London Visually Impaired Forum E-Bulletin 10 September 2018

‘Working together across London for people with a visual impairment’

 NB: The views and opinions expressed in this bulletin are those of the contributors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the LVIF or its members as a whole.

Deafblind UK acknowledge this bulletin and it’s contents as the intellectual property of LVIF and their contributors. We are merely posting it to signpost these events to our members and give a signal boost of this content to our website readership.


2018 meeting dates are:

Friday 28th September

Friday 14th December



Welcome to the latest edition of the bulletin at the end of which you can find newly announced dates for the LVIF meetings in 2019.  On the subject of the forum, our next one will take place on Friday 28 September and the agenda is almost complete.  Confirmed guest speakers so far include Maria Oshodi of Extant, Dan Williams of Visualise and Neil Barnfather who will give a presentation on AIRA, the exciting new guidance app.  Look out for the full agenda over the next couple of weeks.



Medical Research

Article 1 : AOP: Children’s eye health: Why vision matters

Article 2 : Growing Eye Parts from Skin Cells

Article 3 : Missing Out on School Sight Tests puts Eye Health at Risk


Article 1: Science Museum App for VI Visitors

Article 2: In Your Pocket workshop in East London

Studies and Surveys

Article 1: Audio Description for Museums: Call for Participants

Article 2: London Councils and TfL run Assisted Transport pilot

Other News

Article 1: Disabled People Raise Money to Fight Transport Discrimination

Article 2: On-Demand TV Fails to Fully Service Deaf and Blind Viewers

Article 3: Extant Opens Doors to Opportunities in the Arts

Article 4: VisualEyes with Bhavini offers Chance to Showcase Talent


1: Creative Workshop Series at the RNIB

2: Accessible Technology Peer Support Group

3: Aquabats Autumn Programme

4: VI Zumba Classes at the Pocklington Hub

5: NCW Sixth Form Open Day

6: RNIB and Wandsworth Vision Joint Two Day Workshop

7: Right to Sight Conference in Hounslow

8: RNIB and Sight Action Havering joint workshop.

9: Braille Chess Sessions at the Bromley by Bow Centre


And finally… Dates Announced for LVIF in 2019



Article 1: AOP: Children’s eye health: Why vision matters

Good eyesight is crucial in making sure a child develops to their full potential both at school and socially. It’s especially important to look after children’s eyes – the eye is still developing throughout early childhood so if problems are treated early, it can make a lasting difference. Yet research shows that around 20% of school-aged children have an undiagnosed vision problem. It’s never too early to have a sight test, visiting an optometrist will mean you can spot and manage vision problems that may affect your child’s development.

How do I know if my child has an eye problem ?

Some eye conditions do not display any signs or symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to take your child for a sight test. Signs which may show there is a problem with a child’s sight include:

  • An eye appearing to drift inwards or outwards
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Behavioural problems
  • Headaches
  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Frequent eye rubbing

This could mean your child needs glasses or that they have an eye that is healthy but does not see as well, otherwise known as a ‘lazy eye’. The condition can run in the family, so if a relative has either an eye turn (squint) or suffers from reduced vision in one or both eyes (amblyopia), it’s a good idea to take any related children for a sight test.

What is vision screening ?

Some children have their vision screened at school – this is usually a basic test, designed to pick up children who have reduced vision in one or both eyes. If a problem is suspected, children will usually be referred to an optometrist for a full sight test. Parents may assume that their child has been screened at school, but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Even where this does happen, it is not usually until the age of four or five, so we recommend that all children visit their optometrist for a sight test around the age of three.

What is a sight test?

A sight test is a comprehensive check which can pick up many other conditions, including colour vision defects, problems with the development of 3D vision and any need for glasses.

When should my child visit the optometrist?

Although the UK National Screening Committee recommends screening at age four to five years, there are many optometrists who will see children much younger than this for a sight test. We recommend that children have a sight test around the age of three, so that conditions are picked up and treated early. After the first test it is a good idea to return every two years, or as recommended by your optometrist.

Paying for a sight test

Children under the age of 16 are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests (covering the cost of a sight test), plus an optical voucher, which entitles you help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses if required. Contact lenses are suited to all ages and even young children are able to wear, handle and look after their lenses.

See the full details on the AOP website



Article 2: Growing Eye Parts from Skin Cells

Doctors are growing eye parts from skin cells in pioneering research that is seeking a cure for rare genetic causes of blindness.

Experts at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have been able to transform a skin sample the size of a lentil into an “eye cup”, akin to the eye’s early development in the womb.

