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Spring 2024

InSight Newsletter: Spring 2024

InSight: Spring 2024

Welcome to InSight, Visibility Scotland’s twice-yearly newsletter. Our spring 2024 issue includes news, hints and tips, fundraising and future events. We hope you enjoy reading it. An audio version of the newsletter is available at the bottom of the page (five audio tracks in total).

 

Visibility Scotland news

Glasgow residents’ community group

We run a group for visually impaired Glasgow residents every Monday from 10:30 AM to 12 PM from our Queen’s Crescent office. The group enjoys crafting and growing together. If you would like to take part, then contact us via the methods listed on the back page.

Three people sit knitting at a table full of brightly coloured yarn

Photo of three community group members knitting

 

Welfare Rights

Did you know that Deafblind Scotland provides free welfare rights advice every two weeks as part of our Tuesday Charged Up Café at our Glasgow headquarters?

 

The Deafblind Scotland Welfare Rights Team is available between 10 AM to 1 PM to provide advice, information and support with benefits, maximising income, and awareness raising.

 

You can make an appointment to come and meet with Helen or Dawn to discuss any needs that you may have. You can also drop in to speak to them without an appointment. If you cannot make it to our premises, they can arrange to meet with you at home.

 

Movement and mindfulness

Fancy taking part in our chair-based movement and mindfulness class? Kirsteen from New Rhythms for Glasgow will help you wake up for the weekend with positive energy movement and some mindfulness at the end of the session.

 

The sessions run every other Friday from 11 AM to 12:30 PM at 2 Queen’s Crescent, Glasgow, G4 9BW. Please call ahead to book, as places are limited. See the back page for contact details.

 

Our new team members

We’ve welcomed some new members of staff since our last newsletter! Here’s what they had to say about joining Visibility Scotland.

 

August (Admin): I joined the Visibility Scotland team in January of 2024. My role is to provide administrative support to the team and to function as the first point of contact for service users. Please feel free to stop by and say hello if you visit!

 

Lee-Ann (Patient Support): I’ve been working as a Patient Support Worker at St John’s Hospital since September. I offer practical and emotional support to anyone affected by sight loss, both face-to-face and by telephone. I really enjoy my role. Meeting people and helping them is very rewarding.

 

Visibility Scotland Training Courses

Our Visual Impairment course is open to anyone wanting to enhance their understanding of various eye conditions. The course includes video illustrations portraying real-world scenarios of conditions like Macular Degeneration.

 

Our Inclusive Communication training focuses on proper formatting techniques for documents, emails, and social media platforms to ensure compatibility with assistive technology.

 

We have hosted seven sessions with a total of 62 participants from a wide range of organisations.

 

Quotes about the training:

“I really enjoyed finding out about different conditions. Getting to experience how people with visual impairment see with their condition.”

 

“What I enjoyed most was understanding Inclusive communications guidelines and how to make my emails accessible for my colleagues in the office.”

Groups of people sitting around tables taking part in a quiz on Visual Impairments A person in a blindfold being guided by another person.

The left photo shows people sitting around tables doing a visual impairment quiz.

The right photo shows a woman wearing a sleep shade being guided down a street.

 

Right to Dream update

The Right to Dream project delivers training on human rights. It had a busy winter, with many organisations receiving the training. The project also trains visually impaired individuals.

 

It tells them about their human rights and what to do if they think their rights are not being upheld.

 

Quotes about the Right to Dream training:

“I did not know it was against the law to deny Guide Dogs entry into a restaurant or taxi and that the only legal reason is having is health related”.

Photo of Adam, our Training and Development Worker, sitting in front of the Right to Dream presentation which is being delivered to Sense Scotland staff. Next to Adam are his two colleagues from the project.

Photo of Adam Lodge, Visibility Scotland Training Development Worker, and two colleagues from the Right to Dream project at a training day for Sense Scotland.

 

If you are interested in any of our training courses, then please contact us using any of the methods listed on the back page.

 

A to Z of hints and tips

Colin from Dumfries shares his top tips for living with sight loss:

 

Magnification: When using a handheld magnifier, move the magnifier up to the eye and then bring the page towards the eye. Electronic magnifiers allow you to set the magnification level.

 

Playing Cards: Large-sized playing cards are available.

 

Focus on fundraising

Glasgow Kiltwalk

The Glasgow Kiltwalk takes place on Sunday, 28th April. The event offers three different walk lengths which are called Mighty Stride (23 miles), The Big Stroll (14 miles), and Wee Wander (3 miles).

 

If you are interested in walking on behalf of Visibility Scotland, please contact us by any of the methods listed on the back page. We can also provide t-shirts to people walking on our behalf!

 

Over to you

Roy’s Story

Amateur astronomer Roy thought he would have to give up star gazing after acquiring a visual impairment at a young age. But thanks to advice and equipment from Visibility Scotland, Roy not only rekindled his lifelong hobby, but rediscovered his confidence.

