Newsletter: Summer 2022
Welcome from our CEO
Let me extend a very warm welcome to your new and improved Visibility Scotland newsletter.
I’m delighted to share the good news that service provision has been increased with Covid restrictions coming to an end. Remember that we can offer support to anyone with a visual impairment living in Scotland. If you would like our help, or would just like to discuss your visual impairment with someone, then you can get in contact with us by any of the methods listed in the ‘We are here for you’ section.
As always, I would like to thank all our service users and donors for your continued support of Visibility Scotland. We are a small charity in terms of numbers but our impact is huge. It’s thanks to this continued support that we can provide such a diverse range of services to as many people as we do. From all of us: ‘Thank you!’
Laura Walker, CEO Visibility Scotland
Visibility Scotland news
Support for children aged 0 to 5
Our ‘Little Explorers’ service is here and ready to support children aged 0 to 5 with a visual impairment, and their families, throughout their formative years. If you would like to find out more about this service, please get in touch.
Scotland-wide Positive Outlook courses
We’re delighted to now be offering online Positive Outlook courses to anyone living with a visual impairment across Scotland. These courses provide practical and emotional support and give you the opportunity to meet other people living with sight loss. If you would like to take part in one of our upcoming courses, please get in touch.
Welcome to our new Rehabilitation Officer
We’d like to introduce you to our newest member of staff, Gemma Bromley. Gemma brings a wealth of experience from the visual impairment sector and will be supporting our rehabilitation work throughout West Lothian.
You can find out more about Gemma in her blog post on our website:
Visibility Scotland on TV
Our CEO, Laura Walker, along with visually impaired colleagues, Audrey and Emma, appeared on BBC Reporting Scotland in February. They spoke to reporter Ian Hamilton about the Avenues Project in Glasgow and highlighted some of the issues with the design of the new street layout.
It is important that when an environment is changed that the people who use that space continue to feel safe. We have been told by many people that they now feel ‘unsafe’ when travelling on Sauchiehall Street. You can read a full report on the BBC News website.
Independent living flat
We’re very excited to announce that work is underway on our brand new independent living flat!
The one-bed flat is being built on the ground floor of our head office in Glasgow. Our experienced staff will use the flat to teach everyday household skills to people with sight loss.
In particular, young people will be able to develop the skills and confidence to be independent, as they make the move from living at home to living alone.
The flat is being designed to replicate student accommodation and will include the latest in cutting-edge accessible household appliances.
The skills training will be available to anyone who can travel to our Glasgow office.
Spotlight on ‘EyeCan!’
Hello everyone. I’m Heather Hewitson, Visibility Scotland’s occupational therapist.
My background involves rehabilitating individuals with neurological conditions such as a stroke or brain injury and focusing on any cognitive, physical and sensory impairments. One of my main passions lies in supporting people living with any impairment and/or disability, encouraging them to lead a life of increased quality and independence.
EyeCan! is a six-week self-management programme. It offers a safe and supported environment, allowing people living with a visual impairment to better manage their daily life in the longer term. The focus is on developing a positive mindset. There is no ‘I can’t’ in EyeCan!
During the six weeks, we cover various topics including nutrition and dietary advice from dieticians, reading strategies and assistive technology and increasing self-confidence alongside independent living skills.
There is even some fun to be had with a ‘movement and mindfulness’ session and improving balance through some light exercise. Family members and carers are encouraged to join in the learning experience too.
We have been delighted to see the difference EyeCan! is making to our attendees, and have received some very positive feedback:
“I feel the course is the right mix of information, practical tips and anecdotes and there are plenty of opportunities to ask questions and talk about our own experiences and any issues myself and the other people are facing”.
Anyone with sight loss living in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area can find out more about our EyeCan! programme by contacting our Glasgow Office.
Right to Dream project
We are delighted to announce that Deafblind Scotland and Visibility Scotland have teamed up to deliver the Right to Dream project, funded by the Scottish Government Equality and Human Rights Fund.
The project will support people living with a sensory impairment to better understand their human rights. Human rights are the universal rights that we are all entitled to, but we know that people may not always be sure what these are, or how they can protect and empower them.
As part of the project, we will be sharing short human rights updates. These updates will be available in accessible formats and will include information about human rights, changes to laws and legislation in Scotland, and upcoming engagement opportunities that people with lived experience could get involved with.
If you would like to receive these short updates or would like to find out more about the Right to Dream project, please get in touch:
Phone: 0141 332 4632.
