial. Anyone interested should contact us on 01903 235782 Did you know…  There are approx 140,000 partially sighted people of working age in the UK, 75% are unemployed.  60% of older blind and partially sighted people never go out on their own.  20% of those over the age of 75 will not have left their home in the last week, or even been in their garden. Contributions towards transport. Despite great efforts to keep running costs down, the economic downturn is having a severe impact on everyone in the Charity sector, including your Society. The effect on the Society resulting from the collapse of the financial sector is a significant loss of donations from the general public and reduced income from our investment portfolio. Continued high fuel prices at the pump and increasing insurance costs have not helped our position. To address these matters before the situation becomes critical and to maintain our services, the Society will be raising the level of contributions paid towards transport by members coming to activities at HQ or Wraysbury to £3.00. This increase will not however take effect until January 1st 2010. 13
  14. 14. Whilst the increase is unfortunate, it represent only the second price rise within the last 4 years and all activities remain heavily subsidised by the Society. Groups that go out and do not come to the centre will be charged depending on distance travelled and the contribution may therefore be more than £3 per person depending on the location of the activity planned, these groups include Monday club, Active Vision, AV Tuesday Group and Friday group. We do regret this course of action but we feel it is a necessary step to ensure we can continue to offer our services to members for many years to come. Another side to Frances, our Headquarters Manager I don’t know if many of you are aware of the hobby that takes over our life during the summer months. We, my husband Steve and I are proud owners of a Goldwing 1500cc cruising motorcycle; I call it my armchair on wheels. It is a big gold beast with an engine size larger than my car! We have had her since 2000 and she is over 20 years old but looks amazing for her age. She hasn’t got a lot of ‘bling’ (shiny accessories) but she is our pride and joy. We have done some fabulous trips over the years, touring England, Ireland, France, Belgium & Holland to name but a few. 14
  15. 15. For our last holiday in June we took the ferry to Calais and made the long journey down to Perpignan in the south of France, stopping off a couple of times en route. In total we travelled over 2000 miles and visited some amazing places. The beauty of the bike is how comfortable the ride is, you can cover quite a few miles without feeling tired or saddle sore! Even riding in the heat is bearable; you only notice it when you stop. Then you can walk about freely not having to carry Frances aboard the anything because the Honda Goldwing panniers can hold all your motorbike gear. It isn’t a cheap hobby by any means, but we do get so much enjoyment from her and when we are out and about we certainly get a lot of admiring glances. Dates for your diaries Mystery Tours will be held on the following dates which are both Wednesdays 26th August and 23rd September Office closed … Bank Holiday Monday 31st August World Sight Day (lunch) … Thursday 8th October Annual General Meeting … Thurs 15th October 15
  16. 16. Please note the AGM will start at 11am Christmas Fayre and Exhibition Morning Friday 4th December Christmas Party … Thursday 10th December Worthing Society for the Blind 75 Richmond Road Worthing BN11 4AQ Tel. 01903 235782 Fax. 01903 212924 Resource room Tel. 01903 210737 Office hours Monday to Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm (answer phone in operation out of hours) - email. Next newsletter due November 2009 Due to space and resources some items in this newsletter may have been edited accordingly. The information it contains was accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of going to print. 16