InSight Newsletter: spring 2023
Welcome to InSight, Visibility Scotland’s twice-yearly newsletter. Our spring issue features the latest Visibility Scotland news, hints and tips, your stories and another tasty recipe!
We’d love your feedback. Get in touch and let us know what you think of InSight. You’ll find our contact details at the end of the newsletter. An audio version of this newsletter is available at the end of the newsletter.
Visibility Scotland news
Low Vision Rehabilitation course
Our CEO, Laura Walker, was instrumental in reinstating a graduate Low Vision Rehabilitation course in Scotland. We asked our West Lothian rehabilitation worker, Jeni Queen, what it was like to combine studying with work. This is what Jeni had to say:
‘When I first heard of the opportunity to take on the role as a Trainee Visual Rehabilitation Specialist, I jumped at the prospect. However, as I sat in the interview, the thought terrified and excited me in equal measure.
Having not studied in thirty years (I know, thirty!), could I work full time AND study? How do you even study again? Is Tippex still a thing? Will I get a student card? (Here’s hoping). So many questions!
With the course running alongside on-the-job training and shadowing my colleagues while continuing to learn from the service users themselves, it’s certainly not going to be a quiet year, but I’m up for it!
Having attended the University of Life post-school, I am grabbing this amazing opportunity with both hands, jumping in headfirst and keeping my fingers crossed. I hope to have a recognised qualification by the end of the course. In addition, my fellow students and I will have helped create a network of Visual Rehabilitation Specialists throughout Scotland. This can only be a huge positive for the future of the sight loss sector.
Wish me luck!’
Jeni, we are sure that luck will not be required. You will ace it!
Paediatric patient support service
We are delighted to announce that we now offer a paediatric patient support service based at the Ophthalmology clinic at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. The service supports children with visual impairment on the first and third Monday of every month.
Community or home-based support: staff can meet you to demonstrate accessible technology and daily living aids and provide advice on coping strategies and help available locally.
Sensory support sessions: regular, three-week, telephone-based and face-to-face courses, allowing you to meet other visually impaired people living locally. A specialist course is available for people with neurological or stroke-related sight loss.
Our friends, Aarti and Sharon from Freedom and Joy Wellness, have delivered Transformational Coaching to our service users over the last year as part of our EyeCan Programme.
We asked Aarti and Sharon to explain what transformational coaching is and what it can do for you: ‘As coaches, we provide a safe and reflective space for you to share your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and goals. We help you to declutter your mind and to identify steps, set goals and overcome the obstacles in your way. Coaching is so effective because we hold you accountable along the way.
It’s been wonderful to see EyeCan participants come back and reflect on their progress towards their goals and witness first-hand the growth in confidence and self-belief they found.’
If you would like to find out more, please get in touch with us using any of the methods listed at the back of the newsletter.
Charged up cafe
We’re very excited to announce the launch of our new weekly ‘Charged Up’ café, based at our head office in Glasgow.
Why not come along and enjoy some tasty homemade food and a hot drink while charging your electronic devices at our ‘charging zone space’? And best of all, it’s free!
Call the office or see our website for more details. We hope to see you there.
Over to you
This edition’s recipe was kindly provided by one of Visibility Scotland’s service users.
Bob had been a butcher for 45 years until he sustained a head injury and vision loss through MD and Glaucoma. Despite this, he continues to make his own burgers and meatballs, which are better than supermarket quality (we’ve tested them, it’s true!). In the past, he even won awards for creating ‘Ogre’s Eyes’ for a Butcher’s Halloween competition.
Bob is currently walking himself back to health after Long Covid. He is a regular member of the guitar group and was a welcome contributor at a recent Positive Outlook group. Bob also hopes to take part in our EyeCan self-management course.
Bob has a great attitude and is an inspiration to us all. We hope you enjoy cooking and eating Bob’s burgers.
Image ID: Bob wearing glasses and a black and white t-shirt
Recipe: Bob’s Burgers
1.23kg of mince (12-15% fat)
0.125g of Burger 80 Mix
0.190 g water
- Add seasoning to mince and mix well
- Add water and mix well
- Weigh into 142g or 5 oz patties and press into the desired shape
Makes 10 x 5oz burgers. Burger 80 mix, papers to separate, and Burger press are available from WeschenfelderDirect.
A to Z of hints and tips
In our regular series, Colin, one of our sensory inspirers from Dumfries, shares his top tips for living with sight loss:
Door Bell: Have a Wi-Fi doorbell fitted that can be moved from room to room rather than mains operated.
Eye Care: Arrange regular check–ups with an optician or an optometrist.
Food: Use chopping boards with good contrast when preparing food. Plan ahead and get everything from the fridge/freezer at the same time rather than going back and forth. Use plates with good colour contrast to make identifying food on the plate easier.
Focus on fundraising
Eyecare Glasgow 2023 Charity of the Year
We were delighted to be chosen as the Charity of the Year at the Eyecare 2023 conference in Glasgow. Eyecare Glasgow is the biggest conference and free exhibition for the optical industry in Scotland.
As well as being their charity of the year, we delivered well-attended workshops on inclusive communication and the rehabilitation of neurological sight loss.
We managed to raise over £5,000 from the event, which will be used to support our work.
Image ID: members of Visibility Scotland gathered at the Eyecare 2023 conference.
Some brave Visibility Scotland staff and volunteers from Gartnavel’s Ophthalmology department participated in a firewalk to raise money for Visibility Scotland.
A firewalk involves walking barefoot over burning embers at a temperature of 1000 degrees! We psyched ourselves up with a great motivational talk and exercise from our friends at Firewalk Scotland.
The motivational exercise involved placing one end of an arrow on a board, with the arrowhead placed on your throat. Participants were instructed to walk forward and bend the arrow, using the power of positive thinking!
Image ID: Jeni gets ready to bend the arrow shaft
We attracted a good crowd, and everyone was cheering each other on. Everyone successfully walked across the embers and felt inspired and empowered by the end. And we raised over £5,000. Well done, everyone!
Image ID: Walking across the hot embers
Image ID: The Visibility Scotland team celebrating
Fancy donning your trainers and having fun while raising funds for Visibility Scotland? Then Kiltwalk 2023 is the event for you. It takes place in Glasgow on Sunday, 30 April, and in Edinburgh on Sunday, 17 September. You can choose to walk 3, 14 or 23 miles.
If you would like a Visibility Scotland t-shirt to wear on the day, contact us via any of the methods listed on the back page.
Full details of how to register and take part are available on the Kiltwalk website.
How you can help
Visibility Scotland is a national charity. We support anyone living with a visual impairment across Scotland. Last year we supported 3,335 people. We want to do more, but we need your help! Every donation, big or small, helps us provide our life-changing support services.
By phone: 0141 332 4632
Online: Visibility Scotland donr page
Or scan the QR code below:
We’re here for you
Thank you for reading the latest issue of InSight. If you would like to find out more about any of our support services, please get in touch:
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @VisibilityScot
Website: Contact Us page
Glasgow: 0141 332 4632
Edinburgh: 0131 378 1874
Dumfries: 01387 267 131
Insight audio version – four tracks in total