Our Administration and Information Officer Chris Edmead discusses the importance of having Peer Support Groups in East London

Hi all

Just wanted to share with everyone how important Peer Support Groups are and what a great job East London Vision is doing by supporting these groups. I know I might be a bit biased, but I want to share my opinions with you all.

Peer Support Groups help people from feeling isolated, allows people to meet up and have a chat, make friends, helps people to build up their confidence in going out, helps to improve the socialising aspect and also helps with building new skills. Peer Support Groups also help with making vision impaired people become more independent.

This week we had two great days, one going to Southend with one peer support group it was great fun, a day by the beach, the weather was perfect. Lots of different activities took place: fun fair, arcades, the members had fish and chips, buy rocks and fudge. What fun we had, everyone had a great day!

The second one was the East London Vision Sight and Information Day, great to see so many people from the local peer support groups supporting the event. There were cakes and drinks on sale, an auction and various exhibitors including: Waltham Forest Sensory Team, Human Ware, Optelec, Metro Blind Sport, Guide Dogs, Transport for London and of course East London Vision. What a great time was had by all!

Rest of the team have been extremely busy this week too:

Met with staff from Lloyds Banking Group in advance of them volunteering for us.

Held the first East London Vision Sight Information day, where we were supported by Lloyds Banking Group staff as volunteers for the day.

Handed over administration of Redbridge Vision Strategy Group to the Sensory Team.

Attended Stakeholder Group meeting of the Royal College of GPs – regarding the Clinical Priority in Eye Health meeting.

Attended meeting to discuss opportunities to work collaboratively across Barking, Havering and Redbridge with the Vision Strategy Group Chairs.

Attended Southend with Beyond Barriers, it was a really good day out, everyone enjoyed themselves.

Demonstrated the iPhone at the ELVis table, at the Sight and Information Day.

Having provided Vision Impairment Awareness training to the performers, attended the Tether play at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham

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You can now read this week’s excellent entry from our Service Development and Delivery Officer Laura Ross

Hello again everyone, it’s my turn this week to let you know all the things I have been up to on the East London patch, and luckily for me it has been quite an eventful one. Firstly, I would like to say Eid Mubarak to all those who celebrated over the weekend.  This week I have done a lot of work with the Challenge Network in Hackney. For those of you who don’t know about the Challenge Network, they are an organisation who work with groups of 16 – 17 year olds over the summer on various different ‘challenges’. Part of the programme requires getting involved with local communities and we are lucky enough to be working with them in 6 of the 7 boroughs ELVis cover. So this week we worked with the Challenge Network in Hackney over two days wherethe group of young adults met the Hackney Vision Impaired group and had the opportunity to ask them questions, have some Visual Awareness training and gain new skills. I have met with them again today, as they will be putting together a campaign and volunteering with us in September, where we will hopefully have a picnic and some games.

I’ve been helping out with the final preparations of the ELVis Sight and Information Day, or SID as we’ve been calling it, which is on Thursday 23rd of July from 10.00 – 16.00 so hopefully I will get to meet some of you there! I am also pleased to say, that added to the list of stall holders will be ‘Extant’, who have pioneered theatre practice with the express inclusion of visually impaired audiences and performers.

The rest of the Team have also been busy around East London:

Chaired Redbridge Vision Strategy Group meeting.

Presented Vision Strategy to Redbridge Health & Wellbeing Board.

Chaired Team ELVis meeting.

Attended Tower Hamlets CCG Planned Care Board meeting.

Attended LVIF Planning Group meeting.

Attended Hackney Drama Challenge.

Attended the Bulldog Trust’s ‘Get Social & Get Noticed’ Social Media Workshop

Attended VIPON Meeting, very interesting learning all about mystery shopping.

Have a good week:)

Our new intern Richard Hart talks about his experience at ELVis so far

Hi my Name is Richard Hart

I’m a new member of ELVis. I joined the team on 2nd June, on a 6 month contract, working as an intern.

Having worked at ELVis for a month, I can say I’ve had the opportunity to learn new stuff and gain useful experience. Although I am not in my comfort zone as yet, which no doubt will come with time. I have certainly tried to do my best in whatever I have been asked to do, from attending various meeting, working with the local society groups and working on the Newham Talking Newspaper.

Everyone at ELVis and the Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) have been open and friendly, so far my first month has been a great experience. I look forward to whatever comes next! I hope to find out what my line manager has thought of my work so far, when I have my review with her, so wish me luck.

The rest of the ELVis team have had a busy week:

  • Delivered Vision Impairment Awareness training to actors working on a play called Tethered, which they will be showcasing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
  • Met with Outpatient Services at Homerton Hospital to discuss Vision Impairment Awareness Training.
  • Viewed Redbridge Central Library in advance of the volunteering day with NCS the Challenge in September.
  • Attended briefing with Newham CCG who are looking to introduce a Community Ophthalmology Service
  • Attended TPT staff conference, where it was good to meet colleagues from other departments and directives, and gain a sense of the breadth and vision of the charity moving forward.
  • Met with B&D Social services to discuss a targeted eye care campaign over the coming few months in the run up to National Eye Health Week and beyond – aiming to increase uptake of sight tests young low-income residents in B&D.
  • Attended Waltham Forest Management Committee
  • Attended Beyond Barriers Group Meeting it was a good meeting.

