“Happy Volunteers Week to our Amazing Team! – A Member said, They are my eyes when I can’t see.”- AJ.


It’s time to shape the next chapter…

I remain committed to serving you” were the words of Her Majesty The Queen and for over 70 years she dedicated her life to that promise, serving her country and the Commonwealth. She led with a steadfast commitment and was patron to over 600 charities.

We are in a new era nationally and so our theme for the coming months is very befitting; shaping the next chapter. This is an undertaking that can only be achieved through working together. Indeed, The Queen once said, “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”

It’s great to be back after summer with this Our Voice Newsletter. Our excursions, Summer Open Day and BBQ were fabulous events. So thanks to everyone for adding to the buoyant atmosphere, and here’s to many more events where we can come together, serve each other and build a brighter future for our vibrant community.

Now Autumn is upon us, it’s a good time to reflect and take stock of our successes so far this year, consider how far we have come, what we have learnt and how we can improve as we plan for the future. Shaping our ambitions and goals for the next chapter of Croydon Vision will be the theme for our AGM on 14th October.
We also plan to commemorate the life of The Queen, it will be a grateful goodbye and we hope to see you there.

So, in this edition of Our Voice, we’ll explore the new projects and activities available here, find out more about new members, long-standing volunteers, and ways we can all save money on energy as the colder months approach…


Our Services and Activities

FRIDAYS: Please note meetings with project officers are by appointment only.

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:

  • Activities for Children & Young People
  • Essential Home Visits
  • Croydon Vision’s Low Vision Clinic, October 20th (further dates TBC)
  • Chiropody on October 4th and November 15th
  • Advice & Advocacy sessions are available Monday to Thursday via appointment only.
  • Visual Awareness Workshops: 13th October 10-12.30pm for World Sight Day, 21st October 2-4.30pm, 24th November 10-12.30pm, 8th December 10-12.30pm
  • Glaucoma Eye Support Groups: October 3rd and December 5th
  • Living With Sight Loss Workshops: Thursday 17th November 10.30-1pm and Tuesday 22nd November 10.30-1pm
  • Macular Support Group: October 10th at 1pm,
    November 14th, December 12th

More dates for your diary…

13th October – World Sight Day
14th October – Croydon Vision AGM
1st November – Diabetes Awareness Month
15th December – Croydon Vision’s Christmas Party
17th December – Croydon Vision’s Children’s Christmas Party

There will be more information about what we have planned for the above coming soon and more events to come as we journey into 2023 – our Centenary year! Please do get in touch with Reception to find out more about – as well as be involved in – what’s coming up. We look forward to celebrating, reflecting and building the future of Croydon Vision with you!

Nabeela, our new Employment Officer

“My name is Nabeela Ali and my role is to advise and guide members through their Route to Employment journey. We had a meet and greet session when I first started here; it was great to get to know some members and from now on we’ll hold regular sessions. Coming up we’ll be looking at staying social, keeping active and hosting our first audio book group too. I want these services to help members upskill!”

Calling Croydon Vision – 020 8688 2486
Croydon Vision’s opening hours are Monday-Thursday, 08:30am-4pm and appointments only on Fridays. Our lines may be busy at times so if you are unable to get through and you’d like to make a booking, please leave a message and we’ll return your call. Remember, you’ll need to book lunch and transport by 4.30pm on the day before you wish to eat / travel.

Unfortunately there’s been an issue with our phone system recently, we appreciate your patience while we resolve it.
For Hall Hire enquiries please email hallhire@croydonvision.org.uk

 And finally we’d like to extend a fond farewell to ​​Mr Edward Bates, a much valued member of the Croydon Vision community. Sadly Mr Bates passed away on Monday the 12th of September, so we pass on our sincere condolences to his friends, family and all who were close to him.


Sarah has a fresh perspective on her sight loss…

Sarah has only recently been diagnosed as severely sight impaired, so she’s a relatively new Croydon Vision member. But a recent visit from Glen has changed the way she sees her future going and we’re going to be with her on that journey. My sight loss is caused by macular degeneration. I’ve had multiple operations and been told that it’s rarely in both eyes as mine is. I’ve also been told it’s rare at my age; I’m 37. Still, I don’t like to say I’m disabled, instead I have a unique ability. I arranged an appointment with Glen from Croydon Vision to apply for my PIP but we ended up having a proper chat and he actually took the time to get to know me. It was so refreshing that I could be transparent, vulnerable and tell my fears to someone I’d just met. I’ve always conditioned myself to “get on with it”; I come from a long line of strong, capable women! When life gives me lemons I make lemonade. It was only when Glen asked key questions that I realised I needed help with certain things – and that that was okay. He called me out in a gentle way that made me see things differently. With regards to my work he advised me to tell them about my condition, because they were obliged to support me, rather than penalise me (as I’d always feared). And now, when I go shopping and I ask for something and a shop assistant points me in the right direction I say, “I’m visually impaired, can you guide me please?” That’s big, for me and for them too I suppose.

