Kingston Upon Thames Association for the Blind

Latest News

News, events and information that we receive between our biannual newsletter

Long Covid experiences and Support

Healthwatch Kingston, along with five other Healthwatch teams are working with the NHS in South West London to gain insight into people's experience of Long Covid, to help improve the support and services that are available. To share your views and eexperience, then please complete the survey

Six local Healthwatch are working with the NHS in South West London to gain insight into people’s experiences of Long Covid, to help improve the support and services that are available. Find out more: Share your views: Long Covid Experiences and Support | Healthwatch Kingston

Over 75? Have you applied for your TV Licence

Time is running out for making your arrangements for your new TV Licence. The deadline is 31st July 2021, if you have not already applied then your old licence will be cancelled on this date.

It’s a legal requirement to be covered by a TV Licence to: watch or record TV programmes live on any channel or device; stream programmes live via an online TV service; download or watch BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer. If you do not make arrangements before your current licence cover is cancelled, you will no longer be licensed to do these things.

The cost of a colour licence is £159.00. You can pay this in one go or spread the cost. We can help you set up a new licence, just call 0300 790 6151*. Our advisers are trained to help you find the way to pay that works best for you. Or you can visit

Apply for a free licence if you’re receiving Pension Credit. If you are receiving Pension Credit, you can apply for a free licence. Visit or call us on 0300 790 6151*.

If you are blind (severely sight impaired): You may be eligible to receive a 50% concession on your licence fee. To find out more, including what evidence to send us, please call us on 0300 790 6151*, or go to Please note, if you’ve told us in the past that you are registered blind, and we have indicated in the letter that the blind concession has been applied, you don’t need to send us document copies again. If you would like this information in a more accessible format: If you have sight problems we can send this information by email, audio, CD, large print or Braille. Please call us on 0300 790 6151*.

If you no longer need a licence, please let us know by calling 0300 790 6151

Lower Cost BT Fibre Broadband for Claimants

From the beginning of June, BT is to offer lower cost fibre broadband to people who are receiving the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • The guarantee credit element of pension credit
  • Jobseekers allowance
  • Income Support  and
  • Employment and Support allowance.

BT's Home Essentials package will offer 36 megabits per second broadband and 700 minutes of calls for £15 a month, compared to their usual price of £32.99. There is no monthly data cap. Alternatively claimants can opt for 67mb and unlimited calls for £20 a month.

Accessibility and the next stage in the Covid Roadmap

From Monday 17 May indoor hospitality can reopen and indoor entertainment can resume, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas. Up to 6 people or 2 households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.

All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances. Some larger events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre, and concert performances.

If you are planning on getting out into the area, then please consider Accessibility and let KCIL (Kingston Centre for Independent Living) know if there are any issues.  Using the below reporting link we have been made aware of many issues and have been able to act quickly to assist businesses with their shortfalls.

Also, please let them know if there are "Access Champions" just a line or two about the POSITIVE experiences will help as they are keen to collate a list of businesses that are inclusive in Kingston that will then be  shared with everyone.

Refurbishment of The Royal Eye Unit at Kingston Upon Thames

The eye emergency clinic at The Royal Eye Unit to create more space and to improve the experience for out patients.

The clinic will be closed from 24 May 2021 and will reopen in August 2021.

What if I need emergency eye care during this time?

If you have an eye emergency, please phone 020 8934 6799. If you are already under the care of The Royal Eye Unit and your eye emergency is related to the condition you are being treated for, they will book an appointment for you at Kingston Hospital, if necessary. If you are not currently a Royal Eye Unit patient, they will give you advice on where your eye emergency can be dealt with. This may be another eye hospital or a community service.

I already have an appointment at The Royal Eye Unit. Will my appointment still go ahead?

They would like to reassure patients that routine planned treatments, operations and outpatient eye services will not be affected by the refurbishment and will continue to take place within the Royal Eye Unit during this time.

Thank you for your co-operation and apologies for any inconvenience.

