Approximately 27% of people with sight loss are in employment (nationally). In Croydon, only 10% are employed – we need to act fast.
Simply being employed brings its own gifts. Financial independence, a sense of purpose, further training and socialising all come with having a job, career or even a voluntary role. That’s why we place such importance on supporting our blind and visually impaired members in the workplace.
To date, 14 working age members have gained employment – join us to transform more lives.
The Working Age Project
This dynamic arm of our organisation has three clear goals:
- Building confidence.
- Upskilling (Tech & living aids).
- Route to employment or volunteering.
We work in collaboration with other organisations, so our three employment advisers have a wealth of contacts, experience and expertise:
Odette Battarel – Our Community Dynamo
Michael Spooner – A Blind Entrepreneur
Education Employment Trust – Local Partnership
How it works
We’ve developed a range of services and activities to help our members find a route into both volunteering and paid employment. Together they can make a real difference to an individual’s sense of self-worth and employability.
To build confidence we offer:
- Bespoke personal development plans
- Route to Work or Volunteering
- Confidence-building activities
- One-to-one support sessions
- Team-building exercises
Practical assistance comes in the form of:
- CV support and workshops
- Interview workshops
- The Admin Hub (where our members can get real life experience in an office environment)
- Access to Work support
Making connections is encouraged through:
- Motivational speakers and peer support
- Networking events
- Social groups and outings
Unlocking Our Members’ Potential
We have the expertise to help blind and partially sighted people get into the workplace, but it’s the confidence they build through socialising together and – perhaps most importantly – getting outside their comfort zones that makes the biggest difference.
The group regularly participates in various trips. These have recently included visiting local parks and cafés, a London Eye & River Cruise trip, climbing Mount Snowdon, visiting wine bars, going to Combe Lodge, a trip to Box Park and an excursion to the Sight Village exhibition in Birmingham.
Long Term Connections
Our Working Age Project Group enjoys a weekly meet-up and opportunities to socialise. As part of this we run a lively book club, a board games club and we host a regular quiz. Each of these activities exists to facilitate team building, encouraging the group to build close bonds.
As part of the project, the group also visits national organisations such as Thomas Pocklington Trust and RNIB. There they can network with people experiencing similar sight loss journeys.
The camaraderie of the entire group has noticeably improved since the project was set up; it’s also growing in strength and number as we work together and we’re excited to see our efforts translate into employment for those involved.
Following a team meeting, all internal services at Croydon Vision will be closed until 4th May. The health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff is paramount and for this reason, services will become more virtual.
The Working Age Officer is still available to contact via telephone to assist with any queries you may have.
The services that can be provided virtually are
- CV Reviewing – you send an email with your CV and we can help you modify it
- Upskilling – Via the phone, Zoom or Teamviewer
- There will also continue to be a weekly meeting via conference call – please phone the office for more details.
We provide tuition in anything from a smart (or not so smart) phone to computers which could transform someone’s life.
Smartphones, tablets, computers and bespoke software packages can be used by blind and partially sighted people to send emails, search the web, chat to people around the world and have all this read to them.
There are many built-in accessibility features on computers and smartphones, as well as some small changes that can be made to make things easier to read.
Through their smartphones, members are finding they can navigate and even have handwriting read out to them.
We host quarterly social media workshops to help you to delve into the opportunities social platforms can give provide, even if you have never used any technology before.
– Information and the opportunity to sign-up for this workshop will be updated soon.
We have a newly developed and fully equipped tech studio which you can hire to create video content or podcasts.
Please contact us the I.T team for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts and Crafts
There are lots of arts and crafts you can take up, or continue to enjoy, if you are blind or partially sighted. Group craft activity is a great way to get creative, providing both mental and physical stimulation, and a useful opportunity to meet people.
Croydon Vision Art classes run every Wednesday morning from 10:30am-12:30pm. If you want to create a vibrant landscape, an abstract collage or a 3D sculpture we have all the materials and equipment for you to do so. You can choose your own project or if you need direction, Marsha is on hand to facilitate and encourage your artistic development.
