Kingston Upon Thames Association for the Blind


Welcome to the 40th edition of Eye Opener.

You can download a Word version of this newsletter here

News from The KAB Office

We are pleased to let you know that accessibility to the office has been improved. There is now a concrete slope as you turn to access our office door at the back of the Cancer Research Shop, rather than a nasty drop and a grab rail has been installed on the wall at this point. Our old entry system, that was somewhat erratic, especially when it had been raining heavily, has now been replaced with a new and updated version. The stairs leading up to the office now have bright yellow non-slip strips on every step and finally our training/resource room has slatted blinds up at the windows.

Our website is currently under review and we expect it to be up and running properly in approximately two weeks. There are some new features, a rolling calendar of our events and links to our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please take a look and if you have any comments or suggestions let us know, the website address is above.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Eye Opener. Feedback from members is always welcome; we are always interested to hear what you think and to receive articles and ideas for our future editions. Our Autumn Eye Opener will be distributed in October 2018.

Jean, Gill, Lisa and Vanessa.

Recent KAB Events

The KAB AGM was held in April and we were delighted to see our attendance was up on last year. This we believe was due to it being in the afternoon, extra drivers and a nice sunny day. It was also great to see Jennifer and Hilary arrive on the Tandem and giving us the opportunity to take some photographs.

The Mayor of Kingston, at the time, Councillor Julie Pickering, welcomed everyone to the event and gave special thanks to our volunteers. She then joined us for a delicious lunch and spent time socialising with our members, which met with everyone's approval.

After lunch the official proceedings commenced; with no changes to the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. There were two re-elections to the Board of Trustees, Brian Gaff and George Phillips and two resignations, John Howard, Vice Treasurer and Diana Goodhew, representative for Coombe & New Malden Blind Club. Over the next few weeks we will be looking to fill these posts, so if you are interested in either one of them, please contact the office. The afternoon ended with lots of chatting and some lovely homemade cakes, we would especially like to thank those that donated them.

Also, in April KAB and the Sight & Hearing Service held a Technical and Information Roadshow. A variety of exhibitors demonstrated and advised on their products and services. There was a steady flow of visitors throughout the day and thank you all for coming along, we hope you found it beneficial and informative. A special thank you also goes to those that helped make the day a great success. Next year we hope to have a similar event, so if you would like to see a specific exhibitor please let us know in plenty of time so we can invite them.

May saw us enjoying the sunshine in Kingston raising money for the Greater London Fund for The Blind's Geranium Day and we are pleased to let you know that we collected an incredible £388.20, which was a great improvement on last year's £214.55.

Then in July we had another busy day manning our stall at New Malden Craft Fair , selling craft made by our Social Eyes Members and raising awareness of KAB. It was lovely to see so many of you venture out in the soaring temperatures. The day proved very fruitful for us as we sold lots of craft and raised £146, which was £40 up on last year. Many thanks go to everyone that helped us on both of these days.

Future KAB Events

On Saturday 15th September we will be at Surbiton Farmers Market once again, manning our stall and raising awareness of KAB in all our yellow glory. This monthly market provides a little bit of the countryside in the town and strives to work with the local community. So, if you are in the area please come and say hello, we are sure you will enjoy the atmosphere of this very vibrant market. From 9.00 am to 1.00 pm.**

On Saturday 13th October, 1.00 to 4.30 pm our Autumn Social, will be held at St Pauls Parish Hall, Hook Road, Chessington, KT9 1PL. This event gives us a great opportunity to say thank you to our members and volunteers for their support and help throughout the year, so we hope to see lots of you there. We are planning a fun filled afternoon starting with a free buffet lunch and a glass or two of wine. After lunch there will be some entertainment that you can either listen to, or for the more energetic dance to, followed by afternoon tea and cakes and a raffle.

The venue is very accessible on public transport and there is plenty of parking in the area, if you are coming by car. If you would like to attend, please telephone the office on the usual number 020 8605 0060, so we can ensure there are enough refreshments to go around. We would also love to hear from volunteers, helpers or drivers that may be able to assist on the day or maybe make a cake, or two.

