“Croydon Vision will have to start charging me rent soon, as I want to move in!” R Johnson

Newsletter

Celebrating Our Centenary!

Our Voice is now quarterly, the next issue will be in October.
Please get in touch if you have something you’d like us to include.

A Warm Welcome from Susanette

Celebrating our Centenary as well as building on a legacy, laying the foundation for the next 100yrs…

Momentum is building as we approach our Centenary celebration.

We have 2 key dates for diary and a synopsis of our Strategic plan:

21st July – Summer Sizzling BBQ at Croydon Vision

This event is all about celebrating our Vibrant Community 100yrs.

We will be:

  • Launching our Strategy Plan 2023-26
  • Promoting our Gala dinner and Friends of Croydon Vision
  • Running intergenerational activities including games and workshops.

6th October – Gala Dinner 2023

It’s been really good to see interest from Members and the Team (volunteers and staff), as well as business partners and funders. This year, to honour our centenary, we are building a collaboration of brilliance known as Friends of Croydon Vision; We are looking for 100 like-minded individuals to engage with and participate in our organisation, giving back to their local community and thereby transforming more lives.

The Gala dinner and celebration will include a mix of reflections on our strong foundation, the new now and our future. We have big plans that focus on the next three years, but also build for the next 100 years as well.

Our Strategy 2023-26

In recent years, Croydon Vision has worked on transforming as an organisation, to improve the lives of members and broaden our appeal to all age groups, improving communications, deepening community engagement and developing new strategic partnerships.

Our membership has traditionally been made up of those with the most severe sight loss in our community. Now Croydon Vision is ready to move forward and use our knowledge of visual impairment, acquired over 100 years, to help prevent avoidable sight-loss within the borough and beyond. Our goal is to embrace the entire sight loss community, from those with a mild diagnosis to individuals who are registered as blind.

Our key strands of focus will be on transforming lives, promoting independence and giving back; achieving success through three strategic priorities:

  1. Prevention of avoidable sight loss:

Working within the community with thought leaders, businesses, educational establishments, healthcare professionals and other care providers, to ensure important messaging about eye health is understood and acted upon by all.

  1. Practical Support – Our 5 Steps Model:

The journey from surviving to thriving – celebrating each step…

Step 1: Rebuilding – Connecting with Croydon Vision’s vibrant community. Offering Advice & Advocacy, counselling, peer support and activities that promote wellbeing.

Step 2: Re-direction – Walking alongside each person on their journey and designing an individualised plan of action tailored to their specific needs.

Step 3: Upskilling – Improving social mobility through education, technology, and digital inclusion. Providing coaching, mentorship, intergenerational activities and encouraging the power of learning and sharing together.

Step 4: Applying Knowledge – Engaging individuals with volunteering opportunities, routes into employment, business planning and more.

Step 5: From Surviving to Thriving – Guiding towards employment or entrepreneurship, becoming ambassadors and/or change agents.

  1. Building to Sustain the next 100yrs.

To incorporate sustainability (financial) in all areas of operation.

Drive the vision to have a new, purpose-led building that will: a) facilitate greater engagement with the community

  1. open up more opportunities for the wider sight loss community in the borough
  2. incorporate the means to establish long-term financial security.

Big thanks to members, the team and external partners that participated in our Away Day and focus groups to collaborate and develop this plan. We appreciate your time, gold mines of knowledge and dedication.

For a full copy of our latest strategic plan (hard copy or audio), please ask at reception or visit croydonvision.org.uk/downloads/

WHAT’S HAPPENING

AT BEDFORD HALL, AND BEYOND

Our Services and Activities

MONDAYS:

  • Game On (fortnightly) – 10.30am–12pm
  • Social Group – 10.30am-12pm
  • Music Appreciation (fortnightly) – 10.30am-12pm
  • Tech drop-in sessions – 10:30am-15:30pm
  • Craft – 1.30pm–3pm

TUESDAYS:

  • Quiz Group – 11am-12pm Mental Aerobics – 1.30pm-3pm
    *Cost £4

WEDNESDAYS:

  • Cooking Class – 10am–11.30am and 1pm-3pm
    *Cost £5 each
  • Keep Fit – 10.30am–12pm
    *Cost £4
  • Tech drop-in sessions – 10:30am-15:30pm
    *Cost £4
  • Route to Success sessions – 1.30pm – 3pm
    *Cost £4
  • Art / Pottery – 1.30pm–3pm
    *Cost £4

*Creative sessions are only confirmed to run from July to September, as we await news on further funding.

