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


Our Voice – June 2021


Did you know that the 1st of June is Say Something Nice Day?
This really is the month of kindness and in that vein, we’re celebrating our wonderful Volunteers. Croydon Vision couldn’t exist without these
hard-working members of the team, who always put others first and help to make our community so vibrant.

In this month’s Our Voice, we turn the spotlight on three of our Volunteers Ketan Jadeja (Health & Social Care Trustee), Sammy (a tech-minded teen) and Sue Ardley, who maintains that “Volunteering here is really all about giving your time, caring and sharing a laugh.” This small cross-section of our volunteers really reflects the diversity, passion and expertise we’re blessed with here.

It’s like Amelia Earhart said “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” So if you happen upon one of our Volunteers at Bedford Hall – or indeed virtually this month, do be sure to send a compliment their way. And from Members, Susanette and Staff, we really would like to send a massive thank you! With Volunteers like you, any impossible task becomes accomplishable. Thank you for furthering our mission, we are grateful.

“Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for everything they do. Without volunteers, we don’t know how CV would survive.”
Lauren Crisp

“All three groups [run by Jan, Sue & Maria] have great leaders, what they bring is very interesting, and keeps your brain active.”
Leona Dwyer

“The volunteers are very helpful and polite, very considerate and friendly.” Stephen Nkanyuza

Celebrating our Volunteers

Three Volunteers, Three Different Experiences

Sue Ardley is part of the beating heart of Croydon Vision, when friends ask her whether volunteering here is depressing she responds with “It’s the day I laugh most during the week!”

“The atmosphere at Bedford Hall is wonderful. It’s more of a family than anything else; as one member recently said to me “I don’t know what I’d do without this place”. It’s humbling to help out somewhere that visually impaired people feel safe and stimulated, where sighted people are playfully referred to as ‘the odd ones out’!

The ethos at Croydon Vision is definitely independence rather than dependence. During lockdown we had two group conference calls each week with quizzes, poems and word games; the member-led sessions are always great and very interesting! During this time we’ve all become even closer through all the phone calls.

One volunteering highlight for me was an after-hours tour for visually impaired people of The Houses of Parliament. One member, Claire sat in The Speaker’s Chair and shouted “ORDER! ORDER!”, the tour guides told us even they weren’t allowed to do that. That’s Claire for you!

Another time I welcomed a member “It’s nice to see you Jean!” and she replied “It’s nice to half see you dear.” Volunteering here is really all about giving your time, caring and sharing a laugh.”

Sammy is 13 and volunteers at Croydon Vision in his free time. He loves the way everyone has made him feel so welcomed…

“I’m proud to volunteer at Croydon Vision. I’m a Branding Assistant, which means I make and edit videos about what Croydon Vision does. I have my own YouTube Channel, so video editing is something I do already, but Ola (aka Mr Computer) is teaching me how to use Adobe Creative Cloud which is kind of cool. I want to be a coder or a developer for Microsoft when I’m older, so it’s good experience for me. I volunteer here as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, I applied because I thought it would be a cool place to work. If I had to describe Croydon Vision in three words I’d say friendly, hospitable and homey.”

Ketan Jadeja is our Health & Social Care Trustee and his professional life sees him bridging the gap between Moorfields Eye Hospital and community practice.

“Growing up I wanted to do something medical. Both of my grandmothers had glaucoma, and I find the eye generally fascinating, so I followed a path from work experience in a local Croydon opticians, to studying Optometry at City University. I’ve done a number of post-grad studies, so my job is more clinical than your average high street optometrist. That means I’ve been able to be part of Croydon Vision’s Glaucoma Support Group. As part of that role I deliver talks on everything from how glaucoma affects the eye, to current treatments, I also share information about new treatments, as well as new pathways to access care in the community.

The Croydon Vision members are a really good bunch, who like to get involved. I feel that visually impaired people should be given the respect of not being treated differently but the same as everyone else. Last year for the first time I helped out with Christmas parcel drop-offs for members, I took my four year old along and we had a lot of fun. Sharing just a few hours means a lot.

If I had one wish for Croydon Vision it would be to remedy the isolation of the last year with a big get-together; nice food, activities, music – I think we all need that right now.”


