“I appreciate Croydon Vision very much, it is a community that develops my skills, especially on tech”- RA.


August Newletter 2020

Our Themed Newsletter –

Welcoming Summer!

The monthly Newsletter is one of Croydon Vision’s most valued and long-standing services. In recent months we have been looking at ways to give the Newsletter a fresher, engaging and more relevant feel. From this month onwards, every issue will be themed covering an overarching topic whilst we also explore Croydon Vision’s strategic priorities and values.

Here is a list of our upcoming themes for the rest of 2020 and look forward to receiving your feedback!

August: Explore a fulfilling, fun and healthy way to enjoy this warm month with our Summer Holidays’ theme!

September: We will be celebrating one of Croydon Vision’s priorities, Co-production, centred around ‘Working Together’.

October: We will be commemorating diversity (one of our key values) as part of ‘Black History Month’.

November: We will discuss how to build stronger and happier Communities (another priority for us), and will explore the sight loss community as well as our local borough of Croydon.

December: We will celebrate a time of giving and connecting as we enjoy Christmas!

We will also be inviting Guest Writers who are specialists in our monthly themes to write a more in-depth article. To suggest a writer, contribute an article or quotes for upcoming Newsletters please get in contact with Fay (Volunteer Coordinator) on newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk or phone 0208 688 2486 Ext 6.

This month we have lots of travel information, government advice and ideas so you can make the most of your summer holiday.

Happy reading!  

Box Hill Summer Challenge

On Saturday 1st August, a group of members, volunteers, staff and others part in our Box Hill Challenge in order to raise funds for a new electric gate at Bedford Hall. We are committed to raising £4,500. In next month’s Newsletter we will be sharing with you some stories from those who took part in the event.

With the above in mind, we want to install a new electronic gate to enable easy and safe access to our courtyard. We know this investment will enhance their well-being by ensuring they feel welcomed in their own space without fear of unwanted interruptions. 

This is a great way for everyone to get involved in helping their community.

In the meantime, there are plenty of ways for you to support us in reaching our fundraising target, which will remain open until the end of August. From sharing our pages to donating yourself or even taking part in your own fundraising challenge!

You can donate via;

  • Just giving page
  • Cheque
  • Card over the phone. Please call 020 8688 2486 for information or to donate.

Please share this link with friends and family to donate online https://justgiving.com/fundraising/susanette-mansour

Thank you! We really appreciate any support you can give us!

Summer Holiday Travel Tips

Going on holiday should be a relaxing and fun experience but being visually impaired can make it difficult and sometimes stressful. On a practical point, I recommend you regularly check updates on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and on your destination point.

What can be done to keep the experience as fun and as exciting as possible for people with sight loss?  I have put together a list of 6 top tips to make travel easier and more enjoyable for visually impaired people:

  1. Plan your trip well in advance. It seems such an obvious thing to do however many of us leave it until the last moment. Remember, ‘poor preparation leads to poor performance’.
  1. Do your research. Investigate accessibility and read reviews on websites like  https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ to learn from other people’s experiences.
  1. Look for a specialist VI focus. Does the hotel have specialist staff or equipment to assist blind people?
  1. Check transport and travel assistance. Always make sure you let your travel agent know in advance if you need any extra assistance so that there is time to organise the right support.
  1. Invest in travel insurance. This is essential as it will protect you for many things such as flight delays and lost luggage and, most importantly, for any healthcare related expenses.
  1. Plan ahead if you need alternative formats (e.g., braille and large print) as some companies need to months to prepare additional reading materials.

Please share your own tips on newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk.

Happy summer holidays!

Glen Brazier – Volunteer

Inspired by Outreach

While it is amazing to think about holidays, it is very important to think about those who are more isolated and do not have the luxury of travel.

Our Outreach Service continues to grow and develop ways of keeping in contact with the most vulnerable. Here are some brief examples of just two of our members whose lives have been positively transformed by this service.

Paul has no close friends or family. His initial communication came through Social Services. Paul told me he thought no one cared and lost all contact with his Social Worker. His fortnightly telephone calls were a lifeline and extremely valuable to him.

Peter lost his job after losing his sight. He was sleeping all day and had little motivation. We worked with Peter to encourage him to have a daily routine, and now we are preparing and planning how he will attend activities at Bedford Hall.

Why not spend your summer volunteering and transform lives?

