Visually Impaired in Camden newsletter September 2018


c/o Somers Town Community Centre

150 Ossulston Street, NW1 1EE

Tel: 07980 328 959


Deafblind UK acknowledge this bulletin and it’s contents as the intellectual property of Visually Impaired in Camden 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.


 Future Members’ events

  1. (More) Site visits to the Greenwood Centre
  2. The Nystagmus Network Open Day 2018: 29 September
  3. Sight Village South East 2018
  4. Artificial intelligence as good as top experts at detecting eye diseases
  5. Research review suggests diet is linked to AMD
  6. Early stages of glaucoma could be treated with turmeric eye drops
  7. Optometry Today: New glaucoma treatment trialled in Manchester
  8. Evening Standard: Research project growing eye parts from skin cells could lead to cure for blindness
  9. Children with visual impairment more likely to develop mental health problems
  10. Fight for Sight: Charity’s virtual running event takes users on a journey to the centre of the eye
  11. Government publishes ambitious plan for a fully accessible transport network by 2030
  12. Scandal of low percentage of indefinite PIP awards
  13. Know your Rights: Equality Act toolkit
  14. The eye doctor who could not see the stars
  15. September’s quick quiz

and finally – London mapped – the literal names of the London boroughs


1. Future Members’ events

(Note: Members’ events are held at Swiss Cottage Community Centre, 19 Winchester Road, NW3 3NR, 2pm-4pm, unless otherwise stated.)


Tuesday 18 September 

Come and meet other VIC members and share experiences, top tips & information with tea, cake and biscuits on tap.

(Please note: The visit to Bletchley Park has been cancelled due to a lack of take-up.)


Tuesday 16 October

Councillor Larraine Revah, Vice Chair of Camden’s Disability Oversight Panel, will be attending to talk about how the Council is addressing issues of concern to visually impaired people, and to hear directly from VIC members about how they think the Council is doing!


2. (More) Site visits to the Greenwood Centre

Currently under construction in Kentish Town, the Greenwood Centre is a large state of the art, multi-purpose building that will provide a range of activities for people with disabilities.

The Greenwood Centre will also house Camden’s first Centre for Independent Living (CIL) which will be run by a consortium led by Camden Disability Action (CDA).

Camden service users and carers have been invited to visit the construction site of the new Greenwood Centre so that future users can familiarise themselves with the new building, and further dates have now been added as follows:

  • Tuesday 18 September
  • Wednesday 3 October

Visits start at 1pm and last 1-1.5 hours, including a safety briefing.

Advance booking is essential.

Contact / 020 7974 2810 to book your place.

All visitors will need to wear trousers and safety equipment: hard hats, safety glasses and steel capped boots will be provided. Please give details of your shoe size when reserving a place.

Greenwood Centre, Greenwood Place, off Highgate Road, Kentish Town NW5 1LB


3. The Nystagmus Network Open Day 2018

The Nystagmus Network Open Day 2018 will take place in Birmingham as follows:


Date:                   Saturday 29 September.

Time:         10am – 5pm

Venue:      MacDonald Burlington Hotel

Burlington Arcade

126 New Street, Birmingham B2 4JQ

(just across the road from New Street station)


The annual Open Day brings together the entire Nystagmus community, including parents (and grandparents) of children with the condition, children and young people themselves, adults with congenital or acquired nystagmus, as well as education and eye health professionals. It’s a day to learn, mix and ask questions, with an emphasis on sharing experience, finding friends and building lasting, supportive relationships.

For more information and to book visit


4. Sight Village South East 2018

Sight Village are the UK’s leading exhibitions of technology, equipment, support and services for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Organised by Queen Alexandra College (QAC), admission to the event is free.


Date:                   Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 November

Time:         10.00am – 5.30pm (3.30pm on Wednesday)

Venue:      Kensington Town Hall

Hornton Street, W8 7NX


5. Artificial intelligence as good as top experts at detecting eye diseases

An artificial intelligence (AI) system can recommend the correct referral decision for over 50 eye diseases with 94 per cent accuracy – matching world leading eye experts.

The system developed by researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, DeepMind Health and UCL could help doctors and other eye health professionals spot serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) earlier and prioritise patients who urgently need treatment.