“I was so happy to come back today, for over a year I was just at home, and I live alone so it was hard for me, I felt sad sometimes. It was so nice to be amongst people today. When David told me the group was starting, I told him even if nobody else comes, I will be there!” Vasanti Ahya

Yes, we’re now fully open; welcome back everyone! Natalie on reception is ready to take your calls about our services (which can be found on our website also) and to book you in for any activities in advance.
Please note, transport is £8 return and lunch is £5 to eat in or pickup.

Croydon Vision’s 2021 Fundraising Initiatives Updates

Well done to everyone who participated in the 100 Challenge in honour of Captain Tom! The Croydon Vision team got stuck in climbing flights of stairs, playing tennis, trampolining and roller skating. And special mention to Isha, our wonderful cook, who did 100 laps of Bedford Hall…

We raised more than £2,500 for our new cooker! Huge thanks to everyone who donated via Just Giving, with a standing ovation going to David Madell, who was instrumental in helping us to reach our fundraising goal. Other contributors included Sue Ardley, Marie Shield – thank you all.

Onwards and upwards. Our next fundraising initiatives focus on some smart tech solutions for accessibility, including audible notice boards, tactile ground lights and audible disabled toilet functions. If you’d like to donate you can call reception on 020 8688 2486 (we accept cash, card and cheques) or visit:


We’re building anticipation for our Cake Auction, which will now take place on the 28th of June. We’ll have four sumptuous cakes up for grabs; Victoria Sponge, Chocolate, Strawberry Cheesecake and an Apple Cake all freshly made by our Super Chef, Isha. Winners will be announced on the 12th July via social media and we’ll contact the winners directly.

Thank you for supporting the work we do here, your generosity keeps us going. This month special thanks go to MJ Barbour, Thelma Robinson, Andrew Botting and Jim Smith as well as a huge number of people who made generous donations via our Just Giving pages:


Communication Flow: Who to contact with what…

Thanks to all who attended the recent Service Enablers meeting, where we discussed the upcoming lift project amongst other matters. Another discussion point was about improving our communication pathway, to ensure we can all communicate matters to the right person, at the right time to find solutions, so we’ve put together this communication pathway to help:

Quick wins processes and ideas > Speak to Staff or Volunteers

Operational development > Speak to Service Enablers

Building for the long term > Speak to Susanette or Trustees

We are recruiting Members and Volunteers to join our Service Enablers Group. Interested? Please email: Natasha.t.Campbell@croydonvision.org.uk

Finally, a special pat on the back goes out to Lauren, who recently donated blood for the 50th time!

Lunch Takeaways – Transport Route (Tuesdays & Thursdays)

Currently many members miss out on Isha’s meals and we are trying to find ways to improve home delivery. Solution – If you live near members we collect and drop off on Tuesdays & Thursdays, we will deliver lunch to you. Please call reception to check eligibility. Alternatively, you can pick up lunch from Croydon Vision; Monday to Thursday.


Marilin has big plans for the future.

At the end of April, we hosted a Back to Work Workshop with Michael Spooner and David Williams. Marilin Salstrom, one of the Croydon Vision members in attendance, shared her experiences and plans for the future.

After my GAP year my parents were keen for me to build a career as a translator. I had the qualifications to go to Oxford or Cambridge but it wasn’t my passion and so I decided to go a different way. I’m now studying Psychology with Counselling at the Open University and I really like it. They’re excellent for visually impaired people as the books are all available in digital format and they have a dedicated Disability Team.

I find my subject absolutely fascinating. The gap between reality and the brain’s perception of reality really blows my mind. And I hope that by doing this I can create a stable living situation, plus do a job that’s useful.

This workshop has been fantastic, hearing about different job markets and getting feedback on my CV has been great. I’m pretty nervous as this afternoon we’re doing mock interviews. I’ve never had a job, so I’ve never had an interview. Actually, I suppose I should say I haven’t had a job YET; you’ve got to be optimistic about these things! Plus I should have a BSC after my name within two years, so there’s lots to look forward to!”

A photo of a mock interview from the workshop, with Michael,
David and Marilin asking the questions.

David, who helped to run the session, talked to us about the realities of looking for employment as a visually impaired person and top tips for engaging with the job market at the moment:

“I’m not pro-employer, I’m not pro-employee – I’m pro-employment. Everyone deserves to have a job to go to, not just to put money in their bank account but for their own sense of self-worth.

We make no bones about it, it’s an incredibly competitive job market out there. We need to be realists, so we’ve been talking today about techniques that can make a real, tangible difference, things like improving your CV, getting the most out of LinkedIn and smart networking.