Bharat and his award from the Mayor of Croydon

 Bharat has been volunteering at Croydon Vision for 12 years and will be celebrating his 80th birthday in January. He chatted to us about his journey to Croydon Vision and what volunteering with us means to him…
I was born in 1943 on a farm in India, we had cows and buffalo. My mum would wake up at 3am and again at 5am to feed the cows and give fresh milk to me and my brothers. I’d then go with her to deliver our milk to the orphans at the local hospital. I suppose working hard for others is in my blood. I learned braille while reading to blind pupils at a boys school in India, so many years later, when I saw Croydon Vision’s ad for a braille teacher, I got in touch. Braille isn’t used all that often now but I’ve managed to find other ways to be helpful. My energy comes as a blessing from God so I put it to use! Helping at the BBQ, going on excursions, running dance classes, mental health first aid training, even watering plants  – if you keep your eyes open you can always find ways to help without needing to ask or be asked. CV is a family, if I don’t come I miss it. Recently the Mayor of Croydon bestowed upon me a Lifetime Contribution Award for my volunteering. For me it’s simple, if I can help somebody I will.

 Join Bharat for dancing at Croydon Vision every Thursday morning 10.30-12pm – all levels of skill and experience are welcome!

Our solutions-focussed Bright Ideas Day

 The Staff Team got together to reflect, build unity and focus on what Croydon Vision’s bright future might look like.
Here are the key points we covered:

 Clarification of our Values, Culture and Vision:
Sense of belonging and ownership for members and team.
Place for improvement and growth by working with others and sharing ideas even if it is out of someone’s role description.
Diversity in income, business mindset.

Problem solving, positive new ways to tackle current obstacles:

Challenge 1: Promoting Croydon Vision.
Proposal: Contact communities that are prone to vision problems.

Challenge 2: Integrating new team members into our culture.
Proposal: Team catch ups on Tuesdays and quarterly days out.

Challenge 3: Team members feeling wary about being open.
Proposal: Everyone being open-minded, listening even if we don’t agree, asking questions, and avoiding judgement.

How Creativity Can Improve Your Health

 Maya Angelou said “You can’t use up creativity, the more you use the more you have.” and recent studies have found that creative pursuits are seriously good for your health. Here are three ways a creative hobby or activity can give you a boost:

 Physical Health: As well as improving your dexterity, repetitive creative motions like knitting or drawing help activate ‘flow’, which is the state you get in when you’re completely absorbed in something. They also help you achieve a ‘result’, which floods your brain with dopamine, everyone’s favourite feel-good chemical!

 Brain Health: Research has proven that creative engagement – in everything from pottery to music appreciation – not only reduces depression and isolation, but can also help people with dementia tap back into their personalities and sharpen their senses.

 Emotional Health: The average person has about 60,000 thoughts in a day. Creative acts help focus the mind, and have even been compared to meditation due to their calming effects on the brain and body. Creativity reduces anxiety, depression, and stress and painting or drawing has been shown to help people express trauma or experiences that they find too difficult to put into words.

 Keen to tap into your creativity? We have a whole host of creative activities available to you at Croydon Vision. Please call reception to find out more and book your place 020 8688 2486

Energy Saving Tips from Glen

Hello Croydon Vision members, it’s Glen here and I’d like to discuss a subject with you all that is very dear to my heart. As we know there is an energy crisis, as well as a cost of living crisis, two issues that are inextricably linked and mean we could all be paying nearly £2,000 more for our gas and electricity than this time last year. Here are 5 tips on ways to save hundreds of pounds each year:

  1. Careful with that kettle! Boiling full kettles means we waste around £68 million worth of energy a year as a country. By only boiling the amount of water you need, you could save up to a third of the energy you’ve been using.
  2. Do full laundry loads! Half-load settings save very little energy, so a full load is much more energy efficient. Always opt for full loads.
  3. Use the eco settings! Dishwashers and boilers have eco settings that heat water more slowly, using less energy. You get the same results; it just takes a little longer.
  4. Use your microwave more! Microwaves are energy saving because they’re quicker than ovens and stoves. And bonus points for slow cookers; one of the most energy-efficient kitchen appliances.
  5. Unplug all your chargers! Across the country, people are unnecessarily overcharging their mobile phones, MP3 players, and laptops. Instead, unplug devices as soon as they’re charged. As well as saving you up to £60 per year, it’ll prolong battery life too!

