An events update from Chris

I would like to let you know about some of the activities that some groups in East London have been up to and that I have been very lucky to have attended.

The Chess Club for visually impaired people  has been meeting since January this year once a week on a Friday for two hours were people have been learning how to play chess everyone who has attended have found the game interesting, had a great time and have learned what moves different pieces can make, and how to play the game.

I believe we might have some chess champions in the making.  There are so many strategies, tactics and rules that make the game exciting.   You have to try to plan not only your moves but what your opponents moves might be.

At Waltham Forest there are gentle exercise classes taking place, which teaches you to move to music which everyone attending is enjoying and using muscles that they never knew they had.

Beyond Barriers in Tower Hamlets have started to have quiz nights to help the group to raise funds.  The first night was a success where the quiz was challenging and it allowed people to meet and socialise, have a great night out.  Fun was had by all.

A brief update on all things ELVis!

Hello to all you lovely people. This week I’m going to give a short update on what I have been up to over the past few weeks and what’s new in the wondderful world of ELVis. So a part of that involved relaxing in warmer climates, but I won’t bore you with that, feels somewhat cruel considering how cold it is out here.

We held the ELVis Board away day towards the beginning of February, it isn’t as exciting as it sounds!! We started to look at projects for 2016-2017. Thank you to the United Bank of Switzerland in Liverpool Street for hosting us for the day.

Following our previous couple of years success of working with NCS the challenge as part of their summer programme, we met the East London staff team to do it all again this year. We hope to work with them as part of the autumn programme as well this year. We also held interviews for the activities coordinator post and are looking forward to having a new addition to Team ELVis.

Thanks to a grant from FreeSport our “Get Fit For Spring” project started in February. Through the grant we are running  8 week chair based exercise classes in Waltham Forest for vision impaired women and older people who are currently undertaking no physical activities.

We are pleased to report that we have recently received a grant from the Primary Club, which will enable us to deliver our “Young and Intrepid” project. This will involve holding a number of more unusual physical activity days. So if you are a bit of an adrenalin junky like me, this will be right up your street. Huge thanks to the primary club.

Catch you all in a few weeks time.





Vision Impairment Awareness Training in Schools

A colleague of ours, Hassan Khan, is leading an initiative to deliver Vision Impairment awareness training in schools. Fortunately, he is doing this on a pan-London basis, not just in the ELVis region, so I don’t feel I’m stealing his thunder focusing my Blog this time on this fascinating topic.

One of ELVis’s major strands of work over the last 12 months has been to deliver such training to a wide variety of audiences including representatives from: a range of leisure providers, health workers, statutory agencies and voluntary sector groups. It hasn’t been uncommon for people to ask why they aren’t taught about these matters in school, so hopefully this new piece of work will address some of those concerns.

Last Tuesday morning, a mixture of ELVis staff, along with a colleague from Metro Blind Sport, visited Redlands Primary school in Tower Hamlets to deliver awareness training to years 5 and 6 (that’s children aged 9-11 years in old money). Before that though, we spoke with the School Council, which consisted of children of all ages, to explain who we were and what we do. We split the training into 4 sections: drama, sport, sighted guiding and find the object in a box with a blindfold on. I have to say we felt it all went extremely well, but don’t take my word for it. Here is an extract from an Email sent to Hassan by          Niki di Palma, Deputy Head teacher:

“Thanks so much for Tuesday – you and your colleagues did a fantastic job and the feedback from the workshop sessions were overwhelmingly positive! It would be really fantastic if you could return at some time and meet with some of the younger children – perhaps initially years 3 & 4. Children of this age can be a bit silly or giggly about someone who is different from them in some way and I want to break down these barriers.  You and your colleagues were so warm and personable I think you would do a fantastic job of dismantling these barriers. I feel strongly that this could be the start of a very worthwhile relationship.”

The children on the School council also decided that they want to help ELVis in being able to provide support to blind and partially sighted people and have come up with some ingenious fundraising ideas including: A sponsored event to be partially sighted for the day at school (have one eye covered), Play games suitable for visually impaired people during the final hour of the day in school and An after school club to learn Braille.

So, we think we have a win-win formula here and look forward to repeating it across the ELVis region.