What does that mean? Well, instead of trawling job websites and applying for anything and everything that seems decent, we encourage people to think of companies and organisations they’d like to work for.

The next step is reviewing that company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to see whether it’s a good fit. Many companies go out of their way to be inclusive of people who are blind or visually impaired. Looking up and connecting with the company’s Head of HR can then be a good way to get your foot in the door, or at least begin a conversation. You’ve got to be creative in your approach, get cute with it!

One of my favourite parts of sessions like this is always mock interviews. Michael and I play the interviewers but I also encourage delegates to join us on our side of the desk, so they can see how it feels. Questions like “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses,” or “Tell me about yourself,” are always difficult to field, so – as with anything – preparation is key in building confidence!

I walked away from a marketing management role to do what I do now; I’ve now trained more than two thousand people and days like today at Croydon Vision – as well as each and every success story I come across – tells me it was the right thing to do.”

Find out more about The Working Age Programme from Odette, our Community Dynamo, odette.battarel@croydonvision.org.uk or call
020 8688 2486 (Extension 2).


Odette: “What’s the worst that could happen…?”

Our Community Dynamo is all about using open communication, positivity and downright bravery to tackle the difficulties that can come with sight loss. You can hear her talk about Sight Loss Awareness Training, tennis and travelling independently across Europe amongst other things on the Our Voice Podcast.

Odette in her tennis skirt and purple Croydon Vision t-shirt, hitting a tennis ball against her garage door, as part of our Captain Tom 100 Challenge.

At the start of May we all took part in the Captain Tom 100 Challenge. Odette undertook hitting a tennis ball against her garage door 100 times in a row. On day one she managed no more than 25. The second day around the 70 mark was her best score. And on the third day SHE DID IT and her sponsorship helped us to hit the target for our new cooker!

This story of energy and determination is classic Odette. But here are five other things you might not know about our resident dynamo:

  1. She put together the audio tour for Lambeth Palace, to make it more accessible for visually impaired people.
  2. When she first lost her sight, Odette bribed herself with cake and
    ice-cream to leave the house on her own; using her white stick.
  3. She has been known to stretch the truth about her eye condition to throw off her opponents in games of VI tennis!
  4. She’s a professional dance teacher.
  5. Her mottos are “What’s the worst that could happen?” and
    “What’s your plan B?”


Peer Support – Start with Why

Personal growth is for everyone. So The Team at Croydon Vision relish taking part in Peer Support sessions, where we explore ideas to help each other be the best we can be. This quarter we’ve all been reading Simon Sinek’s superb book “Start With Why” and then exploring the thoughts and feelings it’s thrown up between us.

The basic premise of the book is how important it is to work out, probe and stay true to your ‘Why’, namely the purpose, cause or belief that drives you. Once you’ve established your ‘why’ it should motivate your ‘how’ and in turn your ‘what’.

On the face of it, ‘Start With Why’ may seem like a book about leadership or business but in reality Sinek’s ideas and ideals have the potential to permeate every part of our lives and crystallise our sense of purpose and as such our efficiency, success and sense of fulfilment.

We have audio recordings of the book in full at Bedford Hall, so please do get in touch with Natalie at reception if you’d like to explore it. In the meantime, here are a few questions we considered and discussed as a team after reading it:

  • What is your why? (i.e. What are you passionate about?)
  • How much is that ‘why’ part of your everyday life?
  • Are you able to be your authentic self in your day-to-day life?
  • How do you communicate your beliefs and values?
  • Who do you have around you who adds to your life?
  • What thoughts or activities distract you from your ‘why’?
  • What would you like colleagues, friends and family to say about you in a eulogy?

Simon Sinek also recorded one of the most popular TED talks of all time (54 million views and counting). Follow the link below to take a look:



Roald Dahl once said “Life is more fun if you play games.” A simple truth that’s easy to overlook. Sometimes there’s no better way to spend time with someone than by playing a game, so do take a look at the lo-tech, accessible games available at Bedford Hall next time you’re in…

  1. Connect 4

A classic game where you have to get four of your counters in a row before your opponent does. Our version has one set of solid counters and one set with holes in the middle, so you can tell whose is whose. Simple, competitive and utterly addictive!

  1. Chess

Our chess set is specially designed with raised and recessed squares, while the pieces have either points or pegs at their tops so you can tell them apart with ease. Anatoly Karpov, the Russian chess grandmaster once said, “Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.” so, look no further if you want to give your brain a good workout!

