“I was stuck at home for 3 years, I am so glad to join Croydon Vision’s community!” PH.


April Newsletter 2020

Clarity in Chaos –  
Adapting to Serve You 

 Dear Members 
We are thinking of you all and hoping our adapted service schedule is meeting your needs at this crucial time. My view is that in the middle of adversity lies opportunities for growth; becoming stronger together 
I am currently working with my team to focus on traction than distraction. There’s no doubt this virus is real, we are in a crisis, however, I am a strong believer that in the midst of chaos lies a turning point for good and I love this quote by Napoleon Hill; 
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. 
So far, the team have galvanised together and reach all members on our database, to reassure each person of business continuity. 
Furthermore, we’ve ascertain current requests from the below services:  

 Information and Advice (Telephone service only) 

General advise as well as support with talking books service 

Personal shopping for members – essential items only   
Lunch Service 
Eat & live well; cooked meal delivered at £5 per take out   


Telephone services to all members and those requiring home visits  


Setting up social networking with family/friends, internet shopping  


Fortnightly newsletter; interactive talking news weekly. 
We are here to support you, keep safe and sane, this too shall pass! 
Susanette Mansour 

Overcoming this Virus –  
Best Practise  

Coronavirus can affect a person’s lungs and airways. For most people, it causes mild symptoms while for others it can be more serious and require hospital treatment.   

The most important things you can do to prevent yourself from getting coronavirus are: 

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds regularly  
  • Keep your distance from crowded places  
  • For the time being   

If you are unfortunate enough to get this virus do not worry but bear in mind the following useful information. If you are suffering from either mild symptom of a high temperature over 37.8c or a new continuous cough.  

  • Call 111 (nhs) 
  • Do not go to your doctor, pharmacy or hospital A&E 
  • Only contact NHS if your condition worsens or if you are still unwell after seven days  

Tips for maintaining general wellbeing and mental health 

  1. Try to keep active; some seated exercises, walking up and down stairs, dancing, fitness dvds, audio fitness. 
  2. Find ways to spend your time keeping your mind stimulated. Maybe try; Reading books/ audio books, cleaning the house or having a clear out, talking to other people.  
  3. Get regular fresh air, you can do this by opening your windows, taking a walk around the block or local park or utilising your garden if you have one.  

Information and Advice  

Welcome to our April Advice and Information service page. Here you will find a range of advice and information relating to visual impairment. We aim to keep you updated with all the latest news.  

During this Crisis period, we’ve collated some useful information for you as well as service update – page 5 & 6  

Revised Extension Numbers 

If you are calling Croydon Vision’s reception you will find that the options have changed due to service adaption as per below: 

1 Information & Advice 

2 Befriending 

4 Volunteering 

5 IT 

8 General Enquires 

If you missed out/cannot press a specific numberyour call will divert to line 8, general enquires. Office hours: Monday to Thursday 9 – 4pm.  

Croydon Voluntary Action is coordinating Croydon’s voluntary and community sector effort to maintain social connections across the borough. They are compiling a directory of services and activities still running (Croydon Vision included) – so please check out https://cvalive.org.uk/coronavirus/ or call 020 8253 7076, 07540 720102 Monday to Friday 10 – 4pm  

RNIB’s helpline (0303 123 9999) remains open on Saturdays  (9am-1pm). In addition to the usual advice and support about anything to do with living with sight loss, their team can offer further support to anyone with sight loss who becomes isolated or is concerned about accessing information, products or services. They are working with public information providers to ensure information is accessible, including image descriptions online. 

ECLO Services  
With all the disruption to Eye Departments all over the UK the RNIB have been working to ensure that all ECLO’s (their own and others) can continue to provide support.  The RNIB ECLO service will be delivered via telephone to ensure people can still access practical and emotional support. Your local ECLO provider is Julia Smythe Mobile:  0771 491 7131Telephone: 0208 401 3000 x5805 

Service Update 

The Information and Advice (I&A) service continues to grow and expand; providing a more bespoke service to members. I&A now supports the outreach service by visiting homes to help complete forms such as Taxi Card and Personal Independence Payment, for members who are housebound.   