The breakthrough research, published in ‘Nature Medicine’, describes how machine learning technology has been successfully trained on thousands of historic de-personalised eye scans to identify features of eye disease and recommend how patients should be referred for care. It is hoped that the technology could revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests, allowing them to spot conditions earlier and prioritise patients with the most serious eye diseases before irreversible damage sets in.

More than 285 million people worldwide live with some form of sight loss, including more than two million people in the UK. Eye diseases remain one of the biggest causes of sight loss, and many can be prevented with early detection and treatment.

Dr Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields and NIHR Clinician Scientist at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology said:

“The number of eye scans we’re performing is growing at a pace much faster than human experts are able to interpret them. There is a risk that this may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening diseases, which can be devastating for patients.

“The AI technology we’re developing is designed to prioritise patients who need to be seen and treated urgently by a doctor or eye care professional. If we can diagnose and treat eye conditions early, it gives us the best chance of saving people’s sight. With further research it could lead to greater consistency and quality of care for patients with eye problems in the future.”

The next step is for the research to go through clinical trials to explore how this technology might improve patient care in practice, and regulatory approval before it can be used in hospitals and other clinical settings.

If clinical trials are successful in demonstrating that the technology can be used safely and effectively, Moorfields will receive free use of any resulting technology across all of their UK hospitals and community services.

Elaine Manna, 71 from north London and mother of three, went blind in her left eye from wet AMD.

She is now being treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital to save the remaining sight in her right eye. She said: “I lost the sight in my left eye in the year 2000 after noticing a sudden blurring of my vision. A few weeks went by and I was starting to get really worried. A doctor then told me I had a bleed at the back of my eye that needed to be treated urgently but it proved too late to save my sight.

“AMD has had a major impact on my life. I love going to the theatre but I find it difficult to see people’s faces and I struggle to find my way around dimly lit rooms. I really hope that technology can help people like me in the future.”

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, affecting 600,000 people. It is an extremely debilitating disease and timely treatment for patients with wet AMD, such as Elaine, is vital. Pressure on eye clinics has resulted in delays for many patients, which has tragically led to unnecessary sight loss. We’re excited by this latest development and hope in time this technology will alleviate the pressure on clinics and mean patients will get the urgent treatment they need.”


For more information visit

(NB: News of the progress of this work was reported initially in the February 2018 edition of VIC News.)


6. Research review suggests diet is linked to AMD

While many research articles have associated diet with the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a recent review has suggested there is evidence in these claims.

The analysis of 18 studies, which was published in ‘Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology’, found that a Mediterranean diet was more likely to slow the progression of AMD, while Oriental eating habits were connected with lower AMD prevalence (fewer people in the population having the condition).

However, a Western diet was associated with higher AMD prevalence due to a higher intake of red and processed meat, high-fat dairy products, fried potatoes, refined grains and eggs.

Scientists found that high consumption of vegetables rich in carotenoids and fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids was beneficial for those at risk of AMD. Conventionally, Oriental and Mediterranean diets are rich in vegetables, legumes, whole grains and seafood.

High glycaemic index diets (high in foods which release their energy quickly) and alcohol consumption of more than two units per day had an increased association with the condition.

Lead author, Naoko Chapman, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, emphasised: “Improving the quality of the diet, increasing the intake of foods that contain the nutrients required by the retina and avoiding foods that induce oxidative damage will play an important role in protecting against AMD.”


7. Early stages of glaucoma could be treated with turmeric eye drops


A new study led by researchers at UCL and Imperial College London, reports that a derivative of turmeric could potentially be used in eye drops as a treatment for the early stages of glaucoma.

In the ‘Scientific Reports’ paper, researchers report that curcumin, a compound extracted from turmeric, could potentially be formulated into an effective therapy for glaucoma.

Currently, regulating pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) is the main therapeutic strategy for treating glaucoma. In the early stages of glaucoma there is a loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Researchers are focusing on ways of stopping this loss of RGCs.

Previously, curcumin taken orally has been shown to protect RGCs. However, its clinical use has been limited by poor solubility. Researchers have developed a novel nanocarrier, which can be used in eye drops to deliver much higher loads of curcumin directly to the eye instead of throughout the body.