Social Eyes – Hampton Court Visit

On a beautiful day in May our Social Eyes members visited Hampton Court. The first stop was at the Tiltyard Restaurant where a light lunch was enjoyed by all and a very much needed cup of tea. From there, some of the group experienced the Room Describer Tour of Henry VIII's Apartments and were taken around the large kitchen, whilst others either took a walk around the Privy Gardens and The Great Garden, or simply soaked up the sun and the fragrance of the flowerbeds. The Privy Garden today is a 1995 reconstruction of William III's 1701 formal privy garden. The famous Great Vine was also visited, thought to be the oldest and largest in the world. It grows the eating variety, Black Hamburg and was planted in 1768 by Lancelot Capability Brown. Until 1920 the grapes grown here were exclusively for the Royal table but now they are harvested daily in September and sold to visitors.

It was a great afternoon and all the staff at the venue were extremely pleasant and helpful.

Lunch Club

In April , the day after our AGM, the thought of making more sandwiches filled us with dread! So, we arranged for Salt and Vinegar in New Malden High Street to deliver Fish and Chips to us, which was fantastic, all but the portions being a little too large!

May saw us having some student visitors from The Imperial College of London, to demonstrate a prototype of an accessible food blender, to make cooking a lot easier for the visually impaired. The feedback they received was extremely helpful to their project and this is how they responded. "Thank you once again for giving us the wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing people. The conversations we had were very insightful, especially as three of us had not had the pleasure of meeting a Visually Impaired person previously: We learnt a lot, not only about how to improve the blender but also about many aspects of the life of a Visually Impaired person, that a sighted person would not normally think of. We will be making some changes to the prototype and hope to have working blender soon".

KAB Tandem Scheme

Here are some personal experiences of the joys of tandem riding from both front and back riders.

Hilary one of our front riders says "I love riding a bike for the exercise, being outside in the fresh air and for the sense of freedom it gives me. The best thing about being a tandem rider is to be able to share all this with your partner and having a conversation with them, as you ride along. I cycle regularly with Jennifer and we have a good old chat about what we are up to the rest of the week, as we do our circuit of Richmond Park. Jen has also inspired me to do more home baking and soup making, I have also learnt a lot too; I vividly remember Dennis White very patiently taught me the rules of cricket, whilst we were on one ride! "

Jennifer,Hilary's back rider says, "I have been cycling with Hilary for a year now. The time has just flown by and recently we went for a two hour ride around Richmond Park, we always follow the same route and the sense of freedom and speed is just wonderful. It is great to be whizzing down hills, instead of going at a snail's pace on the end of a long white cane. I am quite noisy and do a lot of whooping and laughing as we go through the park, mostly on the cycle paths. On our route we usually stop at a café for a cuppa or an ice cream, we call this our Champagne Bar. Hilary has been cycling for many years, I feel very confident with her and very blessed that she is my pilot. Give tandem riding a go as it is just the most wonderful sense of freedom and great exercise for the legs and other muscles you had forgotten you had".

Our youngest tandem rider is thirteen years old Ryley , who is registered as severely sight impaired. He like most other boys of his age enjoys cycling, being outdoors and really loves the freedom. Ryley has some vision and has mastered riding a BMX in a clear open space but because he cannot readily see uneven ground or obstacles, what he is able to do on his own is very limited and ultimately leaves him a little frustrated and disappointed.

Riding on the tandem has opened up a whole new world to Ryley , since being paired with Jon. He has been able to spend hours at a time cycling and in just a few weeks has already had the opportunity to ride around Richmond Park, to Wimbledon Common, Surbiton and beyond, each time returning and gushing over how much he is enjoying it. Ryley really loves the different routes and the friendship he is building with his pilot. He thinks that Jon is really cool, as not only is he giving him the opportunity to ride to lots of interesting places in all kinds of weathers but Jon also shares his knowledge about bicycles and riding. Ryley returns from a ride feeling really energised, upbeat and keen to share what he has learnt that day, he is clearly developing a real passion for cycling. The whole experience is very positive not just for Ryley but also his family, we cannot thank KAB enough. Written by Ryley's Mum.