You can apply for three Outreach Volunteer roles:

  • Outreach Officer Support Volunteer: You will help with visits, provide administrative support and assist with guiding.
  • Telephone Befriender: You will enjoy engaging with our lovely members, enhancing their lives and reducing isolation.
  • Home Befriender: You will provide face to face guidance and befriending to members in their homes.

For more information about the roles and how to get involved please contact volunteering@croydonvision.org.uk, Jennifer.Smith@croydonvision.org.uk or Anna.Smith@croydonvision.org.uk.

Jennifer Smith – Outreach Officer

Enjoying Summer Holiday Tech

We all have our own list of items that we take with us when we travel such sunglasses or a fancy camera.

Here are some items recommended by visually impaired people that could assist and enhance your holiday experience.

Top of the list mentioned by everyone we spoke to! Canes let other people know you have a visual impairment, and long canes also help you to avoid obstacles. Just remember you will need to have long cane training before use.

Pocket, bag or desk-sized magnifiers can give greater access to print such as newspapers, books, or pamphlets in hotel foyers. Smaller magnifiers can be taken when ‘out and about’ to assist while exploring.

You can have so many helpful apps in one place including maps, translators and VI specific tools. Phones give you access to books (audio and print), photographic and video cameras and, of course, to make phone calls.

Colour Detector:
If you want to remain as sharply dressed as when at home, colour detector is essential to help distinguish between items of different colours.

Whether you are travelling abroad or on staycation here in the UK, all these gadgets will enhance your travel experience. Please contact me if you would like to receive further information: 020 8688 2486 Ext 5 or email Katherine.Turner@croydonvision.org.uk

Katherine Turner – Resource Centre Manager

Summer Excursions

There are plenty of fun accessible things to keep you occupied during this summer that involve staying right here in the UK. At CV each year we take our members out on a variety of excursions so that they can experience something new and do something fun with their time.
This year we are beating the ‘COVID-19’ blues and taking some socially distanced trips to the seaside.

Excursions will run throughout August, with normal activities running from Tuesdays -Thursdays. We have quite a few available spaces and have therefore adjusted our deadline. Where there is an availability, you can now let us know a week in advance if you wish to book.

If you require a guide, please mention this when you book. To book on an excursion please call the office on 0208 688 2486. We accept payments over the phone, or you can pay at Reception with either card or cash. Please let us know in advance if you wish to visit Reception to pay. Please note, home pickups/returns will only be provided to those who are unable to make their own way to and from Croydon Vision.

Little Hampton Seaside

Monday 3rd August – 4 spaces left

Friday 28th August – 3 spaces left

Transport – Excursion return £20/Home pick up £25


Friday 14th August – 3 spaces left

Monday 17th August – 9 spaces left

Transport – Excursion return £15/Home pick up £20


Friday 21st August – 9 spaces left

Transport – Excursion return £20/Home pick up £25

Summer Fun with C&YP

The summer holiday brings much enjoyment to our children and young people, giving them an opportunity to relax from school and get involved in lots of activities. I am excited to say that we have many fun and engaging activities that our members can take part in.

July Park Adventure

On Saturday 18th July, we ventured to Lloyd Park in Croydon for a socially distant picnic. We were very happy that the sun graced us with its presence. As well as having lots of healthy food, we got very active with our body and brains. We took part in an obstacle course, played boules, made drawings, completed word searches, listened to music, played with a flat ball, and went on a nature walk!

What a great day filled with sunshine and happiness. Thanks to all involved!

Summer Fun & Smiles

We will be busy with both virtual and external activities. We have more picnics to look forward to, cooking days at Good Food Matters and a farm day out! We have an upcoming tailored session with ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, interactive cooking, and our Book Club sessions!

Additionally, on Saturday 22nd August (12.30pm – 4 pm) we will be hosting our first Children and Young People Annual Awards! I am excited to honour our children, young people and their families on their very deserving achievements. The event will consist of a tasty BBQ followed by a very special Croydon Vision Awards Ceremony.

For more information on any of these events please get in touch via email Korey.Knight@croydonvision.org.uk or 0208 688 2486 Ext 3.

Korey Knight – C&YP Officer

Croydon Vision Live

Here are some exciting events to look forward to this summer!

August Facebook Live

Our Facebook events have been going from strength to strength. Thank you for joining us at 4 pm on Thursdays.

Thursday 6th August – Conquering Our Challenges:

Our CEO Susanette Mansour and fellow climber John Hartley will reflect about our 2019 Kilimanjaro Challenge. This will be followed by a discussion on our Box Hill Summer Challenge.

