Kingston Upon Thames Association for the Blind

Newsletter

Welcome to the 41st edition of Eye Opener.

You can download a Word version of this newsletter here

Festive Season Addition Information

We hope you had a wonderful summer and were able to make the most of the amazing weather. We have enjoyed hearing about your holiday experiences and days out; a couple of which we are featuring later in this edition of Eye Opener.

News from The KAB Office

Over the past three months it has been far from quiet in the office, processing new volunteer applications and referrals, updating our website and preparing for our Annual Social. We have also enjoyed attending various events and visiting Greater London Fund for the Blind and Pocklington Hub/London Vision; more about that later.

A bit of sad news first; as we had to say farewell to one of our long standing volunteers, John Johnson, who has moved away from the area. John was a volunteer for KAB for just over thirteen years and we are sure many of you will remember him from Social Eyes, as an Eye Buddy or from visiting you at your homes. He was always happy to help and seemed to be able to assist with most things from changing batteries in radios, updating telephones, helping with domestic appliances and sometimes simply enjoying a cup of tea and a chat. We would like to thank John for all his help over the years and send our warmest wishes to him and his family.

Recent Events and Visits, in August we had a great afternoon playing Lawn Bowls against Metro Blind Bowls at Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith. Three matches were played and KAB was the overall winner; a fantastic result, especially as some of Metro’s players bowl for England Blind Bowls!
September saw us manning our stall at Surbiton Farmers Market, where we had a good morning selling craft made by our Social Eyes members and raising awareness of KAB. We would like to express our gratitude to the Market Organisers for matching the money we raised on the morning but also for supporting us with their Larger Donation programme this year. This now means our Social Eyes group can look forward to an eventful 2019 of trips and activities. We will be back at the market on the 16th February, 2019 from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm; we look forward to seeing you there.

Also in September we attended London Vision’s Networking Tea at the Pocklington Hub. It was an informative afternoon with speakers from the Working Age Forum, Student Network and London Vision Impairment Forum. It was good to meet our peers from other sight loss organisations across London and we look forward to more sessions like this.

Our Annual Social was held in October, it was lovely to see so many of you there. We were delighted that the Rt. Hon Sir Edward Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton was able to make an appearance and spend time chatting to you. A delicious buffet lunch was served followed by some incredibly good entertainment, it was great to see so many of you taking to the dance floor whilst others just chatted or watched. We then had Afternoon Tea and enjoyed some very scrumptious home-made cakes. The afternoon ended with a very generous raffle, singing and dancing. Many thanks go to everyone that helped on the day and special thanks go to St Pauls Parish Hall Lettings, for providing the hall for free and to those that donated raffle prizes and cakes. The afternoon was a real success, if you have any thoughts or ideas for our next** social** please let us know.

Later in October, Adrian and Jean had the pleasure of visiting the new Chief Executive, for Greater London Fund for the Blind, Olivia Curno. Olivia brings a wealth of leadership, fundraising and communications experience to GLFB and shares their ambitious vision for growth. We are really looking forward to working with Olivia over the forthcoming months.

We are always interested to hear what you think of the newsletter and to receive ideas about articles or your personal stories for inclusion in future editions. The Winter Eye Opener will be distributed in March 2019 with full details of our AGM, which will be held on Wednesday, 10th April 2019.

Jean, Gill, Vanessa and Lisa

KAB Treasurer Opportunity

We are looking for a suitably qualified and experienced finance professional to join the KAB Board of Trustees to take up the position of Treasurer early in 2019, following the resignation of Jonathan Cooper. Jonathan joined KAB as a Trustee in the early 1990’s, as Honorary Secretary, he then went on to become Vice Chair followed by Chair and more recently Treasurer. We will all be very sorry to see him leave us.

The overall role of the Treasurer is to maintain an overview of KAB affairs, ensuring financial viability and ensuring that proper financial records and procedures are maintained. You will also ensure KAB is accountable to its beneficiaries, to the Charity Commission and the public in general.

Trustees have the ultimate responsibility for running the charity, for its finances and the employment of staff. Our Trustees are involved in developing the future of KAB and its work, advising and working with staff and making policy decisions. Effective Trustee Boards need a range of people with a good mix of skills. Some with a real understanding of the needs to be met and others with good financial, business and management experience. Half of our current Board are blind or partially sighted and as we aim to maintain or exceed that ratio, we are particularly interested in hearing from people with experience of sight loss.

If you are interested and would like an informal chat with the present Treasurer or Chair please contact Jean at the KAB Office and she will forward your details on.

