Spring Newsletter

Tuesday, 29th March 2022

Please feel free to read our spring newsletter, where you will find information about the Society.

Dear friends,

We thought we would send another newsletter even though we sent one not so long ago. It has been such a strange time over the last couple of years that we have nearly forgotten what normal times were for us all.

We have all managed to weather the storm of Covid and are hoping the Spring isn't far away? It is lovely hearing the birds in the morning and makes us think that the better weather is coming and that we will get back to how we were, eventually.

From the first of April we will have a new Centre Manager. His name is Mark Costello and some of you may have met him at the Low Vision Clinic we hold in our centre twice a month. We are very pleased that Mark has agreed to take on this position and are sure he will be a great asset to the Society. He has worked in the Voluntary Sector for many years and is extremely knowledgeable regarding the working of charitable organisations and also the rights and expectations of those of us who may have difficulties and challenges with sight loss and its complications. We welcome Mark and are sure he will be very beneficial in his post at Carlisle Society for the Blind.

OPEN DAY 12th MAY - We are holding an open day from 10 am to 3 pm on Thursday 12th May in the Botcherby Community Centre on Victoria Road, Carlisle.  Many of you will remember our previous open days and they have been a great success. There are many organisations coming to demonstrate their specialised equipment and I am sure it will be a very interesting and beneficial day so please do come along. There will be a cup of tea, coffee and biscuits available free of charge. We do hope as many of you as possible will drop in as we don't have many of these invaluable exhibitions of specialised equipment in Carlisle and this is a wonderful opportunity to try new things which are available for us. 

RETIREMENT - Many of you will know Howard and some of you still remember when he was a social worker in the Civic Centre, quite a few years ago now. Howard retired on 25th February this year. He wishes to thank everyone who has made the last few years of working for the Society so happy and fulfilling. He will continue as a volunteer with the Society so I am sure we shall still see him around. He fell and broke his hip earlier in January and decided it was probably time to take things a bit easier. I am glad to say that he is on the mend now and will soon be out and about again.

LOCAL MACULAR SOCIETY GROUP - We would like to say a big Thank You to Rebecca for all the work she has been doing for the macular group during lock down. The telephone conferences have been well attended and enjoyed by those people who participated. She is hoping to have the Macular meetings again soon but is finding a different venue as sometimes the room in Brunswick Street became rather overcrowded. I am sure Rebecca will let everyone know the dates and where the meetings will be held. We are very grateful to her for keeping things going so well and for all the help and support she has given to many people during this very hard time. And it has been a long time, 2 years or more!

LOW VISION CLINICS - I would like to remind you all that the Low Vision Clinic is still being held at our premises in 9 Brunswick Street and the clinics are usually held on the first and third Tuesday in the month. Mark has been supporting Sylvie from the hospital and they have managed to keep going with smaller numbers during the last couple of years. If you feel you would like an appointment at the clinic, the number to ring is 01228 814791 and I am sure Carol or Sylvie will be able to help you.

Our new Manager, Mark would like to say a few words at the end of this letter and also, a few items to let you know about. We are back at the Centre on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday again between 11 and 3 and our phone number is 01228 593104 and we will do our best to help. With best wishes to you all. Angie, Brenda and Mark. 

Hello all, Mark here sharing a few things the Society is involved in.

VISION SUPPORT AND EMPOWERMENT OFFICER - As well as taking on the part time role of Centre Manager, I will initially also be carrying out the role of Vision Support and Empowerment Officer. This role adds to what we already do through home visits and access to the resource centre. The role will provide face-to-face support at a time of crisis to help those with sight loss adapt to their new circumstances. We’ll provide support in your home or at our offices, over a number of weeks. The exact support provided will vary per person according to their need, but is likely to include:

–     Help to claim benefit entitlements

–     Help with independent living aids and adaptations

–     Help to access peer support groups and other forms of emotional support

–     Help to access support from other organisations that might be relevant 

If you want more information on this call me on 01228 593104 or email: carlisleblindsociety@gmail.com 

We are also on the look out for people who might want to volunteer for us. We will be producing information about this that will appear soon on our website at https://www.carlisleblindsociety.org.uk

PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER. SIGN UP NOW! - We are currently working with Northern Gas Networks to encourage our members to sign up to the Priority Services Register (PRS) with their energy company. Registering provides support to you in the case of the loss of electricity, gas or water supply. Please see the attached leaflet.

HOW WE CAN HELP - Staff at the Society can help you to complete your registration and answer any questions you might have about the Priority Services Register. Just give us a call on 01228 593104 or email: carlisleblindsociety@gmail.com 

Alternatively, you can complete your registration at: www.enwl.co.uk/power-cuts/priority-services-register/register-or-update-your-details 

VI PLACES PODCAST - V.I. Places is a podcast about favourite places in Carlisle (and elsewhere) produced by the Society and featuring guests with sight loss and others. You can follow the link to the playlist, which we will continue to develop over the coming months. The podcasts are on Spotify and you will need an account to access this. It’s quite straight forward to register, however, if you need any help, let us know. 

Here is the link below. Email us if you would like us to send the link to you by email reply.


If you want to be part of the series and talk about your favourite place, get in touch.

WE ARE NOW A PLAYLIST FOR LIFE HELP POINT - Playlist for Life is a music and dementia charity. Our Society is supporting them spread the benefits of personalised music playlists for people with memory loss and dementia. We have teamed up with Playlist for Life to provide access to resources that enable people to produce personalised playlists. 

You can find resources here at the society in Carlisle. You can also find out more about Playlist for Life, at www.playlistforklife.org.uk  

FINALLY - Is there anything the Society can help provide for you socially. Any activity you might be interested in, such as local walks, history talks, audio book clubs or drop in for a chat session at the centre. Let us know by telephone: 01228 593104 or email: carlisleblindsociety@gmail.com