Latest News; Benefit Freeze Coming to an end: From April 2020 benefits will go up by 1.7%  

  • Universal Credit will increase from £317.82 to £323.22 a month, for claimants aged 25 or over in receipt of the standard allowance. From £498.89 to £507.37 a month, for couples with a joint claim and where one (or both) partner is aged 25 or over. 
  • Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based) will increase from £73.10 to £74.35 a week, for a single person aged 25 or over, or a lone parent aged 18 or over. 
  • Disability and career benefits are set to increase by 1.7 per cent this year; however, they were not subject to the benefits freeze. 
  • The higher rate of Attendance Allowance is increasing from £87.65 a week to £89.15. 
  • Career’s Allowance will move from £66.15 a week to £67.25. 
  • The weekly rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will also go up by 1.7 per cent. The enhanced PIP daily living rate and the highest rate for DLA will increase from £87.65 a week to £89.15. 

The Information and Advice Officer is available to help and support you, Tuesday – Thursday from 10am until 4pm on 02086882486 ex 1 

John Ebubedike – Information and Advice Officer 

Children and Young People  

I hope everyone is staying safe at the moment. The children and young people’s project has had a very busy month prior to recent events. Previously within the half term week we went back to Dulwich riding school and enhanced our horse riding skillsHorse riding is one of the favourite activities for our young people. This time we also got to make one of our working age members dreams come true as she joined our group, which was incredible to watch. We got a chance to learn new skills including cantering and we were given the opportunities to groom the horses and give them a new hairstyle.   

Another activity we took part in was a trip to see the Broadway musical Wicked! This was a joint trip for the Children and Young Peoples project and the Working Age Project. This was an amazing audio described performance of the renowned west end show exploring how the wicked witch of the west became destined for her future in the famous Wizard of Oz story. We were able to go on a touch tour before being given time for lunch and then viewing the amazing show. We had a chance to travel into London, getting public transport to the Apollo Victoria theatre. It was an amazing show!  

I know right now is uncertain times, however I want the children and young people project to know that we are here to still support you. There will be virtual events going on throughout are closure, such as:   

  • Easter competition (more information to follow) 
  • Virtual interaction (cookery and other activities  via video call or telephone calls) 
  • Emotional Support (one to one befriending) 

These are challenging times especially for young people; please know that I am available to speak to anyone who would like some reassurance. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any support and I look forward connecting virtually with you all and in time, more physical activities in the near future.  

Korey Knight – Children and Young People 

Working Age  

We’ve had some buzzing session as a Working Age Group. One of the highlights from the month’s activities was a session where the group took part in facial and postural yoga. Body Language is so important in the working world, whether it be for an interview, for a meeting or engaging with new people. As well as taking part in the exercises, the group discussed body language; what is considered professional body language and how you can portray yourself in a positive way. 

I am going to share with you one facial exercise, one postural exercise and one breathing exercise, so that you can try them out at home. 

Face exercise to strengthen your face muscles  

  • Put your index fingers across your eyebrows and push lightly down. 
  • While pushing lightly, try to open your eyes at the same time.  

Breathing exercise to keep you calm and collected 

  • Close your right nostril with one finger and take a deep breath in 
  • Close your left nostril and breathe out 
  • Repeat 10 times. 

Postural Exercise – Childs Pose 

  • Start in a kneeling position. 
  • Drop your buttocks toward your heels as you stretch the rest of your body down and forward. 
  • In the fully stretched position, rest your arms in a relaxed position along the floor, rest your stomach comfortably on top of your thighs, and rest your forehead on the mat. 

Resource Centre 

Audio book services 


Calibre is an audio book service that is free to anyone who has difficulty reading print. There are three different formats that you can receive your audio books in, MP3 CD, Memory Stick and Streaming. During the current crisis the MP3 CDs and Memory Sticks are not being posted.   

The streaming service allows you to choose which books you want to listen to – you can do this directly through a web browser or download the books to the calibre app which is available on both apple and android. The books are accessible for 28 days and you then do not need an internet connection to access them.  

If you opt to get your books on a memory stick, or CD they are posted directly to your home, you can either compile a list of books and you will be sent them as they are available, or you can say which categories you like listening to and be surprised with the specific books you receive. You then return them by popping them back in the postbox. There is no charge for postage and unlike libraries there are no late fees.  

You can either manage your account online or over the phone. You can sign up by phoning 01296 432 339 or filling out the webform https://www.calibreaudio.org.uk/join  

RNIB Talking books 

RNIB Talking books is an audio book service that is free to anyone who has difficulty reading print, you can sign up by phoning 0303 123 9999. It works in much the same way as calibre does. If you need assistance in signing up for either of these services please contact the office 

For more information on how to access these platforms please contact Katherine on 02086882486 ex 5 Tuesday – Thursday. 