Professor Francesca Cordeiro, a Fight for Sight Trustee, at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Imperial College London, who led the research, said:

“Curcumin is an exciting compound that has shown promise at detecting and treating the neurodegeneration implicated in numerous eye and brain conditions from glaucoma to Alzheimer’s disease, so being able to administer it easily in eye drops may end up helping millions of people.”

Researchers also believe it may be possible to use curcumin to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, as it is known to bind to the amyloid beta protein deposits which are associated with Alzheimer’s.

Professor Cordeiro added: “As we live longer, diseases such as glaucoma and Alzheimer’s are steadily increasing. We believe our findings could make a major contribution at helping the lives of people affected by these devastating diseases.”

This research was funded by the Medical Research Council and Dr. Werner Jackstädt-Stiftung.


8. Optometry Today: New glaucoma treatment trialed in Manchester

The patients at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital are the first in the UK to trial the eyeWatch surgical implant.

The eyeWatch is a new fully adjustable surgical implant that drains excess eye fluid that is caused by glaucoma. It is the first ever glaucoma device that enables post-operative flow adjustment in the clinic.

The eyeWatch, which is manufactured by Rheon Medical, includes an implant that is inserted through the skin at the front of the eye. It is then connected to a drainage tube that filters excess fluid to the back of the eye where it is reabsorbed. There is a built-in magnetically controlled flow mechanism that allows the surgeon to open and close the device using a magnetic pen.

The device was trialled by three patients in Manchester.


9. Evening Standard: Research project growing eye parts from skin cells could lead to cure for blindness – 21 August 2018

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 cup contains the person’s genetic information, they can be used to test the effectiveness of drugs in delaying, or potentially restoring, the damage the 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.


10. Children with visual impairment more likely to develop mental health problems

New research has found that visual impairment affects learning and development and mental health from a young age.

Children aged between eight and 11 years old who live with a visual impairment are three times more likely to develop a mental health problem than children with no visual impairment, according to new research.

Research has revealed that a third of these children are at high risk of anxiety or mood disorders with around half showing difficulties in quality of life or adaptive behaviour.

Clinical academics from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Health (ICH) presented the findings at a conference held at ICH in London (2-4 July) with the Mary Kitzinger Trust and the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).

Consultant clinical psychologist and lead researcher at GOSH and ICH, Dr Naomi Dale, said: “Visual impairment puts high challenges on learning and development and mental health from the earliest days after birth and throughout childhood. The risks are even higher in those children with very low or no vision.”


11. Fight for Sight: Charity’s virtual running event takes users on a journey to the centre of the eye

What: Free virtual running event taking participants on a ‘journey to the centre of the eye’.   

Where: Race anywhere, any time with our free app! Delivers immersive audio with every step you take. Users download an app and can do the race in their own time from any location, including on a treadmill.

When: Event takes place from 24 September until 11 October 2018.

How: Sign up at

Leading eye research charity Fight for Sight is inviting people to be part of a massive adventure on a small scale, for a unique virtual running event that will take them on a ‘journey to the centre of the eye’.

The free sporting event will start during National Eye Week, 24 September and continue until World Sight Day on 11 October 2018. It will involve runners or walkers downloading an app and then listening to an audio story while they run or walk a 10k virtual race.

Participants will shrink to the size of a photon before being taken deep into the eye. The interactive app will use geo-positioning to give updates to runners at different stages of the course, revealing wonders about the eye and eye health tips on the way.

A virtual race is like a traditional race, but it takes place in a location and at a time of the participant’s choice.

As well as being a fun and fascinating experience Journey to the Centre of the Eye is also raising awareness of eye health and raising funds for Fight for Sight to fund vital research to prevent sight loss.

Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, said: “We’re encouraging everyone to join a massive adventure at a small scale! I think it is a fantastic interactive way to learn more about the eye while you get fit, and what better time to take part in National Eye Week. Anyone can get involved and you can walk, jog or run at your own pace from any location.

“Half of sight loss is actually avoidable so it’s really important that people know about their eyes and how to look after their eyesight.”

Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. Fight for Sight’s overall research commitments currently amount to £8m for over 160 research projects at 49 different universities and hospitals across the UK.

Over the course of its history the charity’s research has resulted in breakthroughs that include new treatments to save the sight of premature babies, the world’s first clinical trials to test gene therapies for inherited eye conditions and the creation of a corneal transplant service.


