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


April Newsletter 2021


According to the great Robin Williams “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!” For others, Spring represents newness, growth and becoming…

Now that fresh flowers, green foliage and frolicking bunnies are among us and social distancing is easing, let’s celebrate life in all its sun-soaked newness.

From the 19th of this month, we’ll be building activities and services back up again, with a view to being back to full strength in May. Making plans to see you all again has us really excited and full of hope. But above all it makes us feel grateful for the potential we all have now and the fortitude we’ve shown over the last year. Good things are coming!

Greetings from Susanette

We are counting down, with hope to welcome members and volunteers soon. However, we also understand it might take time for some people, either way – be assured we are here to serve you.

Times are hard right now and there’s a lot going on. It is also an opportune time to build stronger communities, becoming the change that we seek. During 1st lockdown, I developed a habit of journaling what I am learning and what I am changing – here’s a share of my journey so far…

Acknowledge when you are not okay rather than get stuck.
The art of listening – seek first to understand then to be understood.

Seeing failure as an enemy rather than a lesson to learn from.
Destination syndrome rather than capturing today, appreciating the now.

Grateful for:
My Team; their resilience, passion and openness to learn and growth.
The song “Alabaster Box” by Cece Winans always puts me in a good mood; reminds me that I am by the grace of God.


It has been a year since the first lockdown – at the time of adapting services, we had one focus, to do our best in keeping you safe and well.
How did you commemorate the anniversary of lockdown?

At CV, we took time out to pause and reflect. Furthermore, we want to express our thanks to the Team (volunteers & staff). Our adapted services continue to transform lives and we are so grateful for their continued support. The challenges and opportunities have been evident, so many stories to tell. Sharing some data to build context on reach and support; a demo of groups and one-on-one services #Teamwork.

10,393 Facebook views, its official, we are a Bricks & Clicks provider.

2,964 Lunch meals served – a big shout out to the hospitality team!

1,592 Befriending calls – special shout out to our amazing volunteers.

Social Group calls/zoom – that’s amazing, thank you group leaders.

316 Tech Trainings – home and telephone, whoop whoop Tech Team!

315 Advice & Advocacy service – the testimonials just keep coming!

167 Children & Young People activities (face to face/zoom) – thank you!

88 Personal Development – the passion to transform lives, so grateful!

84 Grocery, prescription collection and doorstep buddying; we salute you!


Referrals – would you like to see more people access our services?
According to statistics, there are 1,200 people with sight loss in Croydon. With that in mind, we need your help to spread the word, to share your experience of service provision to your neighbour, friends, family, and eye specialists. Thanks in advance, together we can change more lives.
For further information, please contact Advice & Advocacy Officer; Ext 3.


From the 19th April, Croydon Vision will reopen on Mondays and Wednesdays. Transport and lunch will be available on both days.
Please note, transport is £8 return and lunch is £5 (advance booking).

Adapted services will continue until the 14th May based on demand. Internal services will resume fully in May. Please see below services starting in April. We are still taking bookings but going fast, please call reception to book in advance.

Group Leader Group Other Info Time
Jim Smith Music Appreciation Listening to various songs. Starting 26th April (fortnightly) 10am – 12pm
Group Leader Group Other Info Time
Frances Cullen Keep Fit Seated Exercise 10am-12pm
Masha Hammond Art Painting & Drawing 10am-12pm
Masha Hammond Crafts Embracing Creativity 1:30pm – 3pm

Would you care to dance?

As mentioned in the last month’s newsletter “Open to This” is an audio described dance project that helps you to keep active and open up your body with creative movements. As a reminder, the aim now is to run sessions of around 20 minutes, which are likely to be virtual at first and in person at Croydon Vision in the late summer/ start of autumn.

Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved in? We’d love to hear from you at reception if so…

Your feedback is hugely important to us, here are some the comments so far from our survey in last month’s newsletter:

“Very informative, like the way it’s been set up.”

“Would like to see pictures of staff and volunteers in the newsletter, so that new members can identify who they are as a familiar face.”

You can have your say by visiting our link: https://rb.gy/uhv9th 

Our 2021 Fundraising Initiatives – the difference we make together!