Katherine Turner – Resource Centre Manager 

Let’s Cook Together 

Here are some of our top tips for cooking at home – remember to always put safety first! 

  1. Organize the kitchen – Group like items together and store cooking products close to where you’ll be using them. Always ensure you store cleaning products separately from foods. 
  2. Be smart about labeling foods. You don’t need to label items that are in distinctive packaging. (If you have similar milk and juice containers in your fridge, put a rubber band on one to tell them apart.) Label different containers that are similar in shape. Use braille or large-print labels and rubber bands, tactile markers on rubber bands, or a Pen Friend. 
  3. Use a tray at your prep area to organise materials and contain spills – anticipate a bit of mess. Take out all ingredients and supplies before starting to cook. A simple method of organizing is to place all your waiting-to-be-used ingredients and equipment on the left side of the tray. Do the actual prep work on the tray. After using an ingredient or piece of equipment, move it to the right side of the tray.  
  4. Don’t be afraid to cook something new – be creative!  
    With good planning and cooking techniques. 

Super Quick Basic Recipe – Funky Jacket Potatoes 

  1. You can use either potatoes or sweet potatoes whichever is your favourite. Poke holes into your potato with a fork. Cook the potato in the oven for 45 minutes or for 5 minutes in the microwave.
  2. Now time for your topping, this is where you can get creative, traditional toppings include; backed beans, tuna and cheese but you can put anything you like on it.  

Over 65s 

Indoor Seated Exercises  

When you are housebound for whatever reason, it can be difficult to get exercise. These gentle sitting exercises will help improve your mobility and prevent falls. Don’t worry if you’ve not done much for a while – these seated exercises are gentle and easy to follow. For these exercises, choose a solid, stable chair that doesn’t have wheels. You should be able to sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at right angles. Avoid chairs with arms, as these will restrict your movement. Build up slowly and aim to gradually increase the repetitions of each exercise over time. Try to do these exercises at least twice a week and combine them with the other routines in this series: 

This stretch is good for posture. 

  1. Sit upright and away from the back of the chair. Pull your shoulders back and down. Extend your arms out to the side.
  2. Gently push your chest forward and up until you feel a stretch across your chest. 

Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat 5 times. 

This stretch will develop and maintain flexibility in the upper back. 

  1. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, cross your arms and reach for your shoulders.
  2. Without moving your hips, turn your upper body to the left as far as is comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds. 
  3. Repeat on the right side. 

Do 5 times on each side. 

This exercise will strengthen hips and thighs, and improve flexibility. 

  1. Sit upright and do not lean on the back of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair.
  2. Lift your left leg with your knee bent as far as is comfortable. Place your foot down with control. 
  3. Repeat with the opposite leg. 

Do 5 lifts with each leg. 

This stretch will improve ankle flexibility and lower the risk of developing a blood clot. 

  1. Sit upright, hold on to the side of the chair and straighten your left leg with your foot off the floor.
  2. With your leg straight and raised, point your toes away from you.
  3. Point your toes back towards you.

Try 2 sets of 5 stretches with each foot. 

This stretch is good for loosening tight neck muscles. 

  1. Sitting upright, look straight ahead and hold your left shoulder down with your right hand.
  2. Slowly tilt your head to the right while holding your shoulder down. 
  3. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hold each stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side. 


Working on the outreach project for the last 6 months has seen a lot of progress and growth. What has been worthwhile are the comments I have received from members who were not aware of the services, on offer such as attending GP and hospital appointments, visiting and befriending as well as reading correspondence.   

Recently I attended several hospital appointments (at Moorfields) with members who were keen to have their voice heard but did not have the confidence to communicate their concerns, being able to advocate and assist these members get their concerns raised has made me really appreciate the uniqueness of this project and my role.  

At this present time the importance of this project and how we support our members is crucial and is a liefline for many. There will be essential services running and Outreach will be at its peak. Thinking positivly this is going to be a personal challenge and opportunity to develop alternative ways of reaching members that were already social isolated to begin with, enhancing how we provide services for them in the future 

Jennifer Smith – Outreach Officer 

I have been visiting local opticians based in Croydon to let them know about Croydon Vision. When I visit an opticians I tell the staff about the wide range of activities and services that we offer. I also explain about the outreach service and who it is for. Most of the opticians have responded very positively and have asked further questions about our services. Quite a few have told me that they have patients who could benefit from the outreach service and will ask them if they want to be referred.   