Because the eye cups contain the patient’s genetic information, they can be used to test the effectiveness of drugs in delaying, or potentially restoring, the damage disease is causing to their retina, the light-sensing layer of the eye.

Project leader Dr Mariya Moosajee, a consultant ophthalmologist and scientist, said analysing a patient’s faulty genes and their role in causing disease would help find targets for treatment.

© Evening Standard, 21 August 2018


Article 3: Missing Out on School Sight Tests Puts Eye Health at Risk

Children are missing out on vital eye health care because parents believe their children’s vision is tested at school.

A report released by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) shows that moremore than half (52%) of parents with school age children thought their child would have a full sight test at primary school.

Yet, sight tests are not offered routinely at schools throughout the UK, which could mean that many children are suffering with undiagnosed eye conditions. The study also showed that nearly three quarters (74%) of practising optometrists have seen children in the past year who had vision problems that could have been treated more successfully if they had been diagnosed at an earlier age.

© NHS Networks, August 2018



Article 1: Science Museum App for VI Visitors

If you’re planning on visiting the Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum, make sure you download the free Audio Eyes app first. Available for iOS phones or tablets, this neat app unlocks audio descriptions of the environment, key objects and tactile displays, and rather than guide the visitor, it responds to their movements around the gallery.

It works by picking up Bluetooth signals that automatically trigger audio notifications on your phone or tablet. The App is free to download from Apple Store Link:


Article 2: In Your Pocket workshop in East London

In your Pocket is a device which allows users to read books, newspapers  and magazines as well as listening  to podcasts.  It is also a simple mobile phone allowing the user to make calls and send/read text messages.  It is designed to be entirely controlled by voice, making it ideal for many vision impaired people.

In this workshop, In Your Pocket will be described and demonstrated.  Users will have the opportunity  to try In Your Pocket themselves as well as asking any questions they may have.

Dates: October 29th, 2018 from 11 AM to 1 PM and 16th November 2018 from 11 AM to 1 PM


East London Vision,

Waltham Forest Resource Hub (South), 90 Crownfield Road, London, E15 2BG.

these workshops will include the following:

  • Overview of In Your Pocket
  • Voice control, advantages and disadvantages
  • Demonstration of In Your Pocket including :
  • finding and reading books
  • reading newspapers
  • phone features such as adding contacts, making calls and sending/receiving of text messages.
  • Other functions such as weather, learning about your surroundings and clock functions

There will be time at the end of the workshop for questions as well as time for those who want to briefly try In Your Pocket.

Booking for these workshops is essential as there is a maximum limit of 8 people per workshop.

To book your place please contact Graham Page, Access Technology Advisor at East London Vision.

Mobile: 07779441000

Or email

Office tel: 020 3697 6464



Article 1: Audio Description for Museums: Call for Participants

Are you a blind or partially sighted person who would like to help make museums and galleries more accessible? If so, we would love to hear from you!

What is the study about ?

A museum audio descriptive (AD) guide combines a description of an art work or object with factual background information. Although it is offered in many museums and galleries, very little research has looked at people’s experience of audio description. Researchers from the University of Westminster are looking at experiences of recorded AD for a series of photos, taken from the collections of the Museum of London. We are looking for people with a visual impairment to take part. We are interested in all perspectives – whether you visit museums often or never ; whether or not you frequently experience AD or have never heard AD.  Your participation will contribute to the development of important understanding about what makes successful AD, and about its potential for use more widely across the museum sector.

What will I need to do?

We will ask you to listen to descriptions of 8 photographs through headphones. Afterwards, we will ask you some questions about your experience and what you thought of it. This stage should take around 1 hour.

One month later, we will ask you to complete a follow up questionnaire (which you can do at home), again asking about your thoughts and experiences. This questionnaire should take about 30 minutes or so.

We will offer you a range of options to complete the questionnaire to ensure that it is fully accessible.

Where and when is the study?

The first part of the study will take place in central London. Travel expenses can be covered – please contact the researcher, Rachel Hutchinson, to discuss further. The second part will be emailed (or can be carried out by telephone). We are looking for people to take part starting in September and dates are available to reserve now.

Rachel will also be running the study at the Pocklington Hub on Monday October 1st and Monday October 29th.

How do I sign up?

Please contact the researcher, Rachel Hutchinson, on or on 07816244469

We are also recruiting sighted participants for this study, so if you have friends or family who may be interested then they are very welcome to get in touch too.

As a thank you for your participation, we would like to offer all participants a £15 shopping voucher.

The University of Westminster is working in collaboration with the Thomas Pocklington Trust and VocalEyes for this study.