THURSDAYS:

  • Breakfast Club 9.15am-10.15am
    *£5
  • Counselling – 9am-5pm
  • Dancing – 10.30am-12pm
  • Social Group – 10.30am-12pm
  • Community Choir (fortnightly) – 1.30pm-2.30pm
  • Audiobook Club – 1.30pm-3pm
  • Advice & Advocacy drop in sessions between 1.30-2.30pm
    (each session lasts 15 minutes)

Lunch and transport are available from Monday to Thursday and can be booked via reception on 020 8688 2486

A gentle reminder, our lunches will be increasing to £7 in October.

Other services and activities you can book via reception:

  • Activities for Children & Young People
  • Low Vision Clinic: 20th July, 24th August, 21st September
  • Chiropody: 13th June, 25th July, 5th September
  • Macular Support Group: 12th June, 10 July, 13th August, 11th September

Summer Excursions

Our year-round excursions will be continuing every Tuesday and Friday throughout the summer. All our members are encouraged to come along as we have some exciting trips planned including a visit to Margate, an orchestra performance, summer picnics and many more! If you would like to book or get a copy of the excursions programme, please see or call reception.

Dates for your diary…

The Centenary Summer Sizzle will be held on Friday 21st July from 12-4pm, featuring games, food, music, eye health activities and fun, interactive workshops. It’s complimentary to all members. However, we welcome any contributions towards getting a new freezer. Please do join us to celebrate Croydon Vision’s big birthday!

ID: The centenary summer sizzle poster, containing the details of the event surrounded by blue, orange and gold balloons and three photos of members enjoying different activities at Croydon Vision.

Our Gala Dinner will now be held on the 6th October. We can’t wait to get together to celebrate Croydon Vision’s Centenary, to book tickets please contact reception.

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 by 10am on the day you wish to reserve and allow 24 hours notice for transport booking.

For Hall Hire enquiries please email hallhire@croydonvision.org.uk

MEMBER VOICE:

Christopher and his passion for photography.

Christopher Beanland joined Croydon Vision in April this year.

Since joining he’s already embraced excursions, the delights of Isha’s cooking and using the IT Tech Hub we offer to harness his passions for physics and photography. We chatted to him to find out more…

Tell us a bit about yourself… I’m 74 years old, but as a boy I worked as a photographer in the Royal Navy. As well as reconnaissance photography, I’d capture events and things, anything that put the Royal Navy in a good light! Then in 1974 I went through a windscreen and lost the vision in my right eye. After that I left the navy and worked as a professional card player, as a bridge host. The sight in my left eye isn’t good but it changes from day to day, almost in line with my moods, and I now have cataracts in that eye too.

How did you find out about Croydon Vision? The Wellbeing Centre in Croydon told me about Croydon Vision and as a result I now attend and help out at both. I’m at Croydon Vision at least three times a week. The staff are good – every problem I have Sarah solves, or Daniel solves. They’re a marvel. I love the hall, and the excursion to Kew was good too. I find the noise quite overwhelming sometimes because I’m not used to it, but the atmosphere is a happy one; people enjoying each other’s company. And through visiting Croydon Vision I’m tapping into my passions for physics and photography…

In what way? Daniel, the Accessibility IT Trainer is helping me to set up a blog to document my love of physics and display my photographs. Maybe I’ll run photography workshops too. My secret is, I only photograph that which is beautiful. Or if it’s not beautiful, I find an aspect that is beautiful. I love to capture sunsets, steam trains, wildlife and flowers and I’ve taken the best picture of a daisy you’ve ever seen. How? Simple. I took its portrait.

Would you recommend CV to others? If so, how would you describe it?

Oh yes, absolutely. It’s just a very helpful place to be and an asset to people with sight loss.

An example of Christopher’s stunning photography. A portrait of blossom taken in close up, the soft pinks and whites of the petals contrast beautifully with the green foliage and blue sky in the background.