Thursday 13th August – Pizza Fun & Summer Movies:

We will learn to make glorious pizzas and will share movie tips to plan great summer nights. Watch out for a fun Pizza Competition!

Thursday 20th August – Empowerment Through Art:

We are delighted to invite you to this discussion of the documentary “The Terry Fragments” by filmmaker and scholar Dr.Catalin Brylla (Bournemouth University). The film is an up-close documentary about Terry Hopwood-Jackson, a blind painter, who has not let his sight loss dictate his life. Terry’s home contains treasured trove of fascinating paintings, drawings and notebooks. The Terry Fragments is part of a research project led by Dr. Brylla to explore the effects of social stigma and media representations of visual impairment. Audience members are kindly asked to fill-in this survey before listening to or viewing the film:

https://bournemouth.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/croydon-vision-pre-event-questionnaire (Please enquire for link to the film)

Thursday 27th August – Empowerment Through Tech:

Enjoy a stimulating conversation about innovation and tech.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for any event updates and information https://www.facebook.com/CroydonVision

Holiday Bucket List

During the past few months there have been restrictions on travel, with many people postponing planned holidays. I am a keen traveller and have started to think about future travel destinations. Everybody has their very own bucket list of places they would like to go and things they would like to see.

Here are the top 3 destinations on my bucket list!

  1. Sydney, Australia. I would like to visit The Opera House, home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Whenever the orchestra performs in the Concert Hall, the temperature must be kept at 72.5 °F (22.5 °C) to keep the musicians’ instruments in tune. There is something for everyone: choir performances, popular music shows, opera and dance performances including ballet.
  1. I would like to visit the natural ice caves. These natural ice caves are only accessible during the winter as they fill with water through melting during the summer and become inaccessible. The most famous ice caves are in Vatnajökull, not too far from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The most famous ice cave is the Crystal Ice Cave, an ice cave so large it can fit close to 100 people.
  1. Venice, Italy. I would love to visit the capital of the Veneto region situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon. The idea of floating along canals in gondolas really appeals to me as I love boats and water. I would also try the restaurants and enjoy the romantic ambience.

I would love to know what is in your bucket list!  Look forward to hearing from you on Anna.Smith@croydonvision.org.uk07458 301 585

Anna Smith – Outreach Officer

Travelling With Sight Loss

When I was diagnosed blind in the early 90s, one of the things that disheartened me was the thought that I would never be able to travel around Europe like I used to do when I was younger.

Through my connections with other visually impaired women from Metro Blind Sport, I learned that there is a range of assistance available for blind travellers both in the UK and internationally.

A great example is that all major train stations in the UK have a Disabled Person Assistance Services who help you to find the right seat on your train. At airports, you can book assistance to help you get on the right plane and start your journey with ease.

My top tip is that I would always allow plenty of time to get a bit lost, to allow yourself more time to find where the assistance is. The more I travel, the more I learn and the more confident I become.  

An alternative to travelling alone is to travel through an Assisted Holiday Scheme. I used an organisation called Seable (https://seable.co.uk/) to travel to Sicily a couple of years ago. We received help to read and translate menus in restaurants, and they drove us around in a minibus. We did some exciting activities including walking up a volcano and windsurfing.

A cruise is on my ‘to do’ list! I have heard that other blind travellers really enjoy boat cruises as crews are always so helpful.

I can now declare myself a confident blind traveller, and have travelled alone by train from Geneva to Vienna and flown to Dublin and Spain. I find travelling exhilarating! I love all the preparations and the kind of nervous anticipation full of ‘what ifs’!

Please contact me on Odette.Battarel@croydonvision.org.uk or 020 8688 2486 Ext 2 if you wish to receive advice or simply your share ideas.

Odette Battarel – Advice and Development Officer

Turn Volunteering into a Holiday

One of the best ways to see the world and experience unique cultural experiences can come from volunteering abroad. There are many ways in which you can do this for different ages and various lengths of time. Here are some of the ways in which you can support vulnerable people and projects.

Volunteer by becoming someone’s eyes:

Companies such as Traveleyes and Seable provide visually impaired people a unique travel experience with assisted holidays. You can volunteer with these companies and become someone’s eyes. You will be paired with an individual or group and will go on a journey together. You will be charged a very special volunteer rate, saving you money and offering an experience you will always treasure.



