Our Voice – April 2022
What can you bring to Croydon Vision?
As we mark the halfway point between last year’s AGM and this year’s, we’re taking a look at what we’ve achieved so far and where we’ll be focusing our efforts next. Installing the lift and revamping our building was a huge step in terms of accessibility and should be a springboard for future targets.
Our centenary is coming up, which is an enormous watershed for Croydon Vision. Perhaps one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last 100 years is the way our members are now an empowered part of our vibrant community. Let’s build on that culture of empowerment as we ask:
Where do you see Croydon Vision in the next 3 years, the next decade, and the next 100 years?
And perhaps, more importantly, how can you be part of where we’re headed?
The theme of this newsletter is leaning in and asking, ‘What can
Croydon Vision do for me, and furthermore, what can I do for Croydon Vision?’. Will you attend more activities, become part of our service user feedback groups, help us connect with new organisations, consider volunteering or help with fundraising? The possibilities for being an active member of Croydon Vision are huge. So whatever you see in your – and our – future, let’s get there together.
TOGETHER, WE CAN BUILD TO SUSTAIN
By Nigel & Susanette
Spring is here and what better way to celebrate than by welcoming our members and volunteers back to Bedford Hall?
The past couple of months have been challenging, as we undertook the lift and building works, as well as some changes and growth within the staff. In the midst of these challenges, there were opportunities for collaboration and enhanced teamwork: volunteers and staff working together in the hall, adapted services, virtual groups, home visits and activities in the community.
A huge thank you to everyone involved, for all your fantastic support and help during the past few months, it truly was an impressive team effort by so many people.
The building works to improve our premises, including the new lift, are now completed. This has been a significant investment of both time and money and is an important step in our ambition to provide the best possible services and facilities for our members.
It is also an important step in terms of generating income for the charity, which will in turn enable us to transform more lives for people with sight loss. Diversifying our income stream is needed like never before, to ensure we are sustainable for the long term, and here for our members for years to come.
Away Day 2022
We’re now looking forward to July 2023, when we’ll mark our Centenary. We want this to be a celebration of the Croydon Vision community, as well as a springboard into the next 100 years; exploring ways to continue to improve facilities and services for decades to come.
With this goal in mind, we will be hosting an Away Day on 27th May
2022 from 10-4pm. The location will be within Croydon and transport will be provided as required.
Please save the date and call reception to book your place. We want you to feel heard and be clear on how the evolution of Croydon Vision impacts and improves your experience. We may not get it right, but we will always strive to make it right.
Thank you all once again for your help and support.
We look forward to seeing you at Croydon Vision soon and celebrating with you at the upcoming Gala Dinner!
Navigating the Changes to Croydon Vision
We want you to feel comfortable and welcome at the new and improved Croydon Vision, so below you’ll find a description of the new layout from bottom to top. To take an audio description tour of the building please book a time at reception or within your group; we’d be very happy to show you around, from 4th April.
The lift now connects all floors from the basement to the 2nd floor.
Within the basement, the two main rooms have been knocked through to create one large, multipurpose space, similar to the hall.
This will be used by the Art group (materials to be kept in a separate storage room afterwards), and also for Visual Awareness Workshops. If you have any ideas for other services or use for the space please speak to Natasha.
When not in use, this spacious, versatile room can be hired out to local businesses and community organisations to raise funds for Croydon Vision.
The basement is also home to:
- a small kitchen, which can be used to demonstrate kitchen skillsand equipment as part of our Visual Awareness Workshops.
- a dedicated pottery room for groups of 5-6 and a separate kiln.
- two toilets, one with accessible features.
The entrance to reception has been modified, so please do request a tour when you first come back to Croydon Vision.
We’ve now expanded the resource centre to include an IT Hub for independent computer use, group training, and one-to-one sessions. You’ll find the Low Vision Clinic is in the same room as before the building.
Within the toilets, which are now audio described, you’ll also find mixer taps (rather than separate hot and cold), in response to requests from members.
The wall that separated the two different halves of the building is now gone! The new corridor connecting them means the rooms are smaller but more easily accessed. As well as office space, the first floor is home to a meeting room for Advice & Advocacy and membership appointments.
This includes the tech studio and two new rooms available for versatile use. Our medium-term aim is to work on holistic ways of delivering our services. Having more partners working together in these spaces will mean we can deliver services more effectively to our community.
The toilets on the second floor are unisex, while gender specific toilets are available on the other floors, these can of course be accessed via the new lift!
