Newsletter Winter 2019

Newsletter Winter 2019

Welcome to our winter 2019 newsletter.
We hope you are looking forward to Christmas and the New Year.
If you still need a Christmas gift for a friend or relative who has a sight problem, or you need a large print calendar or diary for 2020, they are available from our Sight Advice Centre.
If you want to get in touch with us about any of the items mentioned in this newsletter, or if you have suggestions you would like to make, our contact details are at the bottom this page.

Living With Sightloss Course

Lots of useful information was available for those attending our Living With Sight Loss Course in September and we would especially like to thank our visiting speakers – the Lancashire Rehabilitation Officers for the Visually Impaired, representatives from Homewise, Guide Dogs, Hyndburn Talking Newspaper and RNIB. Our own staff and volunteers also provided information about eye health, wellbeing and benefits.
We will be holding another two day course on Monday 24th and Wednesday 26th February.
If you are struggling with your vision and would like to find out more about what help is available locally and nationally, please contact us to book a place.

Sight Support Group including Macular

The group meets at 12 noon every Tuesday
All of these meetings are friendly informal gatherings, sometimes with a guest speaker or a demonstration of equipment helpful to those with sight difficulties.
If you would like to meet up informally with other people who are experiencing sight problems, you are very welcome to come along any Tuesday to this group.
At the beginning of November the group went to Townley Hall, where there are trained staff available to help people with sight loss enjoy their visit
In the coming weeks we have:
12th Nov. Chair based exercises followed by a visit from Angela from Carers’ Link
19th Nov. A visit from Ken Bridge from Synapptic, demonstrating their talking and easy to see smartphones.
26th Nov. A visit from Jennifer Gregory from OxSight demonstrating their special “smart” glasses using the latest technology.
10th Dec. Sight Support Group Christmas party. For tickets please contact our Sight Advice Centre.

Sight Advice Center

Pauline and her team are always happy to help you in our Sight Advice Centre in Bank Street. We have various items of equipment to help with daily living, leaflets about different aspects of eye health, and lots of other useful information.
You are warmly invited to pop in any Tuesday or Thursday between 10:00am and 4:00pm, or the first Saturday morning of each month between 10:00am and 1:00pm to have a chat, a cuppa and have a look at the literature and equipment available for yourself or others.
If we don’t know the answer to your question or don’t have the equipment you want, we will do our best to find it.

Better Vision Drop-in

Do you live in or near Haslingden?
Having difficulty seeing clearly?
Why not visit our Better Vision Drop In, where you’ll get advice and tips on improving eye health and improving low vision?
On the second Thursday of each month between 10:00am and 12:00 noon at Haslingden Methodist Church at their “Place of Welcome”.

What’s This?

Do you ever have difficulty reading the labels on packets or tins or seeing the markings on your cooker, washing machine or TV remote control?
Some people manage by using magnifiers, but if that doesn’t work well enough for you there are various other products available to help. Some use colours, others have tactile raised markings and there are also audible solutions.
Here are some of the options available from our Sight Advice Centre.


These are small raised plastic discs which can be peeled off the backing sheet and stuck onto particular markings on a washing machine or microwave or onto a particular button on a telephone or TV remote control. They come in several colours, so can be used to mark different settings or buttons.

Hi-Mark Tactile Pen

Hi-Mark or Tacti-Mark
A tube of-coloured liquid plastic that sets hard when squeezed onto a surface and is excellent for marking tools and appliances such as the markings on a cooker or washing machine.

Band-It Tactile Bands

Band-It Tactile Bands
Brightly coloured tactile bands to help you identify objects around the home, such as shampoo bottles and cleaning products. Each pack contains 10 flexible bands; two of each design.

Sock Snaps

Sock Snaps
Some things are better together – and that includes your socks or your gloves.
Use Sock Snaps to keep pairs of socks together all the way through the wash and until they are safely back in the sock drawer.

Talking Tins

Talking Tins
Magnetic, reusable voice recorders for easily tagging the contents of your cupboards.
They are Yellow circular discs which fasten to your tins magnetically. You can record a short voice recording on each one to say what’s in that particular tin – soup or baked beans? They come with a Velcro strap for wrapping round non-metal containers.

Penfriend 3 Audio Labeller

Penfriend 3 Audio Labeller
Use your voice to record labels for a range of items around your home, at school or at work with this audio labeller.
The PenFriend 3 is easy-to-use and can store up to 250 hours of recordings. When you need to identify the item, simply place the PenFriend on to the label and it will play back your recording! Your PenFriend can also be used as an MP3 music player and Talking Book player.

Synapptic Demonstration

Synapptic Demonstration

Synapptic software makes smartphones and tablets easier to use when you have sight loss.

Phones or tablats can be purchased with the software already installed, or you can just purchase the software to use on your existing device.
If you would like to see a demonstration of how Synappptic works and try it for yourself, come along to our Sight Advice Centre on Tuesday 19th November between 12 noon and 3pm, when Ken Bridge will be available to show you the options.