Government funded projects:

These programmes send out volunteers to help countries in need of international development work. Projects generally last 3 or 4 months. You will thrive on an immersive cultural experience staying with host families in local villages and making lifelong memories.



I myself have been on a few volunteering holidays. I spent 4 months in Tanzania volunteering with a water and sanitation project. This was a longer term volunteering project which I found incredible. To be part of building a sustainable community for those who need it the most was very rewarding, I learned a lot about myself and developed many of my skills. I would recommend them to everyone. There is an experience for each person out there.

Please contact me if you need advice about trusted organisations that you could approach to discuss volunteering.

Fay Chegwidden – Volunteer Coordinator

Summer Learnings

I am really inspired by Katherine and the team’s great work in empowering our members through technology and innovation.

The world of technology continues to transform our daily lives and is shifting our perception of reality. On Saturday 18th July, joined a small group of six artists and curators to discuss the evolving role of technology at The Photographers’ Gallery. This session was part of the Slow Looking series kindly sponsored by the Vision Foundation.

We delved into the work of Maxime Matthys, Belgium artist currently based between Paris and Rennes, whose practice explores the uses of technology in contemporary life.

I was struck by Maxime’s creative use of skilfully assembled photographs to engage in complex political topics such as human rights, unlawful surveillance techniques and privacy challenges related to facial recognition.

We learned to ‘think outside the box’ through the artist’s ability to convert everyday shots into stunning works of art. Even people staring at phones in the dark can be as beautiful as classical paintings!

Follow the link to find out more and enjoy the brilliant audio descriptions by curator and inclusion expert Caroline Dawson:


Keep us posted on your summer learning journey by emailing me on Ines.C.Jager@croydonvision.org.uk or call 0208 688 24 86 Ext 4.

Ines Canellas-Jager – Business Development Manager

Data, Diversity & Social Change

In recent weeks we have engaged in constructive dialogue regarding global challenges around diversity and justice. With this in mind and also related to technology, Federica Rocco and the Financial Times have recently launched an illuminating report called ‘Race in America. Why data matters’ (FT Weekend, 25th & 26th July 2020).

This report has taught me the key role played by Yeshimabeit Milner, the leader of Data for Black Lives, a movement of activists and scientists working to make data a tool for social change. This movement builds on a long tradition unveiled 120 years ago by Thomas Callaway and WEB Du Bois at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

These two leading figures were determined to used data to set the record straight when it came to unfair and unfounded assumptions against minority groups. Using data visualisation techniques (similar to today’s PowerPoint and analytics software), Callaway and Du Bois managed to challenge and inspire international visitors by displaying a wealth of examples of ‘Black excellence’.

If we fast forward to August 2020, there is still so much for us to do hence my call to action to support Milner and her team.

Modern algorithms that drive predictive policing and facial recognition need further improvements as they can replicate unconscious bias.

Data exposes facts that we might not want to look at. That is why we are seeing reluctance to have some information collected such as COVID-19 patient data in the USA. Society needs to do more to ensure the information we collect represents all people in a fair and balanced manner.

Thank you to the Federica Rocco and the Financial Times for their report!

Ines Canellas-Jager – Business Development Manager

A Sunny ‘Hello’ from Gyles!

I am the new Driver and Member Support Worker. My main role involves driving members around safely whilst making their time with us as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. I am also responsible for the administrative side of our Transport Service and deal with the maintenance of the minibuses.

My favourite part of the role so far is interacting with members. Communication is key and I’m enjoying developing this skill every day.

I have met many of you on the road from one of my precious roles, either during my 10 years at Dial-a-Ride or at Wandsworth Community Transport where I provided driver cover for Croydon Vision amongst others.

It’s amazing seeing so many familiar faces. Croydon Vision provides a great opportunity for me to get to know more about our members, and I love building up their trust and confidence. I am excited to broaden my tasks and learn more about the admin side of the role. Katherine (Resource Centre Manager) is already teaching me how to become a pro at Excel. Thanks, Katherine!

In my spare time, I love to keep fit and play sports including badminton and football, and I am a big Liverpool fan (so this has been a good year for me!). I like riding my bike on weekends and spending quality time with my three boys who keep me very busy.

I am very excited to be working at Croydon Vision and hope to be here for many years. I look forward to meeting everyone soon!