Article 2: London Councils and TfL run Assisted Transport pilot

The Assisted Transport pilot is a joint customer research project to test ways in which future users of door-to-door services might have more flexibility and choice in how they travel. It is being run by London Councils and Transport for London.

We are working with a research company, Future Thinking, to improve the assisted transport services that are available in London, and randomly selecting Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride users to ask if they would like to take part.

This involves 300 randomly selected participants, from amongst Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride users in two London boroughs, Hounslow and Southwark. A small number of younger disabled people, who currently don’t use door-to-door services but who would be eligible to join, will also be taking part.

We are aiming to offer participants more flexibility and choice over how they can use the Taxicard service. It will be easier for all participants to choose longer distance journeys (as long as they start or finish in a London borough).

As part of the pilot, we will also be trialling two different forms of Taxicard budget. Participants will be offered one of two packages – either based on trips or on a ‘virtual cash purse’.

The pilot will first track participants’ usual travel behaviour. Then, from October 2018, it will track any changes to their travel that arise after the trial changes to Taxicard are introduced.

We plan to run the pilot until October 2019.

For more information email



Article 1: Disabled People Fundraise to Fight Transport Discrimination

© Transport for All

Disabled people are raising money to set up a fund to pay for legal advice in disability discrimination cases on public transport (especially railway and air travel). This campaign is organised by our partner Inclusion London. Transport for All (TfA) is supporting their initiative.

This TransportJustice campaign has been launched by a group of Paralympians, disabled activists and lawyers.

All too often our Advice Line hears from disabled and older people about the barriers they face using trains or air travel and we have been disappointed to see the railway become one mode of transport going backwards in terms of accessibility in recent years. This is why we welcome and support the #TransportJustice campaign, so disabled people get a chance to challenge transport providers using the law.

Our Chair, Alan Benson says:

“Like many, many others I’ve been delayed, stranded on trains and aircraft and had my wheelchair damaged. These are not minor inconveniences but have major impacts on people’s lives”

“The onus for challenging this appalling situation falls on the victim, but to do so alone is daunting and carries financial risk. This campaign is vital to redress this imbalance, to send a strong message to the transport providers that it’s just not good enough. It is incumbent on them to make every journey for every disabled and older person run smoothly and this campaign will send the message that they will be held to account until they do this.”

This campaign will focus on cases which have the potential to change policy and practice. We will use the law strategically as part of a wider campaign and joint work with all disabled people and their organisations to improve disabled people’s experiences when using public transport.

TfA member, Anne Wafula Strike, who was recently left on a plane for 45 minutes says :

“I am supporting this initiative because I want to help more disabled people to stand up for what is right, because we all should be treated like human beings. Some time ago, I had a particularly humiliating incident and I decided to take legal action. My case got a lot of publicity and was settled. I did not have to make difficult decisions about going to court and having to face financial risks, but I know most people will not be in my position. My legal case helped to get commitment from a rail company to train their staff and change their practice. My voice advocated for change.”

In many cases the transport companies are in breach of the Equality Act 2010, but disabled people are rarely able to challenge the discrimination they experience by public transport providers.

Other ways to support the campaign:


Article 2: On-Demand TV Fails to Fully Service Deaf and Blind Viewers

On 28 August, The Radio Times included an article about viewer accessibility services in television.  You can read the article “The strange story of how deaf and blind viewers were left behind by the on-demand revolution” at the following link:


Article 3: Extant Opens Doors to Opportunities in the Arts

The Open Door Project funded by Greater London Fund for the Blind is the first step on the ladder of arts opportunities, delivered by Extant for individuals with a visual impairment living within London. The project aims to provide a concrete series of experiences in different art forms and contribute to relevant information on how to forge a potential career within the industry. It is envisaged that once motivation and engagement are embedded within individuals, they’ll continue to be connected with Extant while having direct access to information on internal and external arts opportunities.

Since July 2018, Extant has forged a partnership with the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) to support the Open Door Project. The highly scintillating Comedy Workshop delivered by professional artists Georgie Morell and Tom Skelton gave 10 visually impaired young people the chance to laugh, improvise, devise and understand the skills and talent required for this area of the arts.

The Open Door Project has two upcoming workshops delivered in partnership with RSBC:

Knowledge and Understanding of Podcasting and YouTube/Vlogging with Georgie Morell on Saturday, 13th October from 11 am – 4 pm

And the Motivational Speaker Workshop delivered by 4 exceptional professional Visually Impaired artists, including Extant’s own Artistic Director Maria Oshodi. Wednesday, 24th October from 10.30 am – 1.30 pm

If you are an individual or organisation and are interested in the above information, including attending the workshops, please contact Extant’s Participation Programme Manager Jodie Stus. Either via email or via phone 02078203737.