12. Government publishes ambitious plan for a fully accessible transport network by 2030

At the end of July the Government published their Inclusive Transport Strategy. This sets out how they plan to make transport more accessible for disabled people in the years ahead.

Some of the key parts include:


Access for All programme

The Government will put up to £300 million of funding into extending the Access for All programme, making railway stations more accessible, including through step-free access.


£2million for Talking Buses
Audio visual announcements on buses are essential for passengers with sight loss. A big campaign win by sight loss charities last year saw the Government make changes to the law to ensure that all buses would be Talking Buses; £2million has now been promised to spend in this area.


Pause on shared spaces 
Shared spaces are areas where the kerb is removed and pedestrians, cars and cyclists share the same surface and they have proved dangerous for people with sight loss. The Government has now recommended that local authorities in England pause the development of any schemes pending further research and the production of updated guidance.


Pavement parking to be investigated
Vehicles parked on pavements cause real problems for people with sight loss, often forcing them out into busy roads. The Government are making this issue a priority by promising to carry out research by the end of this year.


There are also some areas where sight loss charities feel the Government can do better and they will be working closely with them to make sure that issues like taxi and minicab refusals to carry guide dogs are not forgotten.


13. Scandal of low percentage of indefinite PIP awards

Only 18.1 per cent of PIP awards have been for an indefinite period

Heidi Allen MP recently asked a parliamentary question about the length of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards, for claimants, since its introduction. The answer supplied by Sarah Newton MP revealed a shockingly low number of indefinite PIP awards for a benefit which is aimed at people with severe and chronic conditions.

Worse, not only were 82.8 per cent awards made for 3.5 years or less, 1 in 5 PIP awards (23 per cent) were made for just 1.5 years or less.

Disability Rights UK’s welfare rights and policy advisor, Ken Butler said: “These figures are scandalous. Not only is there a ‘high bar’ set for the PIP test but most claimants will have to go through the same ordeal after two and a half years because their award is reviewed automatically one year before its end date.

“Is it really the case that 8 out of 10 claimants are likely to have increased or decreased care or molbility needs within 2.5 years? Not only does this earlier review seem unnecessary in most cases, but it is also a strain on the public purse, made worse because of the high level of success of appeals against bad assessments and decisions.

“All those made an indefinite award will have been made an award of the enhanced daily living component and enhanced mobility component. But even if you have been made an indefinite award of both enhanced components you will still be expected to undergo a ‘light touch’ review at the 10-year point.

“Why, when no objective grounds exist to doubt the validity of your award? Isn’t this a waste of public money and time?

“And is this not an insult to such disabled people who will have their PIP award removed if they do not respond to any review?”


14. Know your Rights: Equality Act toolkit

If you’re blind or partially sighted, it’s important to know how to protect your rights using the Equality Act. RNIB has a toolkit to help you do this.

It is not uncommon for blind and partially sighted people to experience situations where they are refused access to a restaurant or a hotel with their guide dog, or are given inaccessible information by their bank.

If you believe that you’ve been treated unfairly because of your sight loss, then you can challenge the service provider using the Equality Act 2010.

The first step is always to make a complaint to the service provider. RNIB’s toolkit can help you do this.

The toolkit includes a template for writing a letter of complaint. There is also a guide to what you should and shouldn’t include in your letter, and advice on what to seek as a resolution from the service provider.

RNIB is currently in a joint initiative with Guide Dogs to develop a toolkit specifically for guide dogs refusals, and a second toolkit, which covers inaccessible information.

RNIB will announce when these new toolkits are ready.

In the meantime you can download the existing toolkit from RNIB’s website at: The new ones will be available here too.

If you would like the toolkit in another format, or need help with making a complaint or using the toolkit, please contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.


15. The eye doctor who could not see the stars

For many years, Dr Andrew Bastawrous could not see clearly enough to spot the leaves on trees or the stars in the sky.

Teachers kept telling him he was lazy and he kept missing the football during games. Then, aged 12, his mother took him to have his eyes tested and that changed everything.

Now he is a prize-winning eye doctor with a plan to use a smartphone app to bring better vision to millions of children around the world.

