Why Social Groups are Important for Vision Impaired People

Let me tell you how I’ve become involved with East London Vision.  I became a member of the Hackney Vision Impaired group at the beginning of 2018.  I found out about the group through a Hackney-based organisation called Outward, and they referred me to the Low Vision Impairment Forum at Thomas Pocklington Trust, who then referred me on to ELVis.

Before joining ELVis, I felt completely isolated.  After graduating from university, a year ago, I couldn’t find work, so that led me to feel like I wasn’t doing very much and spending most of my time on my own.  It was a really depressing time for me.  When I spoke to Bhavini at ELVis for the very first time, she invited me along to the Hackney VI group, and I literally felt alive and hopeful that I would be back and part of the community again.

I started coming along to the Hackney group in February this year, and ever since then I’ve attended ELVis-supported events like the ten-pin bowling in Stratford, which I enjoyed very much.  The outings mean a lot to me and the rest of the group because it allows us to visit new places that we wouldn’t normally go to because ELVis always does a great job at making sure they’re accessible for vision impaired people, and that’s great!  We also have meetings with guest speakers like Graham from ELVis who gave us a demonstration of the Amazon Alexa and the Google Home speakers.  The group members find these meetings extremely useful because they’re informative and we learn about technology or services that can enhance our independence.

I feel really blessed to be part of the Hackney VI group.  I feel a sense of security knowing that there’s a group where I can meet other people who live with sight loss.  It has helped boost my confidence as I have more things in life to look forward to.  Also, social groups in general are important for vision impaired people because it gives us the opportunity to make new friends, exchange vital information and make a difference in the community.  I hope everyone who reads my blog post and isn’t part of a social group is encouraged to get out there and find one. Alternatively, if you live in Hackney, why not get in touch with East London Vision to sign up with our group.  I hope to meet you very soon!

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Photo of Tolga holding a bowling ball at a ten-pin bowling event with ELVis at Westfield Stratford City.

Written by Tolga, member of the Hackney Vision Impaired Group

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Hassan appreciates the importance of East London Vision’s collaboration with Made in Hackney

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Hello readers

I know you’ve had the pleasure of reading some wonderful blog entries on the topic of corporate partnerships and how vital they are to East London Vision.

I am delighted to report that we continue to establish and strengthen our partnerships with other local charities and organisations. I earnestly believe it would be of benefit to build partnerships with local schools, mosques, churches and other religious establishments in East London as well. This will allow us to best represent the views of people living with sight loss and fingers crossed enable us to find and aid other Vision Impaired people. As you may have read in previous entries from me, I intend on visiting schools and building relationships with community leaders in order to reach younger Vision Impaired people. This will also allow us to fund raise and in return we would then offer Vision Impairment Awareness training to year 4, 5 and 6 pupils. I’m thrilled to report that Marion Richardson and Redlands Schools respectively have agreed to fund raise for East London Vision and we are grateful for their cooperation and support. I’m sure I’ll have a further update for you in my next entry, so watch this space!

Talking of Partnerships, over the last 2 months or so we have worked closely with Made in Hackney who deliver fun, supportive, often life changing courses in local food growing, cooking and composting. They work with local charities, community organisations, housing associations and support groups to ensure their wonderful courses are offered to people most in need, such as low income families, children in care, teen carers, young people excluded from school, parents,  children and people suffering from diet related health problems.

Whilst their classes are mainly focused on tackling food poverty, they understand that cooking is incredibly therapeutic and has a real impact on mental health and self-confidence.

Our members have completed a 6 week course, in which they were taught how to make healthy food from scratch. Whether it was making baked beans or mayonnaise as a team we were quick to learn that it was cheaper and healthier to make your own food rather than purchasing over sweetened or extremely salty foods from the market.

The Made in Hackney team including the lovely volunteers were exceptional, considering they had no previous experience of working with vision impaired people

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The sessions were invaluable to the members. One of our Hackney members admitted: “Loved it! Would have never done this, I haven’t cooked in 8 years until now!”

Another member added:

“Having lost my sight, I never thought I’d be able to cook, let alone use a knife independently.”

Taking the general consensus into account, I’m confident the members would like to do this course again in the New Year and I’m sure the phenomenal Made in Hackney team would welcome us back with open arms and long may this flourishing partnership continue.

You can also find out more about Made in Hackney by visiting their website at: http://www.madeinhackney.org

So before I take my leave, I’d like to share the following quote with you:

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

Mark Twain

Some exciting news from ELVis and an update on 2 Vision Strategy Consultations!

Hi all, it is good to catch up again and today I have 3 things I’d like to share with you.

On Friday the 25th of September Tower Hamlets held a Sight and Information Day.  Various exhibitors attended the event, including: Beyond Barriers, East London Vision, Humanware, to name a few.  It was so nice to see so many people from the local peer support groups supporting this event. People seem to learn, have fun and gain useful information and on the plus side, we managed to register a few more members.:)

Now for the exciting news!

We had a new addition to the ELVis Team who started with us 6th October.  So let us welcome Graham Page, Graham is our Assistive Technology Adviser, it is a pleasure having Graham around.  Also a very warm welcome to Andrew Goodwin (The Volunteer Coordinator) Who will be dedicating some of his precious time to ELVis and I’m happy to say, both Andrew and Graham have settled in extremely well.

Last week there were 2 Vision Strategy consultations that took place. Firstly, Waltham Forest Vision held their AGM and Vision Strategy consultation which was well attended.  Great discussions took place on future priorities, followed by a yummy supper of fish and chips.

And finally the Hackney Vision Strategy consultation, this was well attended too and I’m pleased to report that the event ended with a finger buffet, which gave the members an opportunity to socialise and make new friends.

Have a blessed week.

Chris