VOLUNTEER VOICE:

Maria loves it here – Simple as that.

As someone who’s been volunteering at Croydon Vision for 12 years, Maria still gets so much joy from being here. And as the Centenary approaches she’s glad to be part of 100 years of helping local people…

How did you first start volunteering at Croydon Vision? I used to be a nurse in the eye unit at Croydon University Hospital; part of my job was meeting with the different services that patients might be referred to. One of those was what is now Croydon Vision. I never wanted to retire and do nothing – you’ve got to do something! so volunteering at Croydon Vision was a natural fit. That was around 12 years ago and I’ve never looked back.

How do you feel about the approaching Centenary?

One hundred years of helping people is a huge milestone, it really means a lot! Things have certainly changed since I first knew this place, Susanette has taken it to a whole new level, into the 21st Century. And it’s good! There have been lots of improvements over the years and long may it go on.

What makes Croydon Vision so strong?

Well, we’ve survived cuts, Covid, and so many changes, and we’re still going and offering services to the people. Plus membership is increasing, which is always a good thing. The variety of Croydon Vision’s members is wonderful. My group is mostly made up of over 60s and it goes up to almost 103! Elsie, reached her own centenary during Covid and is still going strong, she comes into Croydon Vision in person occasionally but usually joins us over the phone, she doesn’t like to miss anything!

What are some common misconceptions about blind and partially sighted people?

Well the good thing is that disability has now become less taboo. But of course the common misconception is that if you’re blind you can’t do very much. If you go to Croydon Vision you realise – and it’s very humbling – how even with poor or no eyesight, life goes on. All our members have found a different way to live, their sight is missing but they make use of their other senses, and their lives can still be full. And useful too; there are so many people here who’ve joined as members and gone on to find a job or to volunteer. It’s very inspiring. And of course with new technology and all the aids you can use, it’s a marvel. The Resource Centre here is wonderful for that!

If you had a magic wand, what would you add to Croydon Vision?

More funds, that would enable us to have more excursions, they’re very popular. Visits to gardens and concerts are so lovely, and recently I went as a guide to Fairfield Hall to a concert with six of our members, that was great, so we’d love more of those!

Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering here? Being with the members, I just love being in Croydon Vision. It’s as simple as that. It’s the joy I get from being with people here, and I value that a lot. In fact I love it. It’s the heart that there is in this place that keeps me coming back.

Would you or someone you know like to start volunteering for

Croydon Vision? Please do get in touch with reception on

020 8688 2486 to find out how you can become part of the team.

STAFF VOICE:

Planning ahead for a bright future.

Bright Ideas Days are all about staff coming together with the key strategic aim in mind of improving CV by working together more effectively. So far we’ve had Bright Ideas Days in February and June this year. In June, we focused on bridging gaps and building for the future:

Following the Bright Ideas Day, team members were encouraged to be more intentional about their learning, what will they apply, change and teach/share (ACT) with each other. Another action was to describe the day in one word, see below:

Inspirational               Wholesome               New                   Reflective

Interesting                  Growing                     Informative       Insightful

Collaborative             Forward-thinking

A quick summary of what we covered together…

Action 1: Staff members who constantly work in urgent mode, to partner with those who plan well – after all, iron sharpens iron, thus we’ll all improve our organisational skills. Who: The Super organisers in our team are Sarah, Anca and Aliyah so the rest of the team should have meetings with them to share learnings.

Action 2: Create a CV fundraising forum, to develop ideas into projects. Who: Bekele, Glen, Shalini, Jennifer and Sheena to lead and work with Donna.

Action 3: Use the Disney Model for fundraising ideas and other project work; the Dreamer, the Critic, and the Realist! Who: All staff!

Action 4: Create a spreadsheet of all volunteers and their skill sets, to share with the staff team and establish assets and gaps.

Who: Bekele

Action 5: Individuals to take responsibility to cultivate a healthy culture at Croydon Vision, living out our values. We want our culture to influence our environment for positive change. Who: All staff.

Intentional Learning: What will the staff team apply, change and teach/share with others?