Amazon Smile

KAB have recently signed up to AmazonSmile, this is part of the Amazon.co.uk site and allows charities to receive 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to a charitable organisation of your choice. To access this, you will need to log into smile.amazon.co.uk and select Kingston Association for The Blind as your chosen charity, after the initial selection you will not need to choose us again. Every item available for purchase on www.amazon.com is also available on AmazonSmile, smileamazon.com, at the same price but you should check this.

Legacies - by Adrian Munt, KAB Chair

I have been the Legacy Administrator for a major charity for the past 27 years.

Have you considered leaving a legacy in your Will to a charity supporting blind and visually impaired people? When doing so, most people think of national charities, such as RNIB or Sightsavers. However, it is possible and you might prefer, to leave a bequest to a more local charity. For example, were you to wish to support a charity serving people in London, I would suggest KAB’s major funders, Greater London Fund for the Blind. More locally, of course, there is KAB but there are even more local opportunities, Surbiton Club for The Blind which is an independent charity and New Malden & Coombe Blind Club. Alternatively you might wish to support a specific activity; recently, we had a bequest restricted to our Tandem Cycle scheme, were you to do this, it would need to be clearly stated within your Will.

There are 2 main types of legacy to consider, a specific cash amount, known as a Pecuniary Bequest, or a share of the residue (what is left after the costs of administering the estate and Pecuniary Bequests). While I am always happy to provide general advice about legacies – I need to avoid the danger of undue influence - it is important to discuss with your solicitor what your wishes are. Personally, I would always recommend using a solicitor, over a so-called Will Writing Service, or a ‘do it yourself kit’.

I have been the Legacy Administrator for a major charity for the past 27 years.

Have you considered leaving a legacy in your Will to a charity supporting blind and visually impaired people? When doing so, most people think of national charities, such as RNIB or Sightsavers. However, it is possible and you might prefer, to leave a bequest to a more local charity. For example, were you to wish to support a charity serving people in London, I would suggest KAB’s major funders, Greater London Fund for the Blind. More locally, of course, there is KAB but there are even more local opportunities, Surbiton Club for The Blind which is an independent charity and New Malden & Coombe Blind Club. Alternatively you might wish to support a specific activity; recently, we had a bequest restricted to our Tandem Cycle scheme, were you to do this, it would need to be clearly stated within your Will.

There are 2 main types of legacy to consider, a specific cash amount, known as a Pecuniary Bequest, or a share of the residue (what is left after the costs of administering the estate and Pecuniary Bequests). While I am always happy to provide general advice about legacies – I need to avoid the danger of undue influence - it is important to discuss with your solicitor what your wishes are. Personally, I would always recommend using a solicitor, over a so-called Will Writing Service, or a ‘do it yourself kit’.

GoodGym

Do you need a hand with a household or garden task? GoodGym is a registered charity with lots of friendly runners who like to keep fit and help people. They stop off on their runs to help people with practical tasks.

If you are over sixty and have an odd job that you are struggling with, they might be able to help. They can help with one off tasks such as; changing a smoke alarm battery or light bulb, clearing rubbish or rubble, gardening tasks or moving heavy furniture.

GoodGym is run by volunteers; you do not have to pay. The runners are background checked and trained and you choose the time for them to visit. You can get in touch by telephoning 0203 432 3920 or email
[email protected].

Blind Veterans UK

Blind Veterans UK is a charity that support blind and partially sighted men and women who have formerly served in the Armed Forces, including those who were enlisted for National Service. Their care services are provided in Brighton and Llandudno and they also have a training centre in Sheffield. One of our members, John Marsh, speaks admirably about Blind Veterans UK and another charity that means a lot to him:

“I have now been a member of Blind Veterans UK, previously known as St. Dunstans, for over three years, after suddenly losing my sight. My experience was that an application was made to Blind Veterans on my behalf and I was invited to attend a week at their Brighton Centre, for an induction. This comprised of an assessment of my sight, my ability or otherwise to manage around my home and some useful items for me to use at home. I later made a second visit to Brighton for some technical training on my Tablet. Both of these visits were without cost to me. I have also spent one week’s holiday at Llandudno, however, I did have to pay for that.

The caring support at both centres was excellent and I felt very confident whilst being there. For all three visits transport was provided from my home to the centres in a minibus, free of charge.

The London region, which includes the whole of the Greater London Council, has a good social programme and this year we have had a barbeque, a reunion dinner at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly and theatre visits.

Members are supported by occasional visits from their support worker.

Also, this year I had one week’s enjoyable holiday at Princess Marina House, Rustington, Sussex. Princess Marina is available to serving and former RAF families and individuals for holidays and respite care. The House is supported by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund but it is not specifically for people with sight impairment”.

