Nicola talks about the wide variety of ELVis services she has been involved with

From swimming to chess to visiting Hindu temples, when I first got this job I didn’t realise just how varied it was going to be. Since I started in this post two and a half months ago, I’ve been able to help facilitate meals out, Christmas parties, several trips including visits the Greenwich Royal Observatory, the Houses of Parliament and the aforementioned Swaminarayan temple, members’ meetings with visits from Living Paintings and from a troop of firefighters, and I’ve been to many other meetings in preparation for planned events such as the swimming and chess sessions mentioned above.  It certainly keeps things interesting!  And of course, one of the best perks of the job is the fact that I get to attend most of these events myself!

The fact that we have been able to support such a variety of activities and events is great for our service users, as it means that we can help to improve the social opportunities for people with a wide range of different interests.  From people who want to get fit to people who are looking for more of a mental workout; from people who want to get creative to people who just want to have a good time.  We have held activities that have appealed to people with interests in anything from history to culture to design to food (and let’s face it, who doesn’t have an interest in food?).  There have been people who are just starting new hobbies to those who are picking up an old skill.  And these hobbies don’t necessarily have to be confined to the hour or two a week our users spend with us.

Take, for example, the chess classes that are going to be starting this Friday (more information on the News section of our website). Once our new users have learnt the basics of the game and practised with the other members of the group, they’ll be able to build up confidence in their own abilities and find that their newfound hobby has turned into a skill that they’ll have for life.  They’ll be able to play against VIPs and sighted people, take part in online games, complete chess puzzles, or even try out a tournament if they’re feeling brave!

We very much hope that the services we provide do help to improve the overall wellbeing for our service users, and a big part of that is offering a variety of different opportunities to them. And of course, we’re always open to suggestions.  So if there’s something we’re not currently offering that you would like to see happening, be sure to let us know and we will see what we can do for you!

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East London Vision (ELVis) is the subgroup for the 7 geographical areas that naturally cover all of east London north of the Thames: • Barking and Dagenham • City and Hackney • Havering • Newham • Redbridge • Tower Hamlets • Waltham Forest. ELVis is designed to provide an effective and efficient way of ensuring that vision impaired people living in East London get the support and services they need. It is an umbrella organisation with voluntary sector, user led representation in each of the east London boroughs. Our vision is that everyone living in East London experiencing, or at risk of, any form of sight loss, receives a high quality service relevant to their need and at a time appropriate for themselves. Our aim is to enhance & link vision impaired services and organisations throughout East London, improving the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people and increasing individual independence.

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