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT BEDFORD HALL, AND BEYOND
Now the building work is complete, activities are back to normal and running as follows:
Bowls (fortnightly) 10:30am-12:30pm
Music Appreciation (fortnightly) 10:30am–12:30pm
Quiz Group 10:30pm-12:30pm
Touch Group 11am-12:30pm
Mental Aerobics 1:30pm-3pm
Art, Craft & Pottery on hold as we source new tutors
French (fortnightly) – 1:30pm-2:30pm
Keep Fit 10:30am-12:30pm
Moorfields Low Vision Clinic (Appointment Only)
Morning Social Group 11am-12:30pm
Lunch and transport are available from Monday to Thursday and can be booked via reception on 020 8688 2486
Other services and activities you can book via reception:
- Holiday activities for Children & Young People
- Essential Home Visits
- Croydon Vision’s Low Vision Clinic
- Advice & Advocacy and Personal Development sessions are available Monday to Thursday via appointment only.
- Living With Sight Loss Workshops Thursday 16th and Friday
24th June 10.30am – 1pm (please book via reception)
Thursday Afternoon Social Group Changes…
We’re currently looking for a volunteer to run our popular Thursday afternoon Social Group. The group gets together from 1:30pm until 3pm, if you or someone you know, would like to get involved, please contact reception on 020 8688 2486.
Thanks to everyone who took part in our lunch survey, it’s helped us understand and hopefully improve the level of service and value for money that we offer. As you’ll know the cost of food and utilities are increasing globally, so thanks to your feedback we feel it is fitting to increase the cost of lunch in line with that to £6. This will take effect from April 4th.
Tech and Vacancies Update
We are in the process of recruiting for tech roles but in the interim, IT sessions will be on pause. As of going to print we’ve recruited an Employment Officer, Project Manager and Member Liaison Officer as part of our Lost 500 project. We’re still in the process of recruiting a Volunteer Liaison, Office Manager and Tech Trainer, so please do spread the word if you know anyone who might fit those roles.
Monday 4th April, Unveiling the Lift – 11.30am onwards
We can’t wait to see you at Croydon Vision for the unveiling of our new lift. A few members will cut the ribbon and then of course you’re welcome to join staff, volunteers and trustees in giving the lift a try! Please contact reception for further information on 020 8688 2486.
Friday 8th April – Our Big Bright and Bold Gala Dinner
We’re looking forward to fine food, great company and entertainment plus a chance to dress up! Tickets on sale now.
Tuesday 12th April – 9.30-12.30 – Chiropody appointments available.
Call reception on 020 8688 2486 to book.
Thursday 14th April 12.30 – 1.30 – Easter Lunch
Come and join us for an Easter celebration! Scrummy mains of either roast lamb or pan fried seabass will be followed by Isha’s special Easter egg tarts – all for just £6! Book via reception: 02086882486
Thursday 21st April – 9.30-11.30 – Low Vision Clinic.
Call reception on 020 8688 2486 to book a half-hour appointment.
Friday 27th May – 10am-4pm – Croydon Vision Away Day
This dynamic, inclusive event will be focused on planning for the next stage of Croydon Vision’s Strategic Plan. It will be held at an external venue within Croydon (TBC) and transport will be made available for those who require it. To book your place and have an impact on our future please call reception: 020 8688 2486.
And finally some fond farewells.
It is with great sorrow that we say goodbye to two much-loved Croydon Vision members, Valerie Smith and Phyllis Daws. We’re sending love to their friends and family and sympathy at this time of loss.
Theodore has been busy getting involved.
It’s always great to have new members join Croydon Vision. Theodore is a pretty recent addition to our vibrant community, and we love the way he’s been getting stuck in to all the services we offer – and making big plans for the future too…
I first heard about Croydon Vision from my mum. She saw a group of members out in Croydon and thought that it would be good for me to sign up. I joined Croydon Vision in November and have felt so welcomed.
I have done a variety of things since joining, such as attending the social groups, having lunch and making new friendships. Recently, I have been on some of the excursions, and I have really enjoyed them.
It’s been great getting out of the house and keeping active. I’ve played a few games of bowling and I even won one of the games. I also enjoyed eating out at the restaurants; my favourite was certainly Nandos!
One goal I’d like to achieve this year would be to find a job. I look forward to enrolling into the employment programme at Croydon Vision. I really think that could turn things around for me.