Good to know
Helpful information from other sight loss services and beyond:
Listening Books offer free memberships to anyone who finds that reading or holding a book is impacted by an illness or disability and who may not be able to afford their normal membership fees (between £20 to £45 per year). Get in touch with them to find out more:
Phone: 020 7407 9417
The Scottish Government has launched the Money Support Scotland campaign for people in Scotland experiencing money worries. Visit their website for information on benefits, managing debt and accessing affordable credit:
Airdrie Coatbridge Visually Impaired Bowling Club (ACVIBC) is looking to welcome adults who are blind or visually impaired and who are interested in trying lawn bowls or who may have given up due to sight loss. ACVIBC play at Airdrie outdoor bowling club on Thursday mornings. Bowling shoes and bowls are provided. From September until April, the club will play at Coatbridge indoor bowling club on Friday mornings. For more information, please contact Sharon Moncrieff on:
Mobile: 07906 329 188 (text, call or WhatsApp)
LEAD Scotland have produced information on staying safe online in a variety of accessible formats. If you’d like to find out more about what you can do to stay safe and secure online you can access the information on their website:
Over to you
Pat is 90 years old and lives with a visual impairment, though she hasn’t let that slow her down. Recently she told us all about her favourite hobby; playing tennis.
Having started playing tennis at only 10 years old, she now has 80 years’ experience under her belt! She still plays for an hour twice a week, with her tennis partner. When asked how she finds playing tennis with her macular degeneration, she said:
“Well, frankly I can play a very good game of tennis. I don’t know if you know that I was interviewed on STV news as a 90-year-old tennis player. I remember saying two things: I play it for the friendship but they make no concession to my age or eyesight. They all still try to beat me!”
Pat isn’t just an ace on the tennis court, she also plays golf and bowling. She shared a handy tip for bowling with a visual impairment:
“I get whoever I’m playing with to hold up a white towel behind the jack so I know where I’m aiming.”
Pat believes that social activities are the secret to living a happy, long life:
“If there’s anything available I think people should join because, generally speaking, people are very nice to you. I’ve been an elder of the church for forty years and I see my friends there every week.
Friendships are the secret of a happy life. And getting out in the fresh air, I’m actually sitting in the back garden just now.”
A big ‘thank you’ to Pat for sharing her story.
A to Z: Hints and tips
In the first of a regular series, Colin, one of our sensory inspirers from Dumfries, shares his hints and tips for living with sight loss. Colin’s tips are based on his own experience of living with macular degeneration for 21 years. He hopes you’ll find his tips helpful.
- Electronic, video and handheld magnifiers can all help with reading.
- The Be My Eyes app can connect you with sighted volunteers and specialised help organisations.
- Contact your local Citizen’s Advice for information on benefits.
Aids in the home
- Non-slip cup holders can help avoid spills.
- A Liquid Level Indicator fits over the edge of a cup or mug and beeps when liquid touches it.
- Use a One Cup Kettle to avoid having to pour boiling water.
- Tactile bumpons can be placed on household appliances to mark regularly used settings.
- Alexa can help too!
Ask for assistance
- If you’re shopping and you cannot read prices or labels don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- A pocket magnifier with a light is useful too.
- Grab rails and a non-slip bath mat can help prevent slips and falls.
- Put a band around the shampoo or conditioner to help you tell the difference.
- Use thick black pens so your writing stands out.
- You can apply to your Local Authority to get a National Entitlement Card which allows free travel on buses and trains in Scotland.
Help support Visibility Scotland
We are a national charity and we rely on donations to keep our vital support services running. Any donation, big or small, help us continue to support people living with sight loss across Scotland.
To find out how you can help, please get in touch or donate today using one for the following methods:
Visit our dedicated online donation page:
Call us on 0141 332 4632 to donate over the phone.
Send a cheque to our Glasgow office:
2 Queen’s Crescent
Quiz and competition
- What were the most popular baby names in Scotland in 2021?
- What is the biggest selling album of all time in the UK?
- What is the total number of dots on a pair of dice?
- How many counties does Scotland have?
- What is the main mineral in spinach?
- Which are the 3 most populated Scottish islands?
- What are the 3 most popular flavours of crisps in UK?
- What age is Madonna?
- Which Scottish novel won the 2020 Booker Prize?
- In which species does the male give birth to the offspring?
We would love to hear your ideas for a name for our newsletter!
The creator of the winning name will win one of our grab bags which contain: bumpons, a sharpie pen, a fingerguard, a ruler, an LED reading light and a facemask, all inside a Visibility Scotland canvas bag.
Get in touch with your suggestions; you’ll find our contact details below.
- Isla and Jack
- Queen – Greatest Hits
- Lewis, mainland Shetland, mainland Orkney
- 1. Salt & vinegar, 2. Prawn cocktail and 3. Pickled onion
- Shuggie Bain
We’re here for you
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading our newsletter and would welcome your comments, thoughts, stories and tips. We hope to produce a bi-annual newsletter that is a fun and engaging read for all of our service users.
We would like to finish by saying that Visibility Scotland is here for you. We continued to provide services throughout the past two years, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and we are looking forward to a much brighter future. We hope that you will be part of that journey with us.
If you would like to get in touch to find out more about how we can help, you can contact us using any of the methods listed below.
From all of us at Visibility Scotland, thank you for reading and we hope to see you soon.
How to contact us
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @VisibilityScot
Glasgow: 0141 332 4632
Edinburgh: 0131 378 1874
Dumfries: 01387 267 131