Dr Bastawrous told the BBC: “I’ll never forget that moment at the optometrist. I had trial lenses on and looked across the car park and saw the gravel on the road had so much detail I had had no idea about.

“A couple of weeks later I got my first pair of glasses and that’s when I saw stars for first time, started doing well at school and it completely transformed my life.”

Around the world 12 million children, like Dr Bastawrous, have sight problems that could be corrected by a pair of glasses. But in many areas, access to eye specialists is difficult – leaving children with visual impairments that can harm school work and, ultimately, their opportunities in later life.


Pocket eye tests

In rural Kenya, for example, there is one eye doctor for one million people. Meanwhile in the US, there is on average one ophthalmologist for every 15,800 people.

In 2011 Dr Bastawrous – by now an eye doctor in England – decided to study the eye health of the population of Kitale, Kenya, as part of his PhD.

He took about £100,000 of eye equipment in an attempt to set up 100 temporary eye clinics but found this didn’t work, as reliable roads and electricity were scarce.

It was realising that these same areas had great mobile phone coverage – with about 80 per cent of the population owning a cell phone – that sparked the idea for Peek.

Peek is a smartphone-based system that can bring eye care to people wherever they are.

One part of the Peek system works in a similar way to an optician’s eye chart, checking how well a person can see.


Teachers as opticians

Dr Bastawrous wanted to see if Peek could be used by non-specialists in areas where eye specialists are scarce. His team came up with the idea of training teachers – turning the teacher into an optician.

Now a trial published in the ‘Lancet Global Health’ shows Peek can be used successfully to bring pocket eye tests to schools, helping more children to get the glasses they need.


How it works

Children are shown a series of “E” shapes in different orientations and sizes. The child points in the direction the symbol is facing. The teacher (who cannot see the screen) then swipes the phone in the same direction.

The app determines how good the child’s eyesight is.


Tried and tested

Dr Bastawrous – together with a team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – spent a week training 25 teachers in 50 schools in rural Kenya to use their Peek system or standard eye tests normally done by specialist nurses.

Half of the primary school children were then tested using the Peek system and half with standard eye tests using a series of paper testing cards.

After their tests, children who were examined by the Peek system were shown a split-screen simulation of how blurred their sight was compared with someone who could see clearly.

Crucially, they were then given a printout of this to pass on to their parents, showing them just how poor their child’s sight was.

The Peek system also sent out details of the nearest eye clinic along with text-message reminders to encourage parents to take their children to hospital.

Meanwhile, the children who took the paper-based vision test had their scores recorded manually and, if the teachers detected any eye problems, were given a paper letter to pass on to their parents.

Researchers found twice as many children attended hospital for free eye checks with Peek than went for standard eye tests.


Promise of sight

The study also found the app picked up on more children with eye problems than the standard tests – although, some were allergic conditions that temporarily blurred vision rather than sight problems that needed glasses.

Researchers realised these children benefited from treatment too so Peek has now been refined to spot the difference between eyesight issues and other eye problems, and send children to the right place for help.

Peek is being rolled out across more schools in Kenya, serving 300,000 children, with subsidised glasses for those who need them.

The government of Botswana is planning on using it nationwide and it is also being used in India.


16. September’s quick quiz

Q.1. What is the name of both a French wine and a luxury American car?

Q.2. Which building in Athens was destroyed by Venetian bombardment in the 17th century?

Q.3. What was the Latin name of Paris in Roman times?

Q.4. Which Italian artist painted ‘The Birth of Venus?

Q.5. Pavlov’s dog was the name of a famous experiment. Which animal added to the name Shrödinger is also a famous experiment?

Q.6. The author Theodor Seuss Geisel is known by what pen name?

Q.7. What is the meaning of the Latin word peccavi, allegedly sent by General Charles Napier after his recapture of Sindh during an uprising in India in 1842?

Q.8. What Latin term refers (literally) to a writer or composer’s ‘great work’?

Q.9. The films ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’ and ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ were filmed at which studios?

Q.10. The original meaning of which word meant to put to death one in every 10?

And the tie-breaker!

Q.11. Where is the tittle in tittle or the titulus in titulus located?


The answers are given after ‘…and finally’


and finally


London mapped – the literal names of the London boroughs

There are some seriously odd names knocking about this great city of ours – and some of the oddest belong to the 32 London boroughs.