Ken will also give you details of the two special offers currently available from Synapptic. The first offer is that they will give you a free Amazon Echo if you buy a Synapptic device from a specific range. In the second offer they will give you a discount for trading in your old smartphone or tablet.



OXSIGHT began in the research laboratories of the University of Oxford, with a core team of scientists and clinicians working with the low vision community to develop solutions for sight degeneration.

Today, OXSIGHT produces patented, smart glasses that address visual impairment caused by various conditions and degenerative eye diseases.
Through visionary technology, OXSIGHT increases the field of vision and transforms lives,

Come along to our Sight Advice Centre on Tuesday 26th November at 12:30pm for a demonstration.

Can’t See Can Cook

Our next 6 week series of ‘Can’t See Can Cook’ cookery sessions with tutor Bill Wynn from Lancashire Adult Learning, will be in the New Year.
Places are limited, so if you are interested please contact us on 01254 233332 for further information or to book a place.

VIEW (Working Age Group)

We now have a group of “working age” people who meet together bi-monthly on the first Saturday of the month.
They will be getting together again at 12 noon on the first Saturday in December, meeting at our sight Advice Centre in Bank street then going for a Christmas lunch. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us and we will put you in touch.

Keeping Up With Technology

One to One technology sessions with Claire from the RNIB are fully booked for 2019, but are available in the New Year on the third Tuesday of each month at our Sight Advice Centre on Bank Street.
Volunteer Tim, who works with Claire, is available at Bank Street to help you with your laptop, tablet or smartphone queries on the first Saturday of each month starting from 7th December.
Ring us for further details or to book a one hour session with either Claire or Tim.

Are You Interested in Braille?

If you would like to start learning Braille or improve your skills you would be very welcome to come along to
Braille-IT, on Tuesday mornings or alternate Saturday mornings at our Sight Advice Centre in Bank Street.
If you are a more experienced Braille user you can come along to try the Orbit Reader Braille display. This can be used as a stand-alone note taker or can be connected to your Apple, Android or Kindle device to access a world of books through reading apps
Please contact us to arrange a session.

Yoga Sessions

These are continuing on the second and fourth Thursday mornings of each. The cost is £5 for a one hour session. It would be helpful if people who would like to attend could let Pauline or Chris know by phoning us on 01254 233332.

Book Shop

If you need something to read during the long winter evenings, pop into our bookshop in the Arndale Arcade. The shop has a wide selection of printed books and also some audio books on CD. Good quality books are always welcome, so if you or your friends want to free up some space on your bookshelves please let us know. We are really grateful to our volunteers who give so much of their time to welcome visitors to the shop.

Annual Quiz Night

Our Quiz Night in October. was very well attended.
£475 was raised to help the Society support visually impaired people in the local area.
Many thanks to Helen and her helpers for organising the event and to Gerald Jackson of BBC Radio Lancashire for being our expert Quizmaster.

Volunteer Roles

We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help in our Centre at Bank Street or at exhibitions or fundraising events.
We are also in need of people with specific skills, for example a driver, a handyperson or a qualified cookery teacher.
For further information please contact us.

Much Appreciation…

As this is being written in Trustees’ Week, we would like to say a big “Thank you” to all our Trustees for the many ways in which they use their skills and time to direct and support our charity.

and some Goodbyes

Particular thanks to Peter Taylor and Henry Gilbraith, who are retiring from their Trustee roles.
Peter Taylor brought his considerable experience of working in the sight loss sector at Galloway and wider experience in the charitable sector to benefit our Society, guiding us through the redevelopment of our Sight Advice Centre following the relocation of our Bookshop to the Arndale Centre and working with us as we looked forward to the future.
Henry Galbraith has served the Society as our Treasurer in recent years and brought his wisdom, expertise and skills to the management of our funds.
Our chairman Peter said, “We thank Henry and Peter for their service to the Society in recent years during which we have seen much growth and change to which they have contributed greatly. We shall miss their wisdom, advice and support as we move forward.”
We wish them the best of health and happiness for the future.

Thank You for Your Support

Please tell your friends about Accrington & District Blind Society and, if possible, arrange or take part in an event to support our work. You could make a big difference and help ensure the future of our charity and the development of services across the community to ensure people with a sight loss lead full and independent lives. Our long term future depends on increasing our income through having a higher profile in the community and attracting legacies and donations.

Keeping in Touch

If you would prefer to receive this newsletter in larger print, in Braille, or by email or audio recording, please let us know.

Contact Us

Accrington and District Blind Society,
32 Bank Street, Accrington BB5 1HP

Telephone: 01254 233332


Please remember that the office is presently open Tuesdays and Thursdays10am to 4pm and the first Saturday morning of each month 10:00am to 1:00pm.