Read this week’s brilliant entry from our Operations Manager Masuma Ali

Hello everyone, it is time to check in with you lovely people again and give you an update from me. Though I must say it has come round far too fast, the last few weeks have flown by. It would be wrong of me not to mention how London has been fortunate to be basking in some rather glorious sunshine recently, after all, we Brits are known to start many a conversation on the weather!! The weather forecast takes great pride in telling us when Britain is warmer than countries abroad, so it seems we were hotter than Rio De Janeiro on Tuesday (30 June) and Barcelona on Wednesday (1 July), making it the hottest day of the year so far, and I reckon it will stay that way too, 36.7C is a rarity after all. Don’t panic I’m not about to become a weather forecaster, but I’d say I’m pretty safe in saying temperatures over the weekend will be slightly cooler, but still warm and sunny!

Since my last update I’ve been rather busy working with the ActivEyes Redbridge committee on various matters to try and get some regular activities up and running. I’m please to say that weekly tennis sessions will commence on Wednesday 22 July, 11.00-13.00 at the Redbridge Sports and Leisure Centre, the monthly breakfast club continues to be held on the first Friday of each Month at Snax Cafe, and some possible gentle exercise sessions to start shortly, but further details to be confirmed on this. 24 and 25 August will see the group working with young people from NCS The Challenge for drama based activities at Woodbridge High School. The young people will also carry out a day’s volunteering as part of there Real Challenge Design day on 19 September, where ActivEyes Redbridge members will have a picnic and quiz put together by the young people. I attended the ActivEyes Redbridge meal to the Harvester in June, which was a great afternoon enjoyed by all, you can read the full article on our website.

I also delivered two Vision Impairment Awareness Training sessions to Greenwich Leisure Ltd staff in Hackney, and continue to work on several future programmes to be delivered to various organisations such as Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) and Hackney and Redbridge Library staff. It is great to see the uptake and demand for our Vision Impairment Awareness Training programme by organisations and for them to acknowledge the value and benefit it holds in being able to provide a high quality service to blind and partially sighted people. In advance of Lloyds Banking Group staff volunteering for us at our Sight Information Day event, we will be putting them through their paces with a short sighted guiding workshop on 22 July.

Attending the accessible iPad session at Gants Hill Library as part of Make a Noise in Libraries fortnight, clearly highlighted how many blind and partially sighted people are not making the most of current mainstream technology out there, and the importance of such sessions. We have been fortunate to receive a grant from the Greater London Fund for the Blind for our technology support project, which will allow us to hold sessions of this nature. As well as work with community centres to ensure technology is accessible to blind and partially sighted people.

Staying on the technology theme, we will be holding a Technology session for complete beginners on 6 August, 13.30-16.00 at the ELVis offices, 90 Crownfield Road. This session is part of the RNIB Online Today project, which will deliver training and advice on how to browse the internet and use smartphones, tablets and computers. Spaces are limited, so please book early if you are interested in attending.

Along with Metro blind Sport met with Motivate East to continue working on the bowls project following the success of the taster session held in June. Watch this space for further details. Also as part of the interview panel I assisted in interviewing for the Project Coordinator post for the Collaboration Team for TPT. Congratulations to Hassan Khan who was successfully appointed. Hassan will continue to work with ELVis, SelVis and North London as part of his collaboration role.

With less than 3 weeks left, Final preparations for ELVis’s Sight Information Day are well and truly underway with floor plans in the process of being completed, auction sheets being created, refreshments being stocked up, etc. We look forward to seeing many of you at the event on 23 July 10.00-16.00 at the Epicentre, 41 West Street, E11 4LJ. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of daily living, technical, communication and mobility equipment that is suitable for people experiencing some form of sight loss. Come and meet experts on the day that can provide you with a practical demonstration of equipment on display. Confirmed exhibitors include:

  • ELVis
  • Guide Dogs
  • Humanware
  • Metro Blind Sport
  • Optelec
  • RNIB Reading Options
  • Transport for London
  • Waltham Forest Sensory Team

Also for those of you, who like me have a sweet tooth, we will have light refreshments on sale including some rather delicious cakes. You’ll know where to find me then!! a tombola and auction will help raise funds and there will be various giveaways too.

All funds raised will be match funded by Lloyds Banking Group, up to the value of £500.

Have a great weekend all, stay cool, and I’ll be back before you know it, but it only seems right to end with a summer joke:

Q: What did the air conditioning say to the man?

A: I’m your biggest fan.