Joanne is on the hunt for tech to improve your day.

Joanne, our resident Tech Trainer is all about shaping our next chapter from a technological perspective. So what does her wish list for the coming year look like? And how would she like to work with members in the weeks and months to come?

RESEARCH: November will be an important month for tech at Croydon Vision. I’m excited to be attending the Sight Village expo with Odette on the 8th in Kensington. Sight Village is basically a bit of a tech fest, with accessibility at its heart. I can’t wait to explore the latest tech developments in the Visual Impairment sphere and network to build our reputation within the sight loss community.

DEVELOPMENT: Off the back of our learnings from Sight Village I’m looking to re-launch a new and updated tech department. This resource will make it easy for our members to discover new gadgets that promote independent living.

CONNECTION: Tours of the new department and drop-in training sessions will help me to connect with members and put them into contact with the gadgets that can have the most impact on their lives.

EDUCATION: I want to start pulling together ‘Know How’ content about the tech offering here, and posting it online. The how-to videos I want to create should help to empower our members, as well as the visually impaired community at large. If you’d like to appear in some do get in touch!


“I’ve had such a lovely day on the Thames boat trip! The guide was very clear and interesting, he presented the history of the buildings, we had a great time and we found so many interesting things about London. The staff and volunteers were also very helpful, and they looked after us all the time. At the end, we had a really nice meal!” Mary made the most of our summer excursions!

Demand for excursion soared this year; an increase from 8 to 11ppl per trip. Total number of attendance was 102! Thanks to everyone who helped to make them so fun and memorable.

“Glen and I had a wonderful time meeting new people at the Justice Picnic recently, which was organised by the Law Centre. It was great to have an event with food, drink and speakers out in the Park and our networking resulted in a lot of interest in Croydon Vision’s Visual Awareness Workshops.” Odette and other members of the team are regularly out in the community spreading the word about what we do here.

Have you heard of The Purple Pound?
The ‘Purple Pound’ refers to the spending power of disabled households, and is becoming recognised as a powerful and underserved part of our economy. Since more than 1 in 5 potential UK consumers have a disability, businesses lose approximately £2 billion a month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

So if you’re ever out shopping and feel marginalised because of visual impairment (see Sarah’s story in the Member Voice section) do try to remember that you’re part of a strong group of people with serious buying power, who should not be underestimated.

Learn more: https://wearepurple.org.uk/the-purple-pound-infographic/


  1. How many months does the average American spend waiting at a red light over their lifetime?
  2. How many films was Elvis Presley in between 1956 and 1969?
  3. Which tennis star won the Australian Open while pregnant with her first child?
  4. What is the tiny piece at the end of a shoelace called?
  5. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, how long is the longest ever wedding veil?
  6. What is the national animal of Scotland?
  7. The voices of Mickey and Minnie Mouse got married in real life, how long were they married for?
  8. Approximately how many grapes go into one bottle of wine?
  9. ‘Triskaidekaphobia’ is a phobia of what number?
  10. In Northern Canada a ‘fluffle’ is the collective noun for what animal?

Thanks to members and volunteers who have helped create quizzes for Our Voice. If you’d like to contribute, please email your questions to newsletter@croydonvision.org.uk

1. 6
2. 31
3. Serena Williams
4. An aglet
5. Nearly 23,000 feet, the same length as about 63.5 football fields
6. Unicorn
7. 18 years      
8. 700     
9. 13   
10. Bunnies

Fancy being in Our Voice? We’d love for you to email us with stories, experiences, tips and tricks and reviews, so we can share then with the rest of our community! Please submit via: info@croydonvision.org.uk

Croydon Vision – Charity Number: 1165086

Bedford Hall, 72-74 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR0 2AR info@croydonvision.org.uk 020 8688 2486

Monday- Thursday: 8.30am–4pm Friday: Appointments only.


Sep 30, 2022

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“A life saver & a life change”