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


May 2020 Newsletter

Don’t Quit!

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892)


Covid-19 has put huge strain on charities such as Croydon Vision, our service adaption increaseing cost with limited abiiity to fundraise. We have galvanised like never before to provide services at a time like this.

Here at Croydon Vision we think outside the box and proactivly look for ways in which we can create fundraising opportunities. With this is mind Croydon Vision is taking part in its own 2.6 challenge. From Sunday the 26th April throughh until Sunday 3rd May we will be fundraising for Croydon Vision and we are encouraging you all to join in.

The concept of the 2.6 challenge is that you combine the numbers 2 and 6 in some way and complete a challenge the timeframe. Here are a few examples you could try;

  • Walking – 2.6 miles or 26 miles
  • Running – 2.6 miles or 26 miles
  • Do 26 press-ups a day for the week
  • Eat 26 cookies!

We are aiming to raise £3,500. This money will contrubute to our freshly cooked meals, covering food and delivery costs and it will give us an opportunity to deliver our hot meals for free to our most vunerable members. This is a volitle time making it difficult to access hot meals and for different reasons the funds to pay for them. This service is a lifeline to our members at Croydon Vision and we are currently running it at a loss.

As of the 29th April we have raised £1,971 so far and happy to inform you that from the 1st May we will be offering meals to our members for free. Members will be eligble for 1 free meal a day, Monday – Thursday, with any additional meal at the usual £5 cost.

However, you choose to get involved, spread the word and help us to raise above and beyond our fundraising target. The following link will take you to our just giving page where you can donate and share the link to friends and family who can afford to donate. The link can be found on our twitter and Facebook as well.


Children And Young People

Hi everyone! Hope you are all keeping well during this time! What an exciting time for the Children and Young people of Croydon Vision. We have been working hard on challenges and competitions all month. I can now announce to you the Easter competition winners. We challenged our young members to create anything at home that is easter related. Thank you and well done to everyone who took part all the entries were fantastic. The winners were decided by some of our staff members on Tuesday 21st April. It was a joint decision and the entries were all anonymous. Without further ado in reverse order we have the winners:

In third place we had Ty Knight, Ty created an Easter bunny cupcake! This was a cupcake with white icing made to look like a bunny’s face with whiskers made out of silver glitter and a nose made of pink icing. The cupcake has 2 silver chocolate balls which are used to make eyes and then there are two ears made out of icing that are propped up! It looks very yummy.

In second place we had Ellie Paddick who made an Easter garden titled ‘Mr and Mrs Chick’. Ellie used a rectangular shape of green felt which had a nest made of shredded pink and white paper. Inside the garden are two white eggs one with pink hair and features and the other with blue. Around the nest were 2 green handles made out of green pipe cleaners and pom poms.

In first place we had Holly Paddick who made an Easter basket. This was Holly’s first time at sewing she used a wooden template of a basket to create an amazing picture of a colourful basket made out of different coloured thread. Well done to Holly you did an amazing job!

I would like to say well done to the children and young people project they have adapted so well to the new structure. We have been having weekly zoom sessions and this takes a lot of courage as some of our members haven’t met one another before, our age range goes from 4 to 14. This is a big age gap and can sometimes be daunting but it is amazing to see courage and confidence being built up every week. A big welcome to our new members- over the past 2 weeks we have had 4 new sign ups. So welcome to the group and we look forward to meeting you when we open our services again!

Korey Knight – Children and Young People

Information and Advice

Hello everybody its Danielle here. One of the good things to come out of the current situation we find ourselves in during the pandemic of Covid19 is that many more organisations are moving away from paper resources to get things done. This means that there are still many I&A questions that can still be answered with the use of remote assistance and many more problems that can be solved than we may have initially expected. Moving away from paper resources will also become useful once we can return to Croydon Vision making our I&A service much more efficient.


The current situation with benefits applications reflects this. It is possible to apply for universal credit online and It is possible to apply for Personal Independence Payment via phone. Although I cannot make a phone call on your behalf to apply for personal independence payment, I am able to discuss with you the things that you will need to think about and take into account when you call to make your application. Unfortunately, I am currently unable to fill in paper forms for you due to my own visual impairment, but I am able to signpost you to someone who can.

Member Support

This month, a member contacted me as they were having difficulties getting money out of their bank account due to only having a book and not a cash card.

I advised the member to phone their bank and apply for telephone and internet banking so that they could access their money. The member took on my advice and has been successful, they are now awaiting the delivery of security details to log in. The member was extremely happy that there was safe way in which they could access their account.