The aim of visiting opticians and GPs is to promote the work of Croydon Vision and how we can help individual people. While this side of the project is being put on hold for now the other aspects of outreach have become even more important 

Anna Smith – Outreach Officer

Word Puzzle’s   

Puzzle 1  

Find words of 3 letters or more from the following long word. No plurals but verbs with S are allowed! 


Puzzle 2  

Find words of 3 letters and more but each word has to contain the letter stated 

  1. DISAPPEAR  – must contain P in each word 
  2. CARRIAGEWAY – must contain C in each word 
  3. CLARIDGES  – must contain L in each word 
  4. GRADIENTS – must contain G in each word 
  5. RELATIONS – must contain S in each word 

The Croydon Quiz   

  1. What is the flower of Croydon? 
  2. Which expensive spice is produced from the flower of Croydon? 
  3. What is the root of the name Croydon? 
  4. When did Tramlink start running through Croydon? 1998, 2000, 2002 
  5. What was Croydon’s Nickname? 
  6. What is the oldest shop building in Croydon? 
  7. What is the Name of the Cinema in the Clocktower? 
  8. What was the first flat-pack building? 
  9. Which famous dancer ran classes at Fairfield Halls and Penge? 
  10. What was new about the first Sainsbury’s in Croydon? 
  11. When is the first recorded evidence of a market at Surrey Street? 1236, 1544, 1818 
  12. Which famous actress was the theatre in Fairfield halls named after? 
  13. What Star Wars actor lived in Croydon? 
  14. Which Doc Martin Actor was born in Croydon? 
  15. Why did the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit Croydon in September 2012? 


1 Crocus 2 Saffron 3 Crocus Valley 4 2000 5 New Manhattan 6 46 South End (Music Shop) 7 David Lean 8 The Crystal Palace 9 Peggy Spencer 10 It was Self Service 11 1236 12 Peggy Ashcroft 13 David Prowse 14 Martin Clunes 15 After the Riots. 

Just For Fun 

What do you think is the best and worst thing about Croydon? 

Quiz Time

For the quiz this month see how much you know about April! 

  1. Which programme perpetrated the joke that Spaghetti grew on trees? 
  2. What year was the Queen born? 
  3. Which American child star famous for her ringlets was born on the 23rd April?  
  4. What patron saint is celebrated on April 23rd? 
  5. What is the Birthstone for April? 
  6. What are the two Zodiac signs that cover April? 
  7. Which film featured the song ‘Drip, Drip, Drop Little April Showers’? 
  8. What is the national flower of England? 
  9. When was William Shakespeare Born, and when did he die? 
  10. At what time on April Fool’s day can you no longer play April Fool’s Jokes?
  11. What months have the same number of days as April? 
  12. Complete this proverb…March _____ and April ______ bring forth May flowers. 
  13. What fruit was first sold in the UK in April in 1633? Tomatoes, Pineapples or Bananas 
  14. Which flag became official in April 1606? Union Flag, Welsh flag, Scottish Flag 


1 Panorama 2 1926 Shirley Temple St George 5 Diamond 6 Aires and Tauris 7 Bambi 8 Red Rose 9 23rd April 10 Midday 11 June, September and November 12 March winds and April Showers bring forth May flowers 13 Bananas 14 Union Flag 

Just as a bit of fun, we don’t need the answers: How many things can you think of that contain the word April 

That’s Entertainment 

Theatres and any large gathering events have been postponed until further noticed. However, there are a number of streaming apps and sights that you can access to keep you entertained with lots of audio described movies, TV series and music to available. To stream most of these apps you will either need access to a computer, phone or most commonly a smart TV. From your phone, the aps will be available from your app store and on a computer you will be able to download the app via their website or the app store. 

For those who cannot access these apps then you have the good old radio, which you can listen to and of course our Talking News.

We would love to have your input! 

While many things are coming to a halt, the Newsletter will still be carrying on. Please do send in any content or anything that you would like to share.  

Submissions for the April part 2 Newsletter are due in by Wednesday 8th April:newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk  

  • April part 2 Newsletter is due to be dispatched on Wednesday 15th April 
  • May Newsletter is due to be dispatched on Wednesday 29th April

Croydon Vision 
Bedford Hall 72-74 
Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR0 2AR 

020 8688 2486


Charity Number: 1165086 

Apr 1, 2020

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