With your support, we almost smashed our fundraising objectives for 2020 – a quick rewind below of what we did we:
Transformed our talking newsroom into a fully functioning studio.
Trip to Boxhill helped us generate income to improve security, installing a new gate by summer 2021. a generous donation for a fireproof glass window – kitchen. Thank you to everyone, your support is so appreciated!

Our 2021 fundraising initiatives will start from April to March 2022.
Furthermore, we’ve created a dedicated Just Giving page if you wish to make a donation. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/croydon-vision. Watch out for fun events and activities we’ll be doing to fundraise.

Items Cost (Approx.) Quarter
New Cooker – in 1yr we cooked 2964 meals! £2,500 Q1
Improving Accessibility
(audible notice boards, tactile ground light)
£2,350 Q2
2 x Audible Disabled Toilets Functions £3,000 Q2
Braille Embosser – Promoting/Access to Braille £12,000 Q3
Improving Bedford Hall lobby area – audio descriptive £3,500 Q4

Thank you in advance for supporting our plans, via a one-off donation, standing order or legacy, we appreciate you and every little helps.

Connecting globally with VIPs (Visually Impaired People)

VIP World Services are the creator of the Travel Hands service – a product which pairs visually impaired people with volunteers, to walk together to their similar destinations. They are inviting Croydon Vision members on to their weekly Zoom calls where VIPs from all around the world can connect with each other. Please see joining details below:

Time: Every Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 PM London

Meeting ID: 918 7065 8703

Passcode: 207218

If you would like to find out more or are experiencing difficulties joining Zoom, please contact VIP World Services on 020 3966 1650.


“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

It was Audrey Hepburn who said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – and she was really onto something; a report in the Mental Health Journal in 2013 cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood. So how can you get involved in this springtime feel-good activity if you’re tight on outside space?

Cress heads

Let’s start easy. Turns out growing cress seeds in an eggshell like you did at school is just as fun as it ever was, especially with younger gardeners. All you need is an egg with the top and contents removed, some damp cotton wool and cress seeds. Bonus points for drawing a friendly face on your cress head; we’d love to see photos if you give it a go!

Did you know? Eggshells, ground up and popped into soil, are a great, green way to deter pests like slugs from eating your plants!

Vertical Gardens

A pocket shoe organizer (Argos has one for £6) is a nifty way to build a vertical garden in a small garden or balcony. Simply fill each of the shoe spaces with potting soil or compost and then add your plants. Be sure that you choose a place for your hanger that gets enough sunlight and if it’s undercover you’ll need to water them occasionally too!

DIY Pineapple Plant!

Next time you have a pineapple (which by the way are naturally high in fibre, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C) don’t throw the top part away. Instead twist off the leafy section, remove the bottom few layers of leaves and stand it in a small glass of water. After a week or so little roots should sprout from the bottom, which means it’s ready to be planted in a pot of soil. Et voila, you have yourself a pineapple plant that could – with care and luck – grow its own baby pineapple in a couple of years!

Green fingers twitching? Take a look at this YouTube video for things you can regrow using fruit and veggie scraps from your kitchen: shorturl.at/ptGQT


Indeed, the sounds of Spring is here…

After all the snow and ice and a rather wet winter Spring has finally sprung. All through February as I was walking down the River Wandle trail with my husband from Croydon into Beddington Park we noticed the signs that winter was disappearing.

I am a country girl at heart, and I do so enjoy the colours, the smells the sound of nature.

The first sounds of spring were the birds singing and not just the crows or the parakeets but the melodious songs of the black birds in the trees, the wood pigeons cooing away and ducks squabbling in the water.

It seems that suddenly all the birds have something to say!

And we must not forget the famous Croydon Crocus with us since the Romans who cultivated it to harvest the stamen to make Saffron and I have planted a few in my garden. They are rather short, large slightly pale purple flowers with bright yellowy-orange middle, and it is from these flowers that we have the name of Croydon.

My new year’s resolution for 2021 is to go out and celebrate Nature and to be more creative. I have enrolled on a virtual Mindfulness and Poetry course and I have bought art materials to try out a few of Bob Ross’s style paintings.

Also, as part of my back to Nature inspiration I want to join the Wandle River volunteers who give their time on a Saturday once a month to help clean up the river and make it a safe and beautiful place for humans as well as for the wildlife. What will you do in 2021?