If you need support during the lockdown period, please do call or email info@croydonvision.org.uk  and I will do everything that I can to support you.

Danielle Cleary – Information and Advice Officer

Working age

The Working Age Group is continuing to run its weekly social group  remotly through conference calling. The conference call requires one ro converse by phone making it an activity that most can get involved with, breaking down technological barriers some members may face. The group call offers a positive space where the members can continue to socialise and work together and independently; towards their goals.

This month one of our focus’s has been goal setting. Members have been challenged to set themselves goals and targets to achieve before the end of lockdown. One example; a member’s goal is to improve their English lanugage writing skills. He is planning to do this by accesing sample letters and stories via the internet and focusing on different aspects of the sample piece each time such as layout, grammer and spelling. He is also considering starting an online english grammer course to further enhance his written language skills.

This brings us onto the other key focus of the month which is how members can use this time to enhance their education and skills via online learning platforms. The group has been sharing learning ideas and various of course ideas. Two of our members have already began their learning journey with one starting a social media course and another starting a course on positive thinking. In the next addition of the newsletter, we will be following up with these members and sharing their learning journey with you.

The way that the social group has adapted and continued is so very important as it reduces social isolation and keeps the members of the working age group focused on their goals and to not get too overwhelmed by current circumstances.

‘The group has given me some sense of a normal routine and is a great way for me to continue to achieve my goals and engae my brain.’ Working Age Member

Danielle Cleary – I&A Officer

Outreach – Befriending

During this crisis our outreach service has been buisier and needed more ever.

‘The outreach officers have adapted services and staff and volunteers have been befriending our members over the phone. This has been crucial in helping to relieve and prevent isolation during this time. It has also allowed us to check in with members and see whether members require any support and if so signpost and refer.

Amoungst others I have befriended Georgina who was feeling lonely and isolated. I have been phoning her twice a week. Georgina looks forward to the phone call as it relieves her isolation which in turn lifts her mood. We have talked about what she can so to occupy her day, such as listening to audio books and trying out new authors. I have assured Georgina that I will visit her when it is safe to do so – something that we are both looking forward to.’

Anna Smith – Outreach Officer

‘During lockdown, I have not been able to drive Croydon Vision minibuses. Instead, amongst other things I have taken up a befriending role where I have been ringing around and asking members how they are coping and what they are doing to get through this time. Boring and fed up and miserable came up a lot in the first week and I thought this is tougher than driving a minibus!

Then the conversations changed and people started to tell me how they were getting through the days. I listen to my talking book one told me, I love a good story, I sing along to the songs on the radio said another, singing and a bit of a dance too it makes me feel happy, I’ve been taking a walk in the garden every day one chap said and I’ve pulled a few weeds out too. I’m never off the phone someone told me, I talk to more people now than I ever did before the lockdown. One by one, call by call our members told me just how strong they are and then one lady was very clear ‘what gets me through my day is knowing I’m going to be back at Croydon Vision again very soon, I’ll soak up the lovely atmosphere and give all my friends a great big hug!

Mike Jones – Driver and Member Support

Resource Centre

Technical Support

IT support is still available from Croydon Vision, both over the phone and with some home visits where necessary.

IT Support from Croydon Vision

A member enquired about how to use specific  website on his computer, he wanted to understand how to cook food he had pre-ordered rather than phoning someone every time he wanted to cook. Using software, and the phone, I was able to connect remotly and share his screen and together we worked out the best method for him to navigate this specific website.

He has been given indtructions to practice on and keep the learning momentum. Since then he has saved all the cooking instructions for vegetables to his computer, making it easy to look them up. Furthermore, he now navigates the website by himself and independently cooks.

IT Support in the Home

I went to visit our member Lauren who required assistance with setting up his new Alexa device, Alexa is an essential way in which lauren can listen to music and find out facts amoungst other things. Whilst I was there I also managed to update his phone to protect him from potential security risks.When I visited I connected his Alexa to the WiFi and made sure it was accessible to him, setting up the sounds when starting and ending requests.

Following the set up I demonstrated how to use Alexa, making sure that Lauren was asking Alexa questions himself and familiarised with the gadget. The following day, Lauren joined a group call informing everyone about his experience of learning Alexa and how he has grasped a basic level of understanding. Lauren looks forward to learing how to do more in time.