  1. Use teamwork as a tool for meeting KPIs and working smartly.
  2. Focus on connecting more, encouraging members to be active ambassadors of their disability or illness.
  3. Think more like an innovative dreamer from the Disney Model.
  4. Choose one of the CV values and apply it to what we do with members and the team each day (volunteers and staff).
  5. Change our mindsets when someone shows us a better way of doing something and not become entrenched in our thoughts.
  6. Self-awareness; all ask “How am I contributing to CV culture?” 7. Awareness of others – question what others are experiencing.
  7. Develop the habit of Research, Action, Evaluation (RAE).
  8. Teach colleagues/volunteers storytelling, public speaking bringing our stories to light through action.
  9. Change by actively seeking feedback from colleagues and members to understand areas where we can improve.

How was June Bright Ideas Day?

“The segment for fundraising made me particularly excited, and I loved hearing everyone’s different ideas. I also appreciated the honest conversations that were had about how CV’s culture can improve.” Sarah (Member Liaison Officer)

“I really enjoyed my first bright ideas day and I found it very informative and a fun way to get us talking about Croydon Vision’s future.” Abbie (Office Manager)

PERSONAL GROWTH:

Emotional Intelligence = Enhanced Teamwork

Working as a team is how we get things done at Croydon Vision, so we proactively look for ways to enhance staff efficiency and dynamism.

What is an Emotional Intelligence workshop?

It’s a series of interactive exercises to help us all to explore and understand each other’s ways of working. The workshop raised our awareness of how we typically respond when faced with certain emotions and offered some useful techniques to enable us to:

  • respond more intentionally to challenges
  • regulate emotions, so we’re aware of but not governed by them

Why is EI important?

Emotional intelligence (or EI) is recognised as a key life skill and is also one of the top skills that employers value in their staff. People with high levels of EI are able to build better relationships, communicate more effectively and face life’s challenges with a more positive and solution-seeking approach.

What kind of emotions are common in the workplace?

Anxiety and frustration are commonly experienced in the workplace. This might sound negative but both of these, if handled carefully, can result in enhanced productivity and satisfaction. As part of the workshop we explored common triggers of these complex emotions, as well as mastering some techniques to help us understand and navigate them.

What did the workshop reveal?

“The emotional intelligence workshop helped me to learn about myself and get to know my colleagues better. It was a good opportunity to hear about others’ strengths and how they approach issues such as renewing focus at work. It has made me feel more confident to approach the team and ask what the best way is to collaborate on things. It assured me that everyone is different, and there is no one way to approach responsibilities.” Sarah, our Member Liaison Lead.

How will the workshop change the team dynamic?

“I found the emotional intelligence workshop very insightful. It helped me to understand the way my brain works and how I interact with others when working. This has allowed me to be open with my ways of working with team members, which will certainly benefit the big celebration Croydon Vision is having for the centenary!” Aliyah, our Brand Lead.

We know that by aligning our team more closely we’ll be able to achieve great things as we look forward to the next 100 years of Croydon Vision!

Interested in self-development? Our resident counsellor Hellen will shortly be offering Wellbeing Workshops at Bedford Hall for Croydon Vision members. Please call reception to find out more on 020 8688 2486

TECH CONNECT:

Exciting new additions to the Resource Centre!

Improvements in technology are so relentless that they’re hard to keep up with, and that goes for assistive technology too. Luckily we’ve got you covered, stocking the Resource Centre with cutting edge gadgets to make your life easier…

Colorino Talking Colour Identifier And Light Detector – £184 This clever machine discerns and clearly announces up to 150 different shades. So we’re not just talking red, for example, but pale red, light red, dark red, as well as intense red!

WeWalk Smart Cane – £631.35

Add WeWALK to your long cane to transform it into a smart cane that gives you information about your surroundings via its touchpad. Since it even shares information about public transport, this gadget is sure to increase user confidence and independence.

Talking ear and forehead thermometer – £31.05

This talking thermometer measures your temperature from either your forehead or ear and announces the reading within two seconds.

Talking tape measure – £68.99

A five metre tape announces readings in a clear voice in feet, inches, metres, centimetres or millimetres – and converts them too!