Do you know someone who could benefit from being part of Croydon Vision? Please do let them know about our community and services. It really is the more the merrier around here!
Coral has been loving the bowling!
I have so enjoyed going out on excursions with members this year. Spending time with everyone has taught me that people with a visual impairment are excellent at bowling!
The first time we met to go bowling was at Valley Park at the start of January. At first, because we didn’t know you could put the barriers up on the sides of the alley, everyone was losing; it was really funny! Then, after we discovered the barriers lots of people became experts, though I still kept losing!
Valley Park bowling is an accessible, warm, and friendly environment. During our trips there we’ve met other social groups with different disabilities, we’re building friendships as we continue to go bowling on a weekly basis.
The games usually last for an hour but it doesn’t stop there! Afterwards we often go to different restaurants; Frankie and Benny’s is my favourite. All the restaurants in Valley Park have been so accommodating and I am truly impressed with how they adjust to our needs.
Bowling is great for getting everyone out of the house. It kept us connected during the building work at Croydon Vision and I hope it’ll carry on now we’re back!
Please do contact reception if you’d like to take part in the next bowling trip by email@example.com or phoning
020 8688 2486
STAFF VOICE: It’s been six months since our AGM – where are we now?
As well as reporting on what we achieved last year, our 2021 Annual Review laid out ambitious plans to help us retain laser focus moving forward. Below you’ll find four of the clear goals we had for this year, and what we’re doing to achieve them.
- Further embed our ‘Heart of a Charity, Mindset of a Business’ model.
This is all about making CV less reliant on grants, instead, diversifying our income stream so we can build to sustain. We now have a ‘Build to Sustain’ Group made up of members, volunteers and staff, which is focused on the future of CV. We’re working together and sharing ideas to make sure we’re still here and flourishing in years to come, with some clear targets:
> To raise £1.5m by July 2023 (Phase 2), to reach more people.
> To plan five Big & Bold events counting down to our centenary.
> To raise £5m in 3 years, to develop Phase 3 for Croydon Vision.
- Collaborating with external organisations.
We’re now working closely with Croydon College, Barchester
Foundation, Croydon Hub, Age UK, Croydon’s Sensory Team and Asian Resource Centre, running workshops and events. Projects like these will help us grow as a community and build win-win bridges across Croydon. If you’re connected to an organisation you think we could work with, please put us in touch.
- Activating ‘The Lost 500’; reaching people who’ve fallen between the gaps in the referral system.
We are delighted to have received a three-year funding to undertake this work. Key outcomes from the project will be:
- To empower visually impaired people to look after their health and wellbeing; to remain independent.
- To improve the inclusion of visually impaired people with sight loss in the labour market.
- To help overcome technological and digital exclusion.
Odette says; “It’s been great being out in the community, raising awareness of diversity in the workplace. The workshops I’ve held at Royal Russell School and Croydon College have really served to highlight the importance of employing disabled people and the talents and the support available for both organisations and individuals. It’s been great to get out there to inspire people and change perceptions of what’s possible.”
- Improve the referral pathway between statutory, medical and support services.
Communication between Croydon Vision and Moorfields has been hugely improved since they started conducting consultations here. This partnership has opened up the doorway to new members joining our community, as well as helping us to build ways of working together.
To refresh your memory of the plans we laid out in our 2021 Annual Review, please do visit the Croydon Vision website. You’ll find both text and audio versions of the document at:
A Culture of Giving
Fostering a culture of giving in your life has now been proven to help boost both mental and physical health. We look at three ways generosity can increase your sense of wellness and then some easy ways to make it happen:
Giving makes you feel happy. Your brain’s pleasure circuits are stimulated by acts of charity and release feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, for a sense of euphoria, and oxytocin, which promotes tranquillity and inner peace.
Giving is good for your health. Stress is the catalyst for many known health issues. Research shows that those who can give either time or money often experience lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, diminished anxiety and depression and increased self-esteem.
Giving promotes social connection. Studies show that when you give to others, they tend to ‘pay it forward’ or return it in kind. So essentially, giving is contagious!
So, we know giving is a good idea. But how can you put it into practice?
VOLUNTEER: We’re always looking for friendly new volunteers to help at Croydon Vision. There are lots of different ways to volunteer here so whatever your skills are, we can help you to use them!
DONATE: Standing order donations really do make a huge difference to the work we do here, here’s a reminder of what your money can do:
£6 is a hot, healthy meal in the company of others.