Katherine Turner – Resource Centre Manager

Getting to Know the Cane

A white cane is a symbol to indicate to others that you are visually imapired and may need extra assistance. There are 3 main types; the symbol cane, the guide cane and the long cane. The symbol cane is to show others you may need more help. The guide can is more substantial and you can use it to gage some edges of steps. The long cane is used to assist you with finding obsticles and the edges of steps as it is in continuous or near continuous contact with the ground. You need to have mobility training before using any type of cane so that you get the correct cane and can make the most use out of it.

Some people have personal names for their canes. I was speaking to a friend who is visual impaired like myself, he informed me that he called his cane a magic stick. I have to admit that this was the first time, that I heard the white cane be described as magical.  I asked him why did he call his cane this, he replyed ‘Well Maxine im glad you asked. People magically move out of your way when they see this cane, you can get a seat on public transport including the perks of first class and people sunddenly become aware of your sight loss’

Although the white can be an incredible useful tool, we still need to spread the awarness of what it stands for. This is something that we are helping to address with our living with sight loss courses and community engaement, which everyone can be a part of, just by talking about it to a member of public. I have taken part in various of community events and have showcased my cane each time. Croydon Vision has also incorporated the cane into our guide training programmes which we deliver to volunteers, school groups and local businesses

Since I started to use a cane, (2 years ago) my life has not changed dramatically but the white cane has been very useful tool that I would struggle to live without. It has helped me to navigate stairs and I have avoided tripping on pavements.

Maxine Plowden – Member and Volunteer

Achieving Something New

At the start of the year, Croydon Vision came up with 4 themes to run throughout 2020 to improve members wellbeing and engagement.

Our first theme was Health and Wellbeing. During this time, we introduced healthier snacks to the groups, participated in a swimathon and encouraged members to get active.

We are into our second theme of 2020, which is Fundraising. While the current situation has affected our fundraising plans, we have endeavoured to challenge ourselves to find alternative ways in which we can fundraise. As you read earlier (see P3), we have started this by taking part in the 2.6 challenge. We also have some new fundraising volunteering opportunities in which people can get involved with.

While this is currently our main theme, we have decided to continue our Health and Wellbeing; we believe during this time it is more important than ever to take care of yourself and others. Before isolation began, we challenged members and volunteers to set themselves goals and experiences to accomplish before the end of the year. We are now ready to focus on these again. In May part 2 newsletter we will be sharing with you what goals have been set and throughout the year we will be catching up with individuals and seeing how they are getting on.

Here are examples of some of goals, hoping this will inspire you to join in with our challenge and set your own goals.

‘To become fit enough to run the Croydon 10k representing Croydon Vision in October’ Fay – Volunteer Coordinator

‘To become fluent in French by the end of the year’ Natasha – Office Manager

To be running lifestyle courses for the visually impaired within 3 months after isolation has ended’ Jennifer – Outreach Officer

If you would like to get involved with our goals/experience setting, please contact Natasha via email or phone. Info@croydonvision.org.uk

Facebook event

On Thursday 16th April, Croydon Vision hosted our first Facebook Live event. We held a Bake and talk tech session. Isatu was in the kitchen here at Bedford hall cooking up a storm – well baking beautiful cupcakes! Whilst the cupcakes were in the oven, we had a tech session with Katherine, where she explained some useful kitchen items that were available from the resource centre including; The liquid level indicator, pen friend, talking measuring scales and non-spill mug.

Member Feedback: ‘Could you please post a cup-cake to me! I’m going to volunteer in the kitchen when lock down finishes’ Glen Brazier – Volunteer

On Thursday 23rd April, it was time for Croydon Vision to host its second Facebook live event. This time we were joined by our Trustee Odette who delighted audiences with a fully interactive fitness session in which members took part. After a great workout, it was quiz time, hosted by Fay and Katherine. The quiz lasted 4 rounds with categories including; Music, TV/Film, nursery rhymes, finishing with a general knowledge round. The quiz proved challenging and definitely got members brains working.

Member Feedback:

‘I found the quiz very fun and very thought provoking, covering many years of history taking me back a few years’ Bob Horne – Member

Upcoming Facebook Events

Thursday 30th April

Join us as we get crafty with our Arts tutor Masha as she teaches us how to make a garland to decorate your house. The second half of our programme will be a Q&A session with our information and advice officer Danielle Cleary. Please send you questions to info@croydonvision.org.uk

Thusday 7th MayJoin us in the kitchen where we will be with Isatu again and she will be teaching us how to make a mince based dish whilst its cooking we will be discussing our favourite books and authors.