  1. Scrabble

Our large print version will enable you to pit your wits against a fellow logophile (lover of words). And just so you’re fully armed, the theoretical highest-scoring Scrabble word out there is OXYPHENBUTAZONE. This tongue twister of a word is the name of an anti-inflammatory drug that’s worth a whopping 1,458 points!

If you’d like to know more about any of the games mentioned here, please do give Katherine or Ola a call on 020 8688 2486.
Looking to upskill your IT knowledge? Contact us for a free session.


G’s Joke of the Month

Why do bees have sticky hair?

Because they use honey combs.

Overheard at Bedford Hall

“So many people don’t know about the Blind Person’s Allowance.”

Glen chatting with a member about it.

The Blind Person’s Allowance increases the amount of income you can have each year before you start paying tax. The Blind Person’s Allowance for the tax year 2021-22 is £2,520, regardless of your age or income and can be transferred to a spouse or civil partner. Do email glen.brazier@croydonvision.org.uk to find out more.

Conversation Starters:

  1. Father’s Day is on June 21st, who’s your favourite fictional father, mentor or community champion from film, TV or literature?
  2. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? Why?
  3. Summer Solstice is on June 21st, what sounds do you associate with summer?

Activity of the Month:

Visit randomactsofkindness.org – a website that is all about Random Acts of Kindness. As well as ideas on little ways to spread good vibes, it’s full of real-life stories of kindness to give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.


  1. Rice and____
  2. Ebony and ____
  3. Pen and _____
  4. Gin and _____
  5. Peaches and _____
  6. Bread and ______
  7. Table and _____
  8. Rum and _______
  9. Bricks and ______
  10. Dick and ___
  11. Bangers and ____
  12. Fred and ______
  13. Bat and ____
  14. Head and _________
  15. Jam and ___________
  16. Men and _______
  17. Noughts and _______
  18. Salt and _______
  19. Oranges and ________
  20. Apple and __________

If more than one answer is given, they are all acceptable.
1. Peas  2. Ivory  3. Paper  4. Tonic  5. Cream  6.Butter, jam, cheese  7. Chair  8. Raisin, coke  9. Mortar  10. Dom  11. Mash  12. Ginger, Wilma  13. Ball  14. Shoulders  15.Jerusalem, bread   16. Women  17. Crosses 18. Pepper, vinegar  19. Lemons  20. Pears, blackberries.


Eat Well, Live Well and Age Well.

Tuesday 1st June

Meat: Chicken and pasta bake served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked cod served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade angel delight or fruit salad with ice cream or yogurt


Wednesday 2nd June

Meat: Beef stew served with steamed vegetables and mash
Vegetarian: Meat free sausage and potato bake with steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade strawberry trifle or fruit salad served with ice cream and yogurt


Thursday 3rd June

Meat: Shepard’s pie served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked cod served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade chocolate brownie with custard or fresh fruit salad served with ice-cream or yogurt


Monday 7th June

Meat: Chili con carne with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked haddock served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Tuesday 8th June

Meat: Chicken casserole served with mash and steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Vegetable tikka served with rice or potatoes
Dessert: Homemade sponge cake served with custard or fruit salad with yogurt or ice-cream


Wednesday 9th June

Meat: Chicken fried rice served with mix salad
Fish: Baked salmon served with mixed salad and potatoes
Dessert: Homemade rice pudding with jam or seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice-cream


Thursday 10th June

Meat: Lamb stew served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Meat free sausages with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade panna cotta with berries or fruit salad with yogurt or ice-cream


Monday 14th June

Meat: Steak pie and mash served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked cod served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Summer fruit salad served with ice cream or yogurt


Tuesday 15th June

Meat: Roast chicken served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Ratatouille served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade apple crumble with custard or seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Wednesday 16th June

Meat: Pasta Bolognese served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked salmon served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade baked apples with custard or summer fruit salad served with ice cream or yogurt


Thursday 17th June

Meat: Chicken in breadcrumbs served with chips and baked beans
Vegetarian: Vegetarian burgers served with chips and baked beans
Dessert: Homemade chocolate sponge cake with custard or seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Monday 21st June

Meat: Cheesy pasta and chicken bake served with steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Cheesy pasta bake served with steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade semolina pudding or seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Tuesday 22nd June