Virgin Money London Marathon 2019: Team GLFB

The Greater London Fund for The Blind, GLFB, have a number of places available for the London Marathon 2019. If you would like to run for a great cause and get yourself super fit in the process, please get in touch with GLFB's Fundraising Team by emailing [email protected]to reserve a place. If you prefer to have a quick chat about the event over the telephone, please call 020 7620 2066 and one of their team will be happy to answer your questions.

You would be required to train for and run the full 26.2 miles and GLFB also ask, that all runners commit to raising a minimum of £2,000.

Once you have registered your interest GLFB will reserve a place for you and forward an application pack. Your completed application form must reach them by 1st October 2018. If your application is successful they will confirm your place for the 2019 marathon and ask you to pay a non-refundable administration fee of £100.

Adam Morse – Film Director

Adam Morse , became a KAB member in 2011. Adam had perfect vision until 2009 when his eyesight suddenly deteriorated. At this time, he was working in Dubai as a Production Assistant on a film. At first, he started noticing there were some dots in the centre of his vision and gradually over the Spring and Summer months of 2009, the dots in the middle of his vision began to get bigger and multiplied. Adam recently contacted the office to share with us his success and in his own words this is what he said:

"KAB were the foundation in me rediscovering my independence. They helped me purchase the screen reader JAWS and encouraged me to get lessons in how to use this software, so I could become active on my computer again after losing my eyesight. This was the catalyst to get me started writing my first feature length film '** Lucid**', which recently had its World Premiere in June at the 72nd Edinburgh International Film Festival, a dream come true!

I am eternally grateful for the guidance and support KAB provided me. It allowed me to re-pursue professional ambitions as an artist and also gave me the boost to become proactive with social interactions online. If anyone out there feels they do not have the ability to achieve what fully sighted people can, then you must re-think your situation and realise your true potential. We can all accomplish more than we are given credit for"

Adam' film has been nominated for Edinburgh's Prestigious Michael Powell award in the Best of British Category. It follows a lonely young introvert who has a crush on a dancer but cannot pluck up the courage to talk to her. His eccentric neighbour offers to help him by using an experimental form of therapy called Lucid Dreaming. This helps the boy to be more daring but the romantic quest leads him into dangerous waters. ' Lucid' stars Sadie Frost, Billie Zane and Laurie Calvert and explores dreams and reality and reflects his view that nothing can stop us from making dreams come true.

What's On

On Tuesday 11th September , there is a Low Vision Drop in Day at Merton Vision, from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. Sophie Camara, Kingston VI Parliament Coordinator is attending and getting the bus from Kingston to the event. If anyone is interested in attending Sophie will be happy to assist you, or alternatively feel free to drop in on your own. Please note this is a Social Eyes and Lawn Bowls day. Sophie's telephone number is 020 8481 1441 or 0779 239 5894.

In September there are two descriptive sensory tours at the Official Residences of The Queen, as follows. Both can be booked by calling 0303 123 7323:

Tuesday 18th September, from 9.30 am. Explore the Buckingham Palace Garden through words and senses. Led by a Royal gardener and describer, this tour will explore the history and current role of the garden. Tickets cost £19.70 and include entry to the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace after the tour.

Saturday 22nd September, from 2.00 pm. Royal Portraits Tour at Windsor Castle. Description, music and handling will be used to bring the two magnificent Van Dyck portraits of Charles the First alive. This event will examine the pictures from reproduction before viewing them in the Queen's Ballroom. Tickets cost £12.30 and include entry into the State Apartments and St George's Chapel.

This document is published and promoted by:

Kingston Association for the Blind 2A Sussex Road New Malden Surrey KT3 3PY
Tel: 020 8605 0060
Email: [email protected]