Our Facebook live events start from 1pm each Thursday. If you need any help setting up or accessing Facebook please give the office a call and Katheirne can assit you.

My Guide Dog Journey – Part 2

It’s time for the second part of my guide dog journey, time for a quick recap. In last months newsletter, I had passed the first first two stages of the assessment process but had been told that my flat at the time was too small for a dog.

Around the same time of being told this I applied to Croydon council for sheltered housing and with a supportive letter from the Guide Dog Association (GDA), I was accepted onto the waiting list. I was able to move into my new home quite quickly and after a visit from Becca, one of the dog trainers, the flat was deemed suitable. I was allowed to progress to the residential assessment stage.

At this stage I found myself with three other people in the centre of Euston, near the GDA’s London Offices. We stayed at the Premier Inn, the first thing we did when we arrived was to find our rooms and settle in. After a talk to explain what was going to happen over the next 24 hours we were introduced to our first dog. My dog was called Purdy and she was a golden Labrador. During the afternoon we went for our first ‘guide dog’ walk. The dogs accompanied us for our evening meal before going for a night walk. The dogs stayed in our rooms overnight and were taken to breakfast the next morning. After breakfast we said goodbye to our first dog and met our second dog. We then went on our third walk. Finally the staff gave us feedback before letting us set off for home.

During the assessment we were shown how to do some of the day to day care of the dog such as feeding and spending (going to the toilet). This allowed us to think about how a guide dog would fit into our lives. The residential assessment was a very enjoyable experience

I am very pleased to report that I have now been accepted onto the waiting list to receive a guide dog, so watch this space.

If any member or volunteer wants to ask further questions, please get in touch with me on my work mobile 07458 301 485 and we can have a chat. The guide dog website is also full of information www.guidedogs.org.uk and you can call their general helpline for advice and information 0118 983 5555

Coping in Crisis – Part 2

Hi, everyone Mike here, it is now day 20 something of lockdown, I’m saying 20 something because I forget just how many days it’s been since isolation began, I don’t like war terms but I guess we are in a kind of passive combat with this invisible invader. We will overcome this, that is certain but it will take time and a lot of patience.

With my lockdown memory loss, I almost forgot one of the greatest weapons in my armchair arsenal to listen away the isolation blues.  ‘Music’ It slipped away from me for a couple of weeks but now I include it in my routine every day, you can too it’s easy. For instance, if you don’t feel like being up with the larks then don’t, just gently ascend with them with the help of Vaughn Williams. If your frustrated you can’t go to the gym for a workout, then chill out with a couple of Gymnopede’s from Satie. In those moments when don’t feel as strong as you would like then use Elgars Nimrod to strengthen your resolve! When sleep escapes you perhaps Debussy’s Clair de Lune can sooth you into the land of nod!

One of my tuneful weapons of choice is Nina Simone singing ‘My baby just cares for me’ because she sings it so sweet and soulful that it never fails to bring a smile to my face and set my feet tapping. But if  you need a ‘Whole lotta Rosie’ then music has it, if your missing a ‘Waterloo Sunset’ it’s there or if ‘All you need is Love’ to get you through this then switch on your CD, iPad , record player, MP3 and start listening because in these Corona times music has your back or your Bach or even your Bacharach!

Mike Jones – Driver and Member Support

Music Appreciation

People use music in different ways, some to express themselves other for relaxation whilst some as motivation to get active and start the day.

In May our Making Music Together group will be going viral with a biweekly group phone call session.  All you need is access to a telephone. To get involved please contact us at the office.


Volunteering has never been more important in the UK than it is now. So many people are helping out in different ways whether is be helping a vunerable neighbour with their shopping to befriending from your own home. We thank all the volunteers who are contributign to CV and within their local community. If you would like to support CV at this difficult time through helping with deliveries or befriending please do contact the volunteer coordinator via email or phone. Volunteering@corydonvision.org.uk and 02086882486 Ex 5

Sue is a volunteer at Croydon Vision; her primary voluntary role is that of a group leader to the Tuesday afternoon Social Group. Sues role has adapted and now she is embracing technology by using befriending to keep in touch with her group and she is even still able to host her weekly group via telephone conference call. Sue tells us about how she is finding her adapted voluntary role.

‘In these strange times it is great that we have still been able to keep in contact with each other. I have so enjoyed my telephone conversations with all the members of my group and feel that I have got to know each one on a different level. Members enjoy having time to really chat. So in a way it is a valuable time – out of bad comes good! It has been good to be able to support those who have had family illness and bereavement.