Life in lockdown and beyond…

What’s made your days worthwhile over lockdown?

“Having a meal delivered by CV, not having to cook.” – Sheila Griffiths

“Coming into CV and helping with talking news weekly, it gives me contact with real people.” – Jim Smith

“Writing a book of COVID poems.” – Bob Horne – check out Bob’s page; https://www.facebook.com/bobrehhorne

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to once lockdown has eased?

“Partying hard, which for me is boogying in a pair of heels and lots of glitter. I’ve been listening to Cameo ‘Word Up’ lately, it gets me in the mood for dancing!” – Jennifer Smith

“Coming back to CV.” – Lauren Crisp

“Coming out. I’ve been stuck indoors all this time.” – Jean Skinner

If you could spend the day with one person – someone you know or a famous person – who would it be and what would you do?

“Cliff Richard, a dinner date and talk about his career.” – Carol Mallows

“King T’Challa. I saw that film, Black Panther, a whole heap of times.
I love Marvel because of my kids, and he is incredible.” – Jennifer Smith


Everything we do at CV focuses on transforming lives, the journey to independence. So, it is only befitting to put the spotlight on Natalie, she is officially our Engagement Officer, starting this month.
We sat down with Natalie for a quick rewind of her journey and aspirations in her new role.

On a scale of 1-10, what was life like prior to becoming a member?
I would scale my life at the time as 5 (low) and for work prospect, a 3.
At the time I felt disheartened with limited opportunities – I was unsure of how to move forward with my life.

So, you found CV, what were your first impressions?
Initially I had no expectations, the fliers I had were outdated from years back and I wasn’t sure I could find people I would relate with. However, it was different, I had signed up just to use the counselling service, but then I was encouraged to join the working age group, and afterwards became a volunteer.

How did volunteering help your readiness for work?
Volunteering was a chance to give back, to help others as well as develop my own skills. I would recommend the experience to anyone, whether to support your community and/or an avenue to gain employment.

What are your personal highlights over the last few months?
Building my admin skills much more as well as people skills. I had some but growing more so now.

How does it feel to be the new Engagement Officer?!
Feels really good, like I’m moving forward in my life and am grateful.
I plan to add value to both members and the team (volunteers and staff), tapping into my insights and experience with sight loss.
Also, I look forward to working with everyone; together we can improve, change and do things differently.


We joined up with the tech for success team this month, introducing Ola and Odette, both play instrumental roles leading to our weekly event. They are gearing up for spring, sports, exploring Instagram and embedding the culture we seek at CV.

What are you excited about in April?

OLA: Updates to the website and making more videos in the studio. Behind the scenes of Facebook Live should be cool.

ODETTE: We are preparing for the reopening of CV; we can’t wait to welcome members and volunteers back.

What do you like about Spring?

OLA: I don’t like the heat. But I do enjoy going out in knickers (known as shorts in Nigeria), plus outdoor sports, football, basketball, table tennis.

ODETTE: Spring is the time of year where there’s new growth, so it’s an exciting time for me to take on a new role. The Culture Ambassador role is all about making sure that everyone is well-informed about our values.

What would you like our members to know about?

OLA: That there’s so much content on Instagram that they’d enjoy.
Check out @lucyedwardsofficiala really good account on how blind people are changing perceptions – life with no limits. Lucy’s page is full of tips, tricks, shortcuts and nice little skits.

ODETTE: The whole programme and schedule for our Facebook Live sessions during April and May, plus changing into the new from June.
We are currently consulting members and volunteers, to reshape our face book event – love to hear your input newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk.


Gadgets and apps for getting out and about…

Google Maps

Use accessibly when you’re walking. It’s excellent at telling you what you need to know.


This is an app on iPhones, where you take a photo on your phone, of a menu or something, then it reads aloud any text that’s on your photo or describes it if it’s a picture.

Basic Magnification

Depending on what your phone is, there’s an accessibility function that allows you to increase the font and magnify things using the camera. Lots of people don’t know their phone does this, in February and March alone we’ve told 5 or 6 people about it and it’s made them so excited.