John is more than happy to elaborate on his association with both of these charities, so if you would like to know more please contact the office and we will pass your contact details on to him.

Free Directory Enquiries

Recently we have had a couple of members asking about BT’s 195 and 198 free telephone enquiry lines. What follows explains the difference between the two.

If you are unable to read or hold a telephone directory because of your sight loss or other disability, you can make use of the free directory enquiries service, 195. You can use this service whether or not BT is your telephone company.

Once you have successfully signed up to the service, all you do is dial 195 and speak to the operator who will find the number you require. If you ask to be connected to the number, you will then be charged for the call you make according to the call package that you have with your provider. Registered BT only customers also do not have to pay the BT 1471 and BT 1571 call return fee, which they usually charge on top of call charges.

To sign up to the service you will need to fill out a simple application form. You can obtain this by telephoning for free 0800 587 0195, or alternatively if you are able to access the internet you can download it from there. As well as filling out details about yourself, you will also need someone like a doctor, nurse or other medical practitioner who knows you to countersign the form before you send it off. Once your application has been processed you will receive a pin number that you have to quote when you use the service. If you need any assistance in completing the form, please contact the office as we are always happy to help.

The 198 service is an extension of the 195 service but for BT line users only. With this service you can register up to twenty contact names and telephone numbers with BT, so that when you need to call someone from your list, all you have to do is give the name to the operator and they will put you straight through. You still need to register with 195 to obtain the 198 service and once you have received your pin number you can either call 198 or be put through via 195. Again, there is no charge for this service.

Vocal Eyes

Vocal Eyes provide opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience the arts at UK’s theatres, museums, galleries and heritage sites. Jen Carpenter, one of our members shares a few of her memories:

“Earlier this year, I visited the Old Royal Naval College Painted Ceiling for Vocal Eyes audio described tour. It started with a description of the wall painting in the downstairs rooms, we then had to climb the scaffolding staircase to ceiling level, after a detailed description including how the ceiling is cleaned inch by inch with cotton buds, we had time to look around and ask questions. The climb up the staircase was quite rickety but there was a lift to come back down for those who found it difficult. I would recommend this tour and for those people with some residual sight the ceiling is quite beautiful. I could not see it but with the audio description it brought it all to life.

Three months later, again we were at the Old Royal Naval College site for an audio described tour. We were allocated one guide to four people, they described where we were and the buildings we were passing and gave us a lot of background history of the site. We went into the chapel, which was magnificent and listened to more of the history of the site and its former inhabitants. We were encouraged to touch the ornate pillars and the wonderful carvings on the walls. The tour lasted for about an hour and we finished back at the Visitors Centre for refreshments and where some fossil exhibits, found at the site, were passed around. Concerts are held in the chapel a few times a week and I will certainly go back again to hear one of them. Vocal Eyes was both welcoming and very informative throughout these two tours.

In the summer, with my husband Fred, we attended the opera La Traviata by Verdi at Holland Park. Upon arrival the Director and his staff met us so that we could take part in a touch tour and meet some of the players, dressed in costume. The players happily described their costumes and we were encouraged to feel the material and accessories. We then went backstage to look at and handle some of the props and check out some of the instruments from the orchestra. The opera, music and singing were fantastic and, of course, the audio description was just wonderful, delivered by** Vocal Eyes** audio describers, Willy and Veronika. I cannot see any action on the stage but the whole scene came to life with their live chat, through the headsets. Holland Park is a great venue and the seating was very comfortable, it was such a lovely experience and of course the audio description made it accessible for me”.

Local Audio Described Performances

The Rose Theatre’s Christmas show this year is a new festive version of Brothers Grimm, Hansel & Gretel and features young actors from the Rose Youth Theatre alongside professional actors. The audio described performance will be staged on Saturday, 22nd December at 1.30pm. General tickets are from £20 to £35, concessions are available, to book telephone 020 8174 0090.

On Wednesday, 2nd January 2019 at 7.00 pm Richmond Theatre will stage an audio described performance of the high-flying hero, Peter Pan, as he transports the Darlings on an adventure they will never forget, filled with evil pirates, a very hungry crocodile and the meanest man in Neverland, Captain Hook played by the BAFTA winner Robert Lindsay in his first pantomime! General tickets are from £12 to £42.50, for Access bookings and enquiries please call 0800 912 6971.