The Kingston Mayor's Covid 19 Award

Article by Ellie Brown, Kingston Nub News

Brian Gaff pictured here receiving his award from the Mayor of Kingston / Credit: Kingston Council

Brian Gaff pictured here receiving his award from the Mayor of Kingston / Credit: Kingston Council

A Kingston resident who runs the borough's only talking newspaper for sight-impaired people has won an award for his efforts to keep the paper going through lockdown.

Brian Gaff moved to Kingston in 1956 and has been involved with the Kingston Association for the Blind for more than 20 years.

He received a special Covid award from the Mayor of Kingston in a socially-distanced ceremony yesterday for his work producing the paper when it was unable to access its studio last March.

Brian, who has no sight and uses voice-enabled software on his computer, found a way to recreate the studio's professional set-up on his home device and spent hours each week editing recordings from the paper's readers made using their phones at home.

He also found a way to send recordings to the paper's readers using digital and telephone-based systems, as the usual USB sticks with the paper on could no longer be sent out.

Brian told Nub News he was surprised to receive the award and grateful for the paper which kept him busy over lockdown.

He said: "I would also like to thank my four producers, John, Helen, Sandy, and David, who are sighted and help with lots of the things blind people like myself cannot do, gathering news from inaccessible web sites being just one of many, and our readers who have had to learn new skills.

"And of course my parent Charity, Kingston Upon Thames Association for the blind, whose three part time employees have been supporting our blind members over this time, doing more hours than they are paid for and even surviving all getting Covid 19 over Christmas.

"So a Big thank you to Jean, Lisa and Vanessa for their support while I laboured over a hot keyboard.

"Also special thanks for our web site and Alexa Guru, Jonathan, and also the British Wireless for the Blind association for their talking News paper app."

In her citation for Brian read out at the ceremony yesterday, Talking Newspaper producer Helen Mendelson said: "I cannot begin to imagine how Brian navigates around websites and his computer with no vision.

"His knowledge, his curiosity, and most importantly his commitment to ensure that the local blind community are not left out as we make more of life screen-based, are the reason why the talking newspaper is still created and appreciated each week."

She added: "The weekly Kingston Talking Newspaper keeps visually impaired people in touch with local news and vital information from the Council.

"This has been even more important during the pandemic when the world went online, becoming more inaccessible to VIPs."

You can listen to Kingston Talking Newspaper at

Share your views about the Covid 19 Vaccine

Healthwatch Kingston is the local champion for health and social care services. They have a new survey running and wish to capture your views on the Covid-19 Vaccine. They would be grateful if you could spare a few moments to tell them.

The NHS is doing everything it can to deliver Covid-19 vaccines in Kingston, but there might be things that can be improved. Healthwatch Kingston, in collaboration with Kingston council, the NHS and Kingston Voluntary Action, want to know:

  • What you think about the Covid-19 vaccination programme
  • What you think about information on the Covid-19 vaccine

Your feedback is confidential but can help services spot issues affecting care for you and your loved ones.  You can complete the survey by following alternatively call Kingston Healthwatch on  020 3326 1255 and leave a message requesting Kezia Coleman call you back to support you with completing the survey.

NHS Track and Trace App

The new NHS Covid-19 app for Apple and Android devices has launched today and can be downloaded from your app store. The app is free and is part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and Wales.

The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in via QR codes.

Together with other sector organisations, Thomas Pocklington Trust has been involved in ensuring that the app is as accessible as possible for blind and partially sighted people. It is a native app build for Apple iOS and Android devices which means the built-in accessibility settings on your phone will work with it.

If you need access to information about the app in large print, braille or another format, you can request it by emailing [email protected]

You can also use the same email address to report accessibility problems and the NHS has committed to regular reviews and updates to improve accessibility further.

The link below takes you to a BBC news story with more information.

You've successfully subscribed to Kingston Upon Thames Association for the Blind
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Kingston Upon Thames Association for the Blind
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Unable to sign you in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.