Ola from the team actually went to visit a lady recently who wanted to buy an electric magnifier, which costs upwards of £300. When he told her that her phone can do the same thing it blew her mind!

If you would like to know more about any of the tech mentioned here, please do give Katherine or Ola a call on 020 8688 2486 Ext 5


G’s Joke of the Month

Why aren’t Koalas actual bears?

Because they don’t meet the koalifications.

Overheard at Bedford Hall

G: Doughnuts are my krypotonite. So is Isha’s Shepherd’s Pie.

Nadine: My hubby’s rice and peas is up there.

What’s your foodie kryptonite? Tweet us on twitter.com/CroydonVision

Conversation Starters:

  1. Should we judge Disney films by today’s moral standards?
  2. Can you think of the last time you did something outside your comfort zone?
  3. Can you name three things that you don’t need but you’re really happy you have?

Activity of the Month:

Use an odd sock to make your own no-sew Easter Bunny for yourself, your kids or grandchildren!

You will need:

  • Odd sock
  • A cup
  • Uncooked rice
  • 2 x elastic bands
  • Scissors
  • Felt tip
  • A ribbon
  1. Take an odd sock and pop it inside a cup, stretching the top over the opening.
  2. Fill the bottom three or four inches of the sock with uncooked rice.
  3. Remove the sock from the cup and secure the rice inside with an elastic band.
  4. Use a second elastic band to split the rice into two sections; the head and the body.
  5. Cut out two ears from the excess sock coming out of the top. The longer they are, the floppier they’ll be.
  6. Use a felt tip to draw a face on your rabbit and tie a ribbon around its neck to make it look extra snazzy!

You can find the full instructions on this website: https://feelingnifty.com/easter-bunny-craft/

We’d love to see your bunnies! Do email a picture of yours to newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk and we’ll share it with the other members.


  1. Why does Easter occur at different times each year?
    a) whim,   b) politicans  c) full moon
  2. In the film Easter Parade what did Judy Garland give Fred Astaire?
    a) tie b) an Easter Egg   c)  a top hat
  3. In which decade did the first New York Easter Parade take place?
    a) 1870 b) 1890  c)  1900
  4. When was the first egg decorated?
    a) 12th century. b) 13th    c) 18th century.
  5. From which two European countries did chocolate eggs come from?
  6. When did J. S. Fry make their first Easter Egg?
  7. Which food stuff used to only be baked and sold on Good Friday?
  8. Why is the egg a symbol of Easter?
  9. Who organised the first Egg hunt in the sixteenth century?
    a) Sir Francis Drake b) Leonardo De Vinci c) Martin Luther
  10. How many Bank Holidays are there at Easter?
  11. On Maundy Thursday the Queen gives out Maundy money to how many people?
  12. Why is Maundy money given?
  13. Where does the Easter Cactus originate?
  14. Which meat is the most likely to be served at Easter?


1).c) Full moon.  2). c) Top hat.   3) a, 1870   4)  13th century.   5) France and Germany     6) 1873   7) Hot Cross Buns.   8) rebirth/ new life. 9) Martin Luther   10) Two , Good Friday and Easter Monday    11) 95 men and 95 women, in line with the Queen’s age. 12) It is a symbol of humility to represent Jesus washing the disciples at the Last Supper. 13) Trinidad    14). Lamb


Croydon Vision – Eat well, Live well and Age well

All meals include a choice of main course and dessert

Tuesday 6th April

Meat: Beef lasagna served with steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked salmon served with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade rice pudding with jam or fruit salad


Thursday 8th April

Meat: Shepard’s pie served with steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Ratatouille served with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade chocolate brownies with custard or fruit salad


Tuesday 13th April

Meat: Beef stew served with mash and steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Meat free sausages, potatoes served with steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade strawberry trifle or fresh fruit salad


Thursday 15th April

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

Fish: Baked cod served with roast potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade banoffee pie or seasonal fruit salad


Monday 19th April

Meat: Chili con carne served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked Cod served with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Tuesday 20th April

Meat: Chili con carne served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Pasta in tomato sauce served with meat free meatballs and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade pineapple upside-down cake served with custard or fruit salad