New Wimbledon Theatre will be staging an audio described performance of Aladdin on Thursday, 3rd January 2019 at 7.00 pm. Paul Merton leads the cast in this pantomime as Widow Twankey, he will be joined by Lee Ryan as Aladdin and magician Pete Firman will be on hand, to spread a little magic over SW19 and help Aladdin overcome the evil Abanazar. General tickets are from £16.90 to £45.40, the theatre’s telephone number is 0844 871 7646.

As our thoughts now turn towards Christmas, if any of you would like assistance writing Christmas cards or help with your Christmas shopping, we may be able to help. So please give us a call but do not leave it too late, or the week before Christmas, as we will need time to find volunteers. Enclosed with this newsletter is a separate information leaflet for the Festive Season. If you are listening to the newsletter on the Kingston Talking News or on the internet the information will follow.

The KAB Office will close for Christmas at 1.30 pm on Thursday, 20th December and re-open on Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019 at 11.00 am.

Wishing you all A Wonderful Christmas and A Happy New Year!

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]

Festive Season Information

Dear Member

Yes, it is that time of year again! The lights are on, the carol singers are out and it is Christmas in Kingston. The Ancient Market Place, the Bentall Centre and surrounding streets have been transformed into a festive wonderland with plenty of events and entertainment to get everyone into the holiday spirit. For more information either give us a call or alternatively visit www.inkingston.co.uk or www.bentallcentre.co.uk.
The countdown to Christmas starts in Surbiton on Thursday 22nd November, starting at 3.00 pm and in New Malden on Friday 30th November at 5.30 pm followed by a Christmas Spectacular at New Malden Market on Saturday 1st December from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm.

Club Christmas Lunch Dates

Lunch Club at the MEFAS Hall, New Malden Thursday 29th November from 12.30 to 2.30 pm., so search out those Christmas jumpers and hats for a fun filled Christmas themed quiz, entertainment from Grandads Aloud and a scrumptious buffet, £3.00 per person.
Social Eyes at the North Star, Chessington Tuesday 4th December from 12.15 to 3.00 pm. £10.00 deposit.
Lawn Bowls at King George Indoor Field Bowls Club, Chessington Thursday 6th December from 12.15 to 3.00 pm, £10 deposit.
Surbiton Blind Club at King George Indoor Field Bowls Club, Chessington Tuesday 11th December. Transport will be arranged by the Club, with pick-ups from midday.
Eye Contact at the North Star, Chessington Wednesday 12th December.
Kingston Macular Group at King George Indoor Field Bowls Club, Chessington Thursday 13th December.
New Malden & Coombe Blind at King George Indoor Field Bowls Club, Chessington Wednesday 9th January, 2019, times and transport to be confirmed. Please note this will be in place of their meeting.

Christmas Day Events

St James’ Church, New Malden invite you for lunch at the Church Hall in Bodley Road, from 12.30 to 3.30 pm., there is no charge. Contact Alison Brennan on 07904 725251 or email [email protected]. The church has some volunteer drivers, so if you need transport let them know as soon as possible, as they may be able to help.
Kingston United Reformed Church, Kingston also invites you to join them for lunch, games and singing at the church, 11.30 am to 3.30 pm., there is no charge. To book, telephone 020 8549 1888, Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. If you are planning to go and you need a taxi remember to book it early, as no buses or trains run on Christmas Day.
St. Andrews and St Marks Church, Surbiton are hosting their Christmas festivities at the YMCA Surbiton from midday to 3.30 pm., again there is no charge. Space is limited so if you are interested please telephone Carol Bourne on 020 8399 8438, or alternatively you can contact the Parish Office on 020 8390 9129. The church has volunteer drivers, so let them know if you need transport.

Recycling Collection Days for the Festive Period

There will be no waste and recycling collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year. This means from Tuesday 25th December through to Friday 4th January, collections will take place two days later from your normal collection day. Some collections will be made on Saturdays. From Monday 7th January to Friday 11th January collections will take place just one day later than your normal collection day. Collections will return to normal on Monday 14th January. Discarded real Christmas trees will be collected between 7th and 19th January and residents have been requested to leave their trees at the front boundary of their property, on their black wheelie bin collection day.

Club Start Dates 2019

Ten Pin Bowling Monday 7th January.
Surbiton Blind Club Tuesday 8th January.
Eye Contact Tuesday 8th January.
New Malden & Coombe Blind Club Wednesday 9th January. Outing.
Kingston Macular Group Thursday 10th January.
Social Eyes Tuesday 15th January.
Lawn Bowls Thursday 17th January.
Lunch Club Thursday 31st January.
Tea & Tech Wednesday 6th February.

If you are interested in joining any of these clubs please contact the office. Volunteers and drivers are always welcome.

Wishing you all A Very Merry Christmas from the KAB Office.