Also, the conference calls which we have every Tuesday afternoon have been a success with members saying they really enjoy hearing each other’s voices. Several have said that the word games we do have woken up their brains!!One member who has no sight said about the conference call that it was just the same for her as being in Bedford Hall, she could imagine us all round the table and it felt so good to be together again.

Thank you, Katherine, for setting these calls up for us!’

Sue Ardly – Volunteer

Thank you Sue and the rest of the Croydon Vision volunteers for continuing to do fantastic things for our members! During this time we are still recruiting volunteers via zoom so please check out the website for more information.

Enhancing Skills

Hello, its Sarah here, I am a volunteer at Croydon helping in the Kitchen with Isatu and the team. In my spare time, I have been studying Aromatherapy Massage. I started studying this in November 2019 through an online course, which has taken a terrific amount of my spare-time. It’s been a challenging journey but I’ve enjoyed it so much!

I passed the course and final Assessment in March and received a Higher Distinction and Certificates from Oplex Careers. This means I am now qualified to use my skill to acquire paid work and use it as Professional Development, which was my dream of mine.

I’m looking forward to utilising the blended essential oils I already have and creating oil mixes to suit individual medical requirements. I can make up a mix of carrier oil and essential oils to tally with individuals past medical history so that customers get a customised, specially chosen blend that will meet needs and wishes.

I am so excited to start the next stage of my new career! I will be sending out contact and price information once the lockdown restriction have been lifted.

I am also excited to be taking part in Croydon Visions 2.6 fundraising challenge. I have my trainers at the ready and will be running 2.6 miles per day for the week. It’s a fantastic feeling getting involved with CV from a distance, not only am I helping to raise crucial funds for CV I am pushing my own personal fitness boundaries. I feel like a new woman!

I am itching to get back to CV and into the kitchen helping Isatu, so I am very happy that I am still able to contribute my time in some way.

Sarah Parry – Volunteer


This month we are Quizzing around the world. Good Luck

  1. What is the national animal of china?
  2. What is a very cold part of Russia?
  3. On which Italian island is Palermo?
  4. Which is the largest desert on earth?
  5. Which river flows through Rome?
  6. Which country was previously named Rhodesia?
  7. What is the second largest country in Europe after Russia?
  8. Through which capital does the river Liffy flow?
  9. What do the Japanese people call their own country?
  10. In which country is Krakow located?
  11. What is the capital of the American state Hawaii?
  12. What is the Capital of Turkey?
  13. What is the most populated state in the USA?
  14. In which two countries is the highest mountain in the world


  1. Giant Panda 2. Siberia 3. Sicily 4. Sahara 5.Tiber 6. Zimbabwe 7. France 8. Dublin 9. Nippon 10. Poland 11. Honolulu 12. Ankara 13. Illinois 14. Nepal and China


We continue to provide our members with freshly cooked lunch by our wonderful cook Isatu. Food Deliveries will occur on Mondays and Wednesdays and you can order as many portions as you would like. 1 portion a day will be of no cost to members, any additional meals cost the usual £5. Lunch consists of the normal main course and dessert; Please give us as much notice as possible when ordering a hot meal so that we can prepare and cook the right amount of food. To order food please call 0208 688 2486.


Monday 4th May & Tuesday 5th May

Meat: Roast chicken with roast potatoes and steamed veg

Veg: Vegetarian sausages with potatoes and steamed veg

Dessert: Homemade rice pudding with jam


Wednesday 6th May & Thursday 7th May

Meat: Shepards pie with steamed veg

Veg: Vegetarian Caserole with steamed veg

Dessert: Fresh fruit salad


Monday 11th May & Tuesday 12th May

Meat: Chicken stew with rice or potatoes and steamed veg

Veg: Vegetable stew with rice or poatoes and steamed veg

Dessert: Homemade chocolate sponge with custard


Wednesday 13th May & Thursday 14th May

Meat: Chilli con-carne with rice or backed potatoes

Veg: Mushroom and leek potatoe bake with steamed veg

Dessert: Homemade pear crumble with custard


Isatu’s cooking tip of the month:

When preparing your meat, prewash with lemon or vinegar to get rid of all of those impurities.


We are sad to announce the passing of our member June Oakley may she rest in peace.

We would love to have your input!

Submissions for the May part 2 Newsletter are due in by:
Thursday May7th
submissions for the June Newsletter are due in by Wednesday 20th May , newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk

May 5, 2020

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