Wednesday 21st April

Meat: Cheesy pasta and chicken bake served with steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Cheesy pasta bake served with steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade chocolate sponge cake with custard or Seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Thursday 22nd April

Meat: Cheesy pasta and chicken bake served with steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked Cod served with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade apple crumble served with custard or fruit salad


Monday 26th April

Meat: Chicken and potato bake served with steamed vegetables

Fish: Baked Haddock served with potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Summer fruit salad served with ice cream or yogurt


Tuesday 27th April

Meat: Chicken and potato bake served with steamed vegetables

Vegetarian: Potato gratin served with steamed vegetables

Dessert: Baked apples with custard or seasonal fruit salad


Wednesday 28th April

Meat: Roast beef served with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy

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

Dessert: Homemade lemon drizzle cake with custard or summer fruit salad served with ice cream or yogurt


Thursday 29th April

Meat: Roast beef served with roast potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy

Vegetarian: Lentil, chickpea and butter bean stew served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables

Dessert: Homemade lemon drizzle cake served with custard or seasonal fruit salad.

We agree too, Isha’ food is yum – pics below of roast and pudding!!


By Appointment   Only

Monday – Thursday

Resource Centre, IT Sessions,
Advice and Advocacy.

By Appointment Only

Monday – Friday


Outreach Home Visits, please contact Reception to arrange a visit.

Lunch Delivery

Tuesday & Thursday

This will be available until 14th May.
Please contact reception 2 days in advance to order.

Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays


Talking Therapies is over the telephone.
If you would like to find out more or book an appointment, please speak to Reception.

Wednesday 21st April

from 9am – 1pm

Chiropodist (Joy Dell), please call Reception to book an appointment


TBC Croydon Vision Low Vision Clinic
(Fiona Hazell),
please call Reception to enquire for available appointment.


R.I.P. – We commemorate the lives of these much-loved Members who have sadly passed away. They provided our Team with great joy, kindness and many happy moments. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.

Margaret Burnell

Mahendra Vadgama

Wesley Tull

George Strymowicz

DID YOU KNOW… we host Facebook Live, Thursdays at 4pm

Sharing Impact:
Shallini reached out to us through Facebook. The tech team called and she explained her needs, tech training, magnifications and living aids for home. She couldn’t type or read posts, messages, and comments.
The team provided tutorials on how to make use of the accessibility functions on her devices to zoom, magnify, and voice activate typing.

Shallini’s feedback – “I am so please Ola came, he showed me some things on IPad, phone and around the house. I no longer need to scroll with my magnifier, Ola was very patient with me. I showed him my kitchen so in future if we could do a cooking video, I will be so happy. I also want to be a volunteer and support others.” (Shallini O).
On Thursday, 18th March, Shallini featured on our face book live event, she cooked a Mauritian Fish Curry, shared her story of route to work, living with sight loss and becoming independent.

To join follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/CroydonVision/videos

1st April 2021

An Easter Recipe to Try at Home

Cooking with Isha, CV’s chef.
Whilst the food sizzles, it’s reflection time – one year ago, with a tripod we started facebook live…

8th April 2021

Tate Comes to Croydon Vision

Discover the audio and touch tours that make Museums and Art accessible with Marcus Dickey-Horley, Curator of Access and Special Projects.

15th April 2021 Exploring Communicating Tools
Talking all things speech, magnification, Braille and beyond with Odette, Glen and Anna Smith
22nd April 2021

Eye Care Champions

Wayne, Grace and Lance share their experiences working for See Ability.

29th April 2021

Empowering Volunteers

We talk about ways you can take part in the valuable work we do here.

Further information about Facebook Live and Replay

All our Facebook live events can be found on CV’s website/SEEhub. Please follow the link below to discover videos of past events as well as inspiring podcasts. http://seehub.croydonvision.org.uk/

If you require support to access our Facebook live events through your phone, computer or other devices, Katherine and Ola are here to help and for any further information do not hesitate to contact us at: Info@croydonvision.org.uk

Do join us on face book, comment, share our events through your networks, we would love to hear from you!



We welcome your submissions for the May 2021 “New Steps” Edition by 12 noon on Thursday 15th April 2021: Newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk.

Apr 1, 2021

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“A life saver & a life change”