£8 is a safe minibus trip to and from Croydon Vision.
£10 is life-changing training on the latest assisted technology for a visually impaired person.
£20 is a confidence building excursion, such as the Science Museum, for two children.
£30 is a transformational workshop to help people adjust to living with a visual impairment.
£100 is an audio described theatre trip for a group of 10 people.
One-off donations via our Just Giving page can also help us reach targets for specific projects. You can find out more here:
SHOP WITH PURPOSE: Easy Fundraising automatically makes a donation to Croydon Vision when you shop online through a whole host of different websites. Do pass this on to friends and family so we can all raise money through online shopping. You can get started by visiting:
MAKE A LEGACY DONATION: No-one likes to think about passing on but setting up a legacy donation to a charity that makes a real difference to people’s lives, can add a silver lining to a difficult topic. If you’d like to talk to us about setting up a legacy donation to Croydon Vision in your will please do get in touch.
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TAKING CARE OF EACH OTHER
Need help with your bills?
As the cost of energy and utilities increases, we wanted to pass on a helpful update and key info for Thames Water customers.
Earlier in the year Helen Griffith, who is funded by Thames Water Trust Fund, got in touch. Her job is to advise on water debt and efficiency and also to ensure people are getting any discounts they are entitled to (such as Water Help and Water Sure).
She is very happy to advise on the Priority Services Register and the
Thames Water Payment Matching Scheme. She can also access the Thames Water Trust Fund for grants and help with things like fuel vouchers, white goods and other items.
If you are a Thames Water customer and would like some advice from Helen, Glen, our People’s Champion, can put you in touch: Tel: 07458301453 Email: email@example.com
Glen has also put together a helpful summary of Rishi Sunak’s recent Spring Statement, to help us stay on top of our finances:
- The income tax threshold (the point people start paying National Insurance) has risen to £12,570 starting from July 2022. This represents a tax cut for employees that’s worth £330.
- Fuel duty has been cut by 5p per litre until March 2023.
- Local Authorities will receive another £500m for the Household Support Fund from April 2022 to help vulnerable households to cope with the rising cost of living.
Please do contact Glen, our resident Advice & Advocacy expert, if you need help or advice on the rising cost of living.
LIFESTYLE AND COMMUNITY
Overheard at Bedford Hall
“Do you require ear syringing? Then please do get in touch with The
Hearing Centre Croydon University Hospital (CUH) on 020 8401 3000. Some GPs may tell you that you need to pay (£40+) for the service at either Boots or Specsavers, but you can in fact have your ears syringed for free at either Selsdon or Brigstock Medical Centre by booking through the Hearing Centre.”
Thanks to Croydon Vision member and volunteer Jim for the tip!
- Spring is here – what sound puts a spring in your step?
- Can you think of an old friend you’ve lost touch with who you would like to catch up with? Perhaps this spring is the perfect time to reconnect…
- The team at Croydon Vision are starting to think about summer excursions – where is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go? Let us know!
Try something different…
As you’ll have read in our Volunteer Voice section (page 12) there’s now a keen group of bowlers at Croydon Vision. They tend to play with the gutter barriers up to make life slightly easier but there are some skilled players in our community and it’s always lots of fun.
To get involved in their next trip to Valley Park do call reception on:
020 8688 248
CROYDON VISION’S GIVING QUIZ
- Since founding the Imagination Library in 1995, which country and western singer has donated 100 million books to children?
- Which outlaw famously ‘took from the rich, to give to the poor’?
- What is the name of the actor from Ocean’s 11 and Good Will Hunting, who co-founded the clean water charity, water.org?
- Who sang the 1987 hit ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’?
- Oprah Winfrey has donated nearly $240 million via her own charity, but in what US state was she born?
- Complete the phrase: Charity begins at ______.
- In 2019, which Scottish city did the charity website GoFundMe reveal was the most generous city in Britain?
- What was the name of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun, who was born in 1910 and died in 1997?
- Which Saint, widely known for his generosity and kindness, is thought to be the inspiration for today’s Santa Claus?
- Anne Frank wrote: “No one has ever become poor by giving.” In what country was she born?
Thanks to members and volunteers who have helped create quizzes for Our Voice. If you’d like to contribute, please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Answers: 1. Dolly Parton 2. Robin Hood 3. Matt Damon
- Rick Astley 5. Mississippi 6. Home 7. Edinburgh
- Mother Teresa 9. Nicholas 10. Germany