A few (like Redbridge and Newham) are recent inventions, but many date back to the Anglo-Saxon era: a time when most of now what is London consisted of forests and sheep!

Here are just a few:

Barking & Dagenham – ‘Settlement by the birch trees’ & ‘Dæcca’s home’

Camden – ‘Enclosed valley’

Croydon – ‘Valley of the crocuses’

Enfield – ‘Field for lambs’

Greenwich – ‘Green harbour’ or ‘Green trading place’

Harrow – ‘Heathen temple’

Hounslow – ‘The dog’s mound’ or ‘Mound of a man named or nicknamed Hound’

Merton – ‘Farmstead by the pool (or pond)’

Southwark – ‘Fort of the men of Surrey’

Westminster – ‘Western church’


The answers to September’s quick quiz

A.1. Cadillac

A.2. Parthenon

A.3. Lutetia

A.4. Botticelli (probably mid 1480s)

A.5. Cat (Shrödinger’s cat)

A.6. Dr Seuss

A.7. “I have sinned”

A.8. Magnum Opus

A.9. Ealing

A.10. Decimate

And the answer to the tie-breaker!

A.11. Above the letter i (a tittle or titulus is the dot above the i)


Thank you for reading the newsletter.



This issue of the newsletter is dedicated to VIC Associate Members


Claire Daglish 1938 -2018


Keith Bird 1933 – 2018


With a big Thank You for their enormous contributions to VIC.


We miss them very much.



VIC Newsletter supplement: Getting out and about

West Euston Partnership ‘Cloud Nine Festival’

Saturday 15 September – 12noon – 4pm

Cumberland Market, Euston, NW1 3RH

A free outdoor festival for all the family, celebrating community life in Euston and King’s Cross.


Bloomsbury Festival 17 – 21 October

Bloomsbury Festival is a five-day celebration of the area’s pioneering creativity. Presenting an inspiring programme of arts, science, literature, performance, discussion and reflection, each October the Festival shines a light on the radical imaginations, institutions and 11,000 residents that shape contemporary Bloomsbury.


Event listings can be found at


Aquabats Sports and Social Club for the Blind

Aquabats is a mixed ability club meeting in and around London for a variety of sports and social events.

Join London’s visually impaired social club

If you are visually impaired and you live in London or the south east and have an interest in sport and other social activities then you might like to join the Aquabats Sports and Social Club for blind people.

For more information, call Aquabats on 07990 695 755, or email Keith de Jersey at


Upcoming events

20 September: Bingo at the Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Road King’s Cross London WC1X 8QY. The event starts at 7.00pm in the upstairs function room. King’s 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 King’s 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.

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


Audio-described architecture tours for Open House London 2018

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September
Open House London celebrates all that is best about the capital’s buildings, places and neighbourhoods. Every September, it gives a unique opportunity to get out and under the skin of London’s amazing architecture, with buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone – all for free.

The four London buildings where VocalEyes will be providing audio-described guided tours for Open House London 2018 are:

Marlborough House, in Pall Mall, once a splendid Royal Palace and now the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Saturday 22 September – 10am

Trinity House, overlooking the Tower of London on Tower Hill, home to a wealth of maritime history from lighthouses to navigational aids.

Saturday 22 September – 2pm

The Francis Crick Institute, a cathedral-like new building close to the historic King’s Cross St Pancras railway station, which houses several medical research bodies and is named after one of the people who discovered the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953.
Sunday 23 September – 10am

The Photographers’ Gallery transformed from a Soho textile warehouse into the latest home for the world’s first independent gallery dedicated to the medium of photography.
Sunday 23 September – 1pm

Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes.



If you would like to book your place on one or more of these tours, please use VocalEyes Open House London 2018 online booking form (SurveyMonkey). If you have any problems at all using this form then please email or call the office on 020 7375 1043 and leave your details.


Kew Gardens

Sensory Guided Walking Tours for visitors with sight loss and their carers

This sensory experience gives you the chance to touch and smell elements in the Gardens.

When: Second Sunday of every other month. The next tour is on Sunday 14 October, 11.30am.

Venue: Meet at the Guides’ desk, Victoria Gate Plaza

These walks are free, and free entry to the Gardens is included.