Photo of Roy sitting at his desk with his digital magnifier in front of him showing a map of the stars. He is smiling.

Photo of Roy with his digital magnifier showing a star chart.

Roy had been interested in astronomy since childhood. His work made it as far as the control centres at NASA and graced the pages of Practical Astronomer magazine.

 

Roy explained: “I was part of the International Meteor Organisation, tracking comets and meteorites. I noticed that there was a significant shower scheduled at the same time as a NASA launch over in the US.  This was potentially dangerous, but our research got in front of the right people, and their planned launch was delayed.”

 

When his eyesight changed suddenly and significantly, Roy feared he would have to give up on this passion.  But with the use of a large digital magnifier, he is able to invert the colours and magnify to a degree where he can read star charts.

 

He said: “I’ve used the magnifier to repair watches and replace batteries, to keep on top of my mail and also to get back into astronomy. It’s increased my independence massively. I may not be able to see the same things I used to in the night sky, but I can research and read about it. I’ve started writing again and hope to publish a book next year.”

 

Recipe – Buttery Shortbread Biscuits

James, our ‘Charged Up’ Café cook, shares his sister’s shortbread recipe, which he states is the best he’s ever had!

A close-up of several shortbread biscuits on a white patterned plate

Shortbread biscuits sitting on a plate

Ingredients

225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

110g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

110g cornflour

Pinch of salt

 

Method

Lightly butter 2 baking trays. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together with a whisk or wooden spoon.

 

Sift in the flour and the pinch of salt, then mix together until smooth. Dust your work surface with some of the extra flour, then tip the mix out and knead lightly by hand into a soft dough.

 

Place the dough in between two sheets of baking paper and roll to a thickness of 1cm. Transfer the dough to the work surface and prick all over with a fork, then cut into biscuit shapes of your choice.

 

Place the biscuit shapes on your trays and chill for 30-40 mins. This gives the finished shortbread the right texture. Preheat the oven to 170C whilst you chill the shapes.

 

Bake the shortbreads for 20 minutes until just golden brown at the edges. Take them from the oven and let them rest for 5 mins. Tip them onto a wire rack and dust them with sugar. Leave to cool and enjoy.

 

Staff Spotlight: Jeni’s Journey at GCU

Back in our spring 2023 edition, Jeni Queen, our Trainee Visual Rehabilitation Specialist, gave us her thoughts on embarking on the Low Vision Rehabilitation course at Glasgow Caledonian University.

 

Jeni has now finished her studies, so we thought it would be nice to check in again with her to see what her experience had been like. Here’s what Jeni has to say:

 

‘When I first took on the role of Trainee Visual Rehabilitation Specialist, one of the most daunting aspects was completing the rehabilitation course at Glasgow Caledonian University. I don’t mind admitting I was nervous at the thought. However, when I met my fellow students on the first day, it was comforting to realise that we were all in the same position.

 

Our tutors were experienced Visual Rehabilitation Specialists who brought real-life scenarios into play and helped answer any questions we had. We also had mentors, and our service users acted as another tier of experts. I will let you into a secret: I learned as much from my service users as I did from the experts in the field.

 

The students also set up a WhatsApp group, which allowed us to bounce off each other. This is something we continue to do. As a result of the course, there are nineteen soon-to-be qualified and much-needed workers who share contacts, information, and tips, which is invaluable.

 

The course itself was a good balance of tutoring and practical learning. We were out on the streets of Glasgow, under sleep shade, teaching each other long cane technique, learning how to explain routes, and on one occasion, utilising the escalators in John Lewis for training, which sent the staff into a slight panic!

 

I continued to work in West Lothian supporting our service users while doing the course. You can often find me at the Livingston Shopping Centre teaching long cane skills on buses, stairs, escalators, or general orientation.

 

I have loved the last year and being a student. Maybe not so much the exams, though as stressful as they were, the feeling of achievement made it all worthwhile. I am now looking forward to ditching the ‘Trainee’ tag and donning the graduation cap and robes!’

Visibility Scotland staff members Jeni and Audrey stand next to each other. Jeni is teaching use of the long cane.

Photo of Jeni and Audrey. Jeni is teaching long cane.

 

How you can help

Visibility Scotland is a national charity. We support anyone living with a visual impairment across Scotland. Last year we supported 3,189 people. We want to do more, but we need your help! Every donation, big or small, helps us provide our life-changing support services.

 

Donate today:

By phone: 0141 332 4632

Online: Donate to Visibility Scotland

Or scan the QR code below:

QR Code for Visibility Scotland's online donation platform called Enthuse

 

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

Email: info@visibilityscotland.org.uk

Glasgow: 0141 332 4632

Edinburgh: 0131 378 1874

Dumfries: 01387 267 131

 

Insight audio version – five tracks in total

Track 1

Track 2

Track 3

Track 4

Track 5

 

 

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