Meat: Beef lasagne served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked cod with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade vanilla cheesecake or fruit salad with yogurt or ice-cream


Wednesday 23rd June

Meat: Chicken stew with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Vegetable stew with potatoes or rice and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade mixed berry crumble with custard or seasonal fruit salad with ice-cream or yogurt


Thursday 24th June

Meat: Roast pork with potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy
Vegetarian: Stuffed peppers with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade blueberry pie with custard or fruit salad with ice-cream or yogurt


Monday 28th June

Meat: Chicken fried rice served with steamed vegetables
Fish: Baked haddock served with potatoes steamed vegetables
Dessert: Seasonal fruit salad with yogurt or ice cream


Tuesday 29th June

Meat: Meatball stew with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Meat free meatball stew served with rice or potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade banoffee pie or fruit salad with yogurt or ice-cream


Wednesday 30th June

Meat: Roast chicken served with potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy
Fish: Baked salmon served with potatoes and steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade apple pie with custard or seasonal fruit salad with ice-cream or yogurt


Thursday 1st July

Meat: Cottage pie served with steamed vegetables
Vegetarian: Vegetable pasta Bolognese served with steamed vegetables
Dessert: Homemade plum tart with custard or fruit salad with ice-cream or yogurt


By Appointment Only

Monday – Thursday

Resource Centre, IT Sessions,
Advice & Advocacy.

By Appointment Only

Monday – Friday

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

Tuesday 8th June

From 9am – 12:30pm

Chiropodist (Joy Dell), please call Reception to book an appointment
Thursday 3rd June Our monthly Facebook Live event will be top tips and savvy hacks to help you get your finances in order: www.facebook.com/CroydonVision/videos
Friday 11th & Saturday
19th June
Living with Sight Loss Workshops, please call Reception for more details or to book.
  Croydon Vision Low Vision Clinic
(Fiona Hazell),
please call Reception to book an appointment.
  Moorfields Low Vision Clinic, please call Moorfields to make an appointment.

Every Friday

From 9am – 4pm

Aromatherapy (Sarah Parry), please call Reception to book an appointment.

All our Facebook live events can be found on the Croydon Vision website in our SEE hub. Follow the link below for replays inspiring podcasts:


Generational Diversity – which one are you?
In May, we hosted a session on Diversity – Culture, Generation & Thought. Using our differences as a catalyst to uplift one another…

The Gens Builders (Born 1929–1945) “Be grateful you have a job.”
Baby Boomers (Born 1946–1964) “I deserve better.”
Baby Busters/Gen X (Born 1965–1982) “Keep it real.”
Millennials/Gen Y (Born 1983–2000) “Life is a cafeteria.”
Home landers/Gen Z (Born 2001–2018) “I’m coping and hoping.”

On Culture: When did you last make the time to know someone different to you?

A member responded to the conversation saying; “I agree, we should all try to get to know other cultures. Until I came to Croydon in 2018, apart from in my work, I had not mixed with other cultures. I think living in Croydon is opening my eyes.”

On Thought: Is diversity of thought a side step from having tough conversations?

Watch the replay via SEE hub or contact Katherine/Ola for support.



We welcome your submissions for the next quarterly edition of Our Voice, the theme of which is creativity! Please submit via: Newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk

Contact us – Croydon Vision (Charity Number: 1165086):
Bedford Hall , 72-74 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR0 2AR
Our telephone opening times are:

Monday – 8.30am – 1pm

Tuesday to Thursday – 8.30am – 4pm

020 8688 2486


Help us to keep doing what we do…

Thank you for supporting the work we do here. One-off donations, standing orders and legacy donations are what keep us running Croydon Vision. If you’d like to donate you can call reception on 020 8688 2486 (we accept cash, card and cheques) or visit:


Jun 1, 2021

Related Articles

Related Articles

Our Voice – April 2024

Our Voice – April 2024

A note from Susanette Mansour 2023 brought a mix of opportunities and challenges. The highs, the lows and the in-betweens were evident throughout, and navigating them was both rewarding and exhausting. There’s a saying by Jim Rohn that puts things into perspective,...

read more
Discovering a diverse world!

Discovering a diverse world!

Volunteering at Croydon Vision has been such an eye-opening experience for me! Being new to the UK, I've learned loads about English society just by being part of this amazing community. What is even better is that I get to hang out with Croydon Vision members and...

read more


“A life saver & a life change”