Places are limited so please register in advance to avoid disappointment, by email at or by phone on 020 8332 5643.


The National Gallery

Art Through Words

Sessions for Blind and Partially Sighted Visitors

These sessions are held on the last Saturday of the month from 11.30am to 12.45pm.

Each session begins with a description of the painting and ends with a visit to the galleries.

Please meet outside Conference Room 1 (level 1 of the Sainsbury Wing).

All sessions are free. Please call 020 7747 2864 or email to guarantee a place.

The next sessions are on:


Saturday 29 September

Turner: ‘Calais Pier’ (1803)


Saturday 27 October

Goya: The Duke of Wellington (1812-1814)


Saturday 24 November

Masaccio: The Virgin and Child (1426)


Please note that there is no Art Through Words session in December.

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN


National Portrait Gallery

Visualising Portraits

The National Portrait Gallery offers free Visualising Portraits picture descriptions for blind and partially sighted visitors on the last Thursday of each month from 2pm to 3.30pm.

For more information and to book a place phone 020 7306 0055 or email: Meet in the Main Hall.

The next session is on:


Thursday 27 September: Friendship Portraits

How is friendship portrayed in art? Delve into this engaging display and explore friends, lovers and families.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE


Tate Britain

Audio description events

Monday 17 September, 11.00am – 12.15pm 

A Common Ground: a tour of the responsive sculptures and vegetable gardens at Tate Britain which should have come into harvest by mid-September:


Refreshments from 10.30am.

A free picnic lunch in the garden will be provided after the tour.

Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG


Wallace Collection

Audio description event

Sensations! Journey to the East

Wednesday 26 September: 1pm – 4pm

Discover the rich textures, heady scents and bejewelled splendour of our Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Asian collections with audio-describers Jocelyn Clarke and Bridget Crowley. Then join scent artist John Foley and designer Sarah Krauss for a special sensory workshop.

Free, but booking is essential at or by phone on 020 3876 3164.

The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN


Theatre highlights: audio-described performances

Holy Sh!t

Tuesday 25 September – 7.30pm

Kiln Theatre

269 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR

Ticket price: £10 – £32.50

Bookings: 020 7328 1000

Jewish couple Simone and Sam will do anything to get their daughter into the best school. The bonds of family, faith and friendship are stretched to breaking point as their friends Juliet and Nick struggle to understand their actions.


The Humans

Saturday 6 October – 3pm (Touch Tour: 1.30pm)

Hampstead Theatre

Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, NW3 3EU

Ticket price: £10 – £37

Bookings: 020 7722 9301

Hampstead Theatre presents the Broadway production of The Humans by Stephen Karam.

Three generations of the Blake family have assembled for Thanksgiving in Brigid and Richard’s ramshackle pre-war apartment in Lower Manhattan. Whilst the event may have a slightly improvised air, the family is determined to make the best of its time together. As they attempt to focus on the traditional festivities, fears of the past and pressures of the future seep into the reunion and the precariousness of their position becomes increasingly evident.

This funny and chilling drama is a stunning portrayal of the human condition: a family at its best and worst navigating the challenges of everyday life.


The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

Saturday 10 November – 2.30pm (Touch Tour: 12.30pm)

Criterion Theatre

218-223 Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, W1V 9LB

Ticket price: £20 (Access rate)

Bookings: 020 7839 8811

Mischief Theatre’s smash-and-grab hit The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a fast, fabulous comedy caper, currently serving its third year at the Criterion Theatre.


I and You

Saturday 10 November – 3pm (Touch Tour: 1.30pm)

Hampstead Theatre

Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, NW3 3EU

Ticket price: £10 – £37

Bookings: 020 7722 9301

Housebound because of illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months. Confined to her room, she has only Instagram and Facebook for company. That is until classmate Anthony bursts in – uninvited and armed with waffle fries, a scruffy copy of Walt Whitman’s poetry and a school project due in the next day… Caroline is unimpressed all round.

But an unlikely friendship develops and a seemingly mundane piece of homework starts to reveal the pair’s hopes and dreams – as well as a deep and mysterious bond that connects them even further.


How to book

To make a booking, call the number given against the individual show. Please ensure that you tell the operator you are booking for an audio-described performance, so that you qualify for any ticket discounts and are allocated an appropriate seat.