© Extant Theatre Company, 28 August 2018


Article 4: VisualEyes with Bhavini Offers Chance to Showcase Talent

VisualEyes with Bhavini is looking for people with a disability, who would like to showcase their talents, words of wisdom and to raise awareness of various aspects, maybe about their condition, what barriers they have overcome to achieve their ambition etc.  This can be in a form of playing a musical instrument, singing, reciting poetry, a comedy sketch, public speaking and so forth.

Contact by phone – 07956 583203

By email –

If anyone has any questions or would like to find out more, click here for the blog which explains the event and the purpose in detail.



1: Creative Workshop Series at the RNIB

1st Workshop Series: Poetry and Creative Writing

4 weekly sessions

Starting Wednesday 12th September,

5 – 6.30 pm – RNIB Judd Street

Exploring different themes each week we will try out poetry techniques, short stories and word play to free up creative thinking and expression.


2nd Workshop Series: Creative Making

6 weekly sessions

Starting Wednesday 10th October

5 – 6.30 pm – RNIB Judd Street

Exploring different making techniques each week, we will experiment with different materials working both individually and collaboratively as well as contributing to a group sketchbook.

In late 2018, once all the workshops have finished, we will have an exhibition and performance evening at Thenga Cafe (Judd Street) showcasing work from the workshops.

Please register interest with the artist to sign up


There is a one-off fee to cover materials for each workshop series:

Poetry and Creative Writing Series, £20

Creative Making Series, £36


2: Accessible Technology Peer Support Group

Get the most out of your Smart phone or tablet

Meet at the Guardian Centre, 67 Clarendon Road, London SW19 2DX

2nd Friday of every month, starting at 11 a.m.

Dates 14th Sept, 12th Oct 9th Nov, 14th Dec.

Learn new tips and tricks, magnification, text to speech, navigation and gestures, voice activated devices. And Much More !!!!!!

Contact Kevin on 020 8540 5446 or just come along!


3: Aquabats Autumn Programme

Aquabats Sports and Social Club has published their programme covering September to December and it runs as follows:

13 September tenpin bowling at Lewisham.  Please meet at Lewisham D.L.R at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

20 September : Bingo at the Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, London WC1X 8QY.  You can make your own way to the pub and the event starts at 7.00pm in the upstairs function room.  Kings Cross is the nearest underground station.  Come out at the entrance opposite the Judd Street one and follow the main road keeping the road on your left all the time.  The pub comes up soon after a bus stop once in Grays Inn Road. We will be eating there from 5.00pm downstairs.

4 October : Quiz at the Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross,  London WC1X 8QY.  Event starts at 7.00pm in the upstairs function room.  You can bring along your own questions.  We will be eating beforehand at 5.00pm downstairs.

25 October : Ten Pin bowling at Queensway.  Please meet at Queensway on the Central Line at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

1 November : Event at the Comedy Club in Angel.  Please meet at Angel at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

8 November : Swimming at Stratford.  Please meet at Stratford at the end of the Jubilee Line. Platforms 14 and 15 on the concourse at 6.30pm, leaving at 6.45pm.

22 November : Ten Pin bowling at Lewisham.  Please meet at Lewisham D.L.R at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

6 December : Swimming at Stratford, details as above.

Saturday 15 December : Christmas Meal at the Change of Horses, 87 Farnborough High Street, Farnborough, Kent BR6 7BB

Tel:  01689 852949. Details of how to register will be sent once the menu comes out in October.  All you will need to do is to register your choice of menu and you will be told what to do.


4: VI Zumba Classes at the Pocklington Hub

We are pleased to announce that the Greater London Fund for the Blind and Pocklington Trust are supporting us to deliver VI Zumba classes at the Pocklington Hub, Euston, London beginning on Tuesday 18 September 2018, 5:30pm-7pm. We hope the location is central enough to reach as many of you and your service users as possible.

We are also mid-way through further fundraising and hope to successfully bring you details of even more projects very soon.

For more information email


5: NCW Sixth Form Open Day

The Sixth Form Open Day is the opportunity to find out all the benefits of attending NCW at Sixth Form. You will learn about studying and living at NCW and how students prepare for onward transition into further or higher education, the workplace and independence.

You will be able to tour the school and the residential side of the campus, meet the Principal and other staff and be able to chat to current students about life at NCW.

You will also find out about the courses available to study – including GCSE re-takes, A Levels, BTEC and Vocational Courses along with information about NCW’s expanded core curriculum; Braille, Mobility, Independent Living Skills and Assistive Technology.

The day will particularly focus on how the specialist teaching at NCW makes subjects such as Maths, Science and Music accessible at A Level, and how NCW students are prepared for living independently in the next stage of their journey.