Synapptic software for Android devices – £286.35

If you already own a tablet or smartphone that works on an Android platform, why not make it more accessible with this Synapptic software package with easy-to-use menus and functions? Due to arrive at Bedford Hall shortly…

Instant Language Translator Device – £89.69

This translator includes voice, photo and recording translation. It works both online and offline and supports 138 languages.

A special welcome for our new Braille Embosser and Printer! This year Croydon Vision was able to purchase a Braille embosser with funding from Hobsons Charity. The inauguration of the braille embosser took place during Croydon Vision’s Coronation Event. The reveal was met with cheers and applause from a big crowd that filled the IT Suite. Members were also given the chance to have their names embossed with braille and given to them on a special commemorative card.

We can use this equipment for printing instructions, poetry, classes, reports and of course our very popular menus! This network-ready embosser makes printing double-sided Braille and the highest resolution tactile graphics easy, so a huge thanks goes to Hobsons for making this long-held Croydon Vision dream a reality.

To visit our fantastic Resource Centre please call reception on 020 8688 2486 or email our Accessibility IT Trainer Daniel Ojobo daniel.ojobo@croydonvision.org.uk to make an appointment.

CROYDON VISION CENTENARY QUIZ:

  1. What was Croydon Vision known as when it first opened?
  2. In what year did it open?
  3. Where at Croydon Vision would you go if you were looking to stock up on ‘Bumpons’?
  4. In what year did our new lift make its first voyage?
  5. How many floors can you get to via the Croydon Vision lift?
  6. Our Advice and Advocacy Officer, Glen helps people to apply for PIP, but what does it stand for?
  7. How much is the membership fee for Croydon Vision?
  8. In what year did Queen Elizabeth II pay a visit to Bedford Hall?
  9. How many hot meals did our Super Chef Isha serve up between April 2021 and April 2022? a) 1,203 b) 1,870 c) 2,527
  10. Croydon (and so Croydon Vision) actually takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word for which flower?

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

Answers: 1. Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind      2. 1923

  1. The Resource Centre 4. 2022 5. 4
  2. Personal Independence Payment 7. £0 – it’s free! 8. 1980 9. c) 2,527 10. The Crocus, Anglo-Saxon ‘croh’, means ‘crocus’, and ‘denu’, means valley.

CROYDON VISION IN PICTURES:

Croydon Vision members visiting Brighton, posing in front of the pier on a summer excursion. Volunteers: Bharat and Patrick. Members: Malcolm, Wendy, Anna, Steve, Emmanuel, Pauline.

Pre-Coronation crown making workshop; Priscilla posing with the crown she made, cutting more decorations for her crown.

Coronation Celebration!

Theodore, Anna, Malcolm, Olayinka, Wendy and one trustee –

Frances sitting at one table. At another table Christine Rose, Patricia and Jan are celebrating. Closer to the stage our Head of Trustees, Nigel is with two of our lovely volunteers, Susan and Patrick.

The CV outreach program is now back, and we do home visits for tech/advice and advocacy/befriending.

In the picture above Daniel (right side) our Accessibility IT Trainer is doing computer training with a member.

FUNDRAISING, THANKS & CONTACT

Our fundraising initiatives for 2023-24 are: Chest freezer – £850; Onsite defibrillator – £1,800; Three electronic notice boards with audio – £2,860 each; Tactile ground lights – £2,820; Weekly Braille tutor – £6,300. Thank you for supporting our initiatives through one-off donations, standing orders and legacy donations – this keeps us running. If you’d like to donate you can call reception on 020 8688 2486 or visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/croydon-vision

We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has made donations to Croydon Vision over the last couple of months, including S. Shah, M. Shield, Jim Smith, Christine Rose, M.J. & J.V. Barbour, Leona Dwyer and Frederick Lodge of Unity

A heartfelt thank you from an anonymous member…

Every contribution from the team matters to our members. Some may not be loud or look for attention, yet they keep coming to Croydon Vision regularly to enjoy the services and the solidarity we offer here. One such member came to see us this week and confided that she wanted to make a small donation as a thank you to the staff. She donated a generous sum of money and extended her heartfelt thanks to all team members. We’d like to thank her in turn!

Fancy being in Our Voice? Email us with stories, experiences, tips and tricks and reviews, so we can share them 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 02086882486

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

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