Come join our group and get in touch with your inner artist! Whether you have experience in any form of art or a complete beginner, you will meet like-minded, creative and talented people in a happy friendly environment in our art group.
Information and advisory services for our members.
Empowerment and information go hand in hand, so our advice service is of paramount importance at Croydon Vision.
We’re always available to advise anyone with sight loss, but also to help people who are affected by sight loss in some way. We work closely with the Croydon Sensory Impairment Team, Moorfields (ECLO), local GPs, optometrists and a number of voluntary organisations, so there is a lot of expertise and experience for our members to tap into.
Things we can help with:
- Croydon Vision induction:
To help you get the most from our services, activities and opportunities. In addition, support with completing your membership form.
- Completing Application forms:
Providing information and one-to-one support in, plus additional meetings within Bedford Hall and New Addington, to follow up on applications etc.
- Benefits information:
Support with Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Universal Credits and housing information.
- Transport services:
Croydon Vision’s transport, taxi cards and Dial a Ride – how to access them.
- Additional help:
Support to access social and health care or other housing matters.
Local services, support and advocacy.
- Having your voice heard on issues that are important to you.
- Safeguarding your rights.
- Having your views and wishes considered when decisions are being made about your life.
- Expressing your views and concerns.
- Accessing independent information and services.
Advocacy is not…
We will never try to influence your decisions, our aim is simply to support you.
Croydon Vision provides a Low Vision Clinic, offering advice on magnifiers and lenses.
At Croydon Vision, once members are assessed, they are able to try out different products and recommended a best fit. This helps to make daily tasks that can become difficult due to reduced vision much easier. Our Optometrist – Fiona Hazell – runs the clinic on Thursday mornings, once a month.
We also have a weekly clinic managed by Moorfields eye hospital from our Low Vision room on Wednesday’s. Referrals for this can be made directly through your GP or Moorfield’s hospital itself.
Eat, Live and Age well
We are a Food Standard Agency 5 star approved organisation.
Our chef provides nutritious meals which are freshly cooked for Monday to Thursday services each week. We take into consideration members dietary requirements and do our utmost best to provide a 2-course meal (mains and dessert).
To promote inclusivity, we now provide a range of options including meat, vegetarian and pescatarian dishes.
Lunch isn’t just a hot, healthy meal for our members; it provides the opportunity to make or meet with friends and take a break in safe environment.
Take Away Service:
We also provide the option to order your meals to collect and take away. These packages will be the same freshly prepared meals, which you can pop in the microwave at home.
Keeping You In The Loop
Each week our wonderful volunteers take to the mic and record segments that come together to form Croydon Vision’s talking news. This service is designed to keep our members informed with the local Croydon news and to provide them with entertainment they can listen to. The Talking News is a fully accessible service that we can use to reach members at their home in the form of an mp3 stick.
The first section of the Talking News is hosted by our volunteer Sarah Woolley who presents all of Croydon’s local news keeping listeners up to date with the Croydon borough. The next section is called the talking magazine, which is hosted by a different regular volunteer each week who covers a variety of topics that would interest our members. Each month our newsletter is read out as a substitute for the talking magazine to make sure that for those who have difficulties reading paper format can be fully updated with all of Croydon Visions events and news.
This service is £20 for an annual subscription. We will mail your USB in a bright yellow package, once you have listened to the talking news for the week simply place the USB stick back into the yellow package and post back to Croydon Vision, free of charge, where we can then swap your memory stick for the latest copy.
To sign up to the Talking News and to find out more about this service please call reception on 020 8688 2486 or email info@CroydonVision.org.uk
Door to door service
We provide transport for our members Monday to Thursday each week via minibus.
We cover most areas of the borough of Croydon and driver will contact regular members 24 hours prior to confirm pick up.
We also provide transport for events and excursions when required.
Our transport fees are set at a reasonable price – please query at reception on 020 8688 2486.