Who should attend?

Young people with a visual impairment who are investigating options for sixth form study and their families

Date Saturday 22nd September 2018

Time 10am – 1pm

Overnight accommodation may be available in our on-site guest house – please ask for details.


6: RNIB and Wandsworth Vision Joint Two-Day Workshop

RNIB and Wandsworth Vision are holding a joint two-day workshop.

We’ll help you to adjust to your condition, increase independence and boost confidence. You will also get the chance to meet and share experiences with others in similar situations.

These workshops are for adults of all ages. Friends and family members are welcome to attend.

What topics are covered in our free sessions?

  • Welfare rights
  • Getting out and about
  • Tips and gadgets for everyday living
  • Assistive technology – including tablets and phones
  • Eye health & Low vision
  • Wellbeing
  • Leisure, hobbies and interests.
  • And hear about a range of helpful organisations and services out there.

It takes place at the Balham Resource Centre, 1 c Yukon Road, Balham, SW12 9PZ.

Dates are Tuesday the 25th and Wednesday the 26th of September.

To book: Contact Marie Kehoe

0207 391 3274


7: Right to Sight Conference in Hounslow

The RNIB and London Borough of Hounslow would like to invite you to a

Right to Sight Conference taking place on Wednesday 3 October 2018 between 10.30am and 4.30pm. The conference will take place at the Blue Zone, Hounslow Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow, TW3 4DN.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Topics covered on the day include the following:

  • Preventing sight loss and spotting symptoms
  • Managing diabetes
  • How to put in eye drops for Glaucoma
  • How to campaign about local issues affecting you
  • Technology update
  • Artificial Intelligence in Ophthalmology – the Moorfields-DeepMind collaboration

Speakers on the day include:

  • Dr Onkar Sahota, London Assembly Chair of the Health Committee;
  • Pearse Keane – Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields (in collaboration with Google Deep Mind )
  • Arun Gupta, Consultant Surgeon at Ashford and St Peters Hospitals;
  • Robin Christopherson MBE, Head of Digital Inclusion Ability Net;
  • Dominic Mundy, Head of Patient Experience from Central London Community Health Care Trust;
  • Subhash Suthar from the International Glaucoma Association.

Workshops include:

  • Empowering local groups to make your voice heard – Karishma Shah RNIB and Kezia Coleman Thomas Pocklington Trust
  • How to put in your eye drops – Subhash Suthar IGA

There will also be information stands from:

  • Middlesex Association for the Blind
  • RNIB
  • Diabetes UK
  • Guide Dogs

To register for the event please call RNIB London on 020 7391 2152 or e-mail


8: RNIB and Sight Action Havering joint workshop.

RNIB and Sight Action Havering are holding a joint workshop.

We’ll help you to adjust to your condition, increase independence and boost confidence. You will also get the chance to meet and share experiences with others in similar situations.

These workshops are for adults of all ages. Friends and family members are welcome to attend.

What topics are covered in our free sessions?

  • Welfare rights
  • Getting out and about
  • Tips and gadgets for everyday living
  • Assistive technology – including tablets and phones
  • Eye health & Low vision
  • Wellbeing
  • Leisure, hobbies and interests.
  • And hear about a range of helpful organisations and services out there.

It takes place at the Salvation Army Hall, High Street, Romford. The day runs from 10am – 3pm.

Dates are Thursday 4th, Thursday 11th, Thursday 18th and Thursday the 25th October.  Please confirm you can attend all four days if possible.

To book: Contact Marie Kehoe

0207 391 3274


9: Braille Chess Sessions at the Bromley by Bow Centre

Are you a keen chess player ? Why not come along to chess sessions run by experienced teacher Voldi Gailans of the Braille Chess Association which will resume on Monday 3rd September.

Perfect for beginners or advanced players, these sessions will continue weekly and will be completely free. Sessions will take place every Monday from 14:00-16:00 at the Bromley by Bow Centre on St Leonard’s Street, E3 3BT.

For anyone wishing to be shown to the venue, we can arrange for you to be met at 13:45 at the nearby Bromley-by-Bow Station, but you will need to let us know in advance. Please let us know at least one week in advance if you would like to come so that we can ensure we have enough equipment.

If you are interested in coming along, please contact Bhavini Makwana on 07976 448824 or Or you can call the ELVis office on 0203 697 6464.


And finally… Dates Announced for LVIF in 2019

The dates for the London VI Forum meetings for 2019 have been announced and they are as follows:

Friday 29th March

Friday 28th June

Friday 27th September

Friday 13th December


End of Bulletin