Gyles Gordon – Driver and Member Support Worker

Fun Language Learning

At Croydon Vision we are always looking to develop and introduce new services and activities for our members. We are passionate about engaging with members to encourage empowerment and ownership, and would like to thank you for your feedback on learning languages! We are extremely lucky to have a talented member, David, who is going to share his knowledge of French. David hosted one of our Facebook live sessions in July and was inspired to take his teachings further.

In September, we are holding a pilot taster session of Beginners French for staff, members and volunteers. We hope with interest that this will grow into a series of sessions to inspire members to communicate in this beautiful language and others (Spanish, Portuguese). These fun sessions will include simple words and phrases to enable basic conversations, alongside interactive exercises. To book your place, please get in contact with Reception on 020 8688 2486.

Key Dates

Fiona Hazel will be running our Low Vision Clinic on Thursday 10th September. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment as this service is extremely popular (020 8688 2486).

Macular and Glaucoma groups will be put on hold until January 2021

Summer Quiz

Sticking with the theme of summer holidays and travel please enjoy this brain busting quiz!


  1. According to trip advisor what is the most popular attraction in the UK in 2019?
  2. According to Thomas Cook what country was the most popular travel destination for brits in 2019?
  3. Which is the largest of the Canary Islands?
  4. What year did Disneyland Paris first open to the public?
  5. Which country is the longest beach in the world located?
  6. According to trip advisor what was the most popular attraction in the world in 2019?
  7. If you were on a river cruise of the Danube, how many countries would you travel through?
  8. The Grand Canyon is in which state in America?
  9. What is another name for Sri Lanka?
  10. In which country can you visit the hobbit houses from Lord of the Rings?
  11. What is the largest city in the world?
  12. Who sang the song ‘Summer Holiday’?


  1. Tower of London 2. Spain 3. Tenerife 4. 1992 5. Brazil (150 miles) 6. The Colosseum (Rome) 7. 10 8. Arizona 9. Butterfly Island 10. New Zealand 11. Shanghai 12. Cliff Richard


Croydon Vision – Eat Well, Live Well and Age well

 All meals include a choice of main course and dessert)


Tuesday 4th August

Meat: Chicken and mushroom pie and mash with steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Mushroom and leek pie and mash with steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked salmon with potatoes and steamed vegetables 


Homemade rice pudding with berries 

Fruit salad served with ice cream and yogurt


Wednesday 5th August

Homemade beef burgers with chips and baked beans

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt

Thursday 6th August 

Meat: Meatball stew with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Tofu and vegetable stew served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked haddock served with potatoes and steamed vegetables


Homemade custard tart
Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Tuesday 11th August

Meat: Lamb stew with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Vegetarians: Mediterranean vegetable quiche served with steamed vegetables 

Fish: Baked cod with potatoes and steamed vegetables


Homemade plum crumble with custard

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Wednesday 12th August 

Pasta Bolognese served with steamed vegetables


Homemade chocolate brownies

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Thursday 13th August

Meat: Roast chicken with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy

Vegetarian: Vegetarian sausages with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy

Fish: Pan-fried salmon with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy



Homemade panna-cotta with berries  

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Tuesday 18th August

Meat: Pasta and chicken bake with steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Lentil and three bean stew with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked cod served with roast potatoes and steamed vegetables 


Homemade vanilla cheesecake

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Wednesday 19th August

Chili con-carne with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables


Strawberry angel delight

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Thursday 20th August

Meat: Roast pork with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy

Vegetarian: Stuffed peppers with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Fish: Pan-fried salmon with roast potatoes and steamed vegetables


Fruit salad with ice cream or yogur


Tuesday 25th August

Meat: Chicken hot pot served with mixed salad

Vegetarian: Vegetable, hot pot served with mixed salad

Fish: Baked cod with potatoes and mixed salad


Homemade banoffee pie

Fruit salad served with ice cream or yogurt


Wednesday 26th August

Cottage pie with steamed vegetables


Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Thursday 27th August

Meat: Beef lasagne served with mixed salad

Vegetarian: Pasta in tomato and vegetable sauce with mixed salad

Fish: Baked Haddock served with potatoes and mixed salad


Homemade vanilla sponge cake with custard

Fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


We would love to have your input!

We would love to hear your feedback and get your involvement.

Submissions for the September Newsletter are due in by
12 noon on Wednesday 19th August 2020 at
newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk. This month’s theme will be one of Croydon Vision’s priorities, Co-production, centred around ‘Working Together’.

Aug 1, 2020

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“A life saver & a life change”