Online Resources From Other Organisations
Useful online resources for those living with sight loss.
Here you can find information on the many online resources that are useful for those living with sight loss. On this page there are details of webinars, support groups, petitions, research projects, useful financial information, employment information, online social groups, training sessions and leisure activities that are accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
These links are all to external organisations and are not run by Sight Support West of England, Wiltshire Sight or Insight Gloucestershire.
Macular Society Virtual Clinics – an opportunity to hear from the experts
The Macular Society runs two ‘Virtual Clinics’ each month, giving people affected by the condition and those working with them the chance to find out more about macular conditions from experts.
On the third Tuesday of the month, the subject is age-related macular degeneration.
On the last Thursday of every month, the Working Age session focuses more specifically on different macular conditions and issues affecting anyone of working age.
For more information, and to book a place for these events, click Macular Society Website.
You can catch up with recordings of previous events, which cover topics including Best’s disease, diet and Charles Bonnet Syndrome here.
Deafblind UK Talk Tech Webinars
Deafblind UK is running a series of ‘Talk Tech’ webinars, intended to provide practical tech advice to people with sight and hearing loss.
To find out more and book a place, click DeafBlind Calendar
Retina UK Peer Support Group
This National Peer Support Group provides a welcoming, safe and friendly opportunity for people to meet up from across the UK to share experiences, tips and information. Find out more National Peer Support Group Meeting – Retina UK
Retina UK ‘Talking’ Tech Peer Support Group
Online Macular Society Best Disease Support Group
The Macular Society is launching a new condition-specific online support group for people affected by Best disease. Best disease relates to a group of five related macular conditions caused by mistakes or mutations in a gene called BEST1.
This online Macular Society group is the latest in a series of condition-specific groups aimed to help people understand their diagnosis and speak to others sharing similar experiences.
Find out more on their website New Best disease online support group launches – Macular Society
Nystagmus Online Support Groups
Nystagmus Network runs virtual monthly support groups for parents of children with nystagmus, and for adults living with acquired or congenital nystagmus. They are an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share experiences, make new friends and support each other. Find out more at Virtual support networks – Nystagmus Network or email email@example.com to receive the Zoom invitation.
Blind Parents UK
LOOK Parent Support Group
LOOK runs an online Parent Support Group for the families and carers of children and young people with sight loss. The group meets fortnightly, via Zoom.
For more information about the Parent Support Group, including a bank of resources for parent carers, QTVIs and others who support visually impaired children and young people to thrive, click Website.
For a full list of meetings in 2023 and the topics to be covered, visit LOOK’s website.
Torch Trust, the Christian sight loss charity, has started a new virtual group which will meet monthly, providing an opportunity for people with sight loss to meet new people and enjoy some time in fellowship with each other.
Meetings will be held at 11am on the 3rd Tuesday of each month. You can find out more Website. If you are interested, Email firstname.lastname@example.org for joining instructions.
Braille Labels Matter petition
A university student who has Alström Syndrome has started a petition to the UK Government calling for all products in the UK to have Braille labelling.
You can find out more and add your support to the petition by following this link Braille Labelling Petition.
Research / Consultation / Surveys
What is your experience of Access to Work?
As part of its campaign for improvements to the Access to Work (ATW) Scheme, RNIB Website Link wants to hear about your experiences when trying to access the scheme, which provides financial and practical support with the extra employment costs resulting from a disability or long term health condition.
The lengthy delays are putting the jobs of disabled people at risk, and causing financial hardship. People with sight loss can report on their experiences RNIB ATW report form. RNIB has also produced a complaint letter which you can send to your MP which you can complete RNIB ATW Complaint Form.
Useful financial information
Cost of Living Hub
The Thomas Pocklington Trust has launched a ‘Cost of Living’ hub, with information for people with sight loss: Cost of living hub – Thomas Pocklington Trust
Free mobile Data package from RNIB
RNIB is offering 600 free mobile data packages to people with sight loss:
Check if you qualify for home improvement funding
A new online portal by Consumer Rights allows anyone in the UK to check if they qualify for government-funded upgrades to their homes. It’s simple to use and takes less than 2 minutes with a simple step-by-step process.
Available online now at www.consumer-rights.org
New partnership to link vision impaired job seekers with vacancies
The Thomas Pocklington Trust has announced a partnership with a recruitment agency to match vision impaired job seekers with vacancies:
Deafblind – Access Employment Programme
Deafblind UK has launched a free, 12-week ‘Access Employment’ Programme to help people with dual sensory loss into work:
RNIB Southwest England Community Connection Groups
RNIB have a number of telephone and Facebook groups which are a welcoming and supportive space for people affected by sight loss to talk about the issues that matter to them, ask questions, get tips and share their story. They have groups with topics including Art, Quizzes, Gardening, LGBT, Parenting, Tech talk and support, and Muslim Sisters lunch.
Whether you’re blind or partially sighted, or someone who is close to a person with a sight condition, their community-led groups can provide a safe environment for you to talk openly.
You can join by visiting their Facebook page or calling them:
George Hinton, Email: George.Hinton@rnib.org.uk Telephone: 07711 188292
Bernice Cocking, Email: Bernice.Cocking@rnib.org.uk Telephone: 07761 328571
Deafblind virtual social groups
These social groups take place on Zoom, and Deafblind will send you an email reminder with a link before each call.
Video groups take place every 2nd Wednesday at 12pm. Visit their website to find out more information Fortnightly video call social group – Deafblind UK
Training / Courses
Macular Society Eccentric Viewing Training
A new online training tool has been launched by the Macular Society to help people with macular disease continue to read and see the faces of their loved ones, by teaching them to use their remaining vision.
Learn how to use your remaining vision by taking part in the training, visit this link: Macular Society Eccentric Viewing training.
Guide Dogs Sighted Guiding Training
Guide Dogs offers free training for anyone who wants to feel confident when guiding a friend or family member aged 18 and over with a vision impairment. The training will enable participants to help their friend or family member get out and about and do the things they enjoy – from garden centres to gigs. The training is suitable for adults and children aged 12 years and over, where the child is accompanied by an adult.
This is a virtual, group session, where participants will learn or refresh the skills to guide safely, with expert support from our staff. And participants can meet people in a similar situation for mutual support.
In this two-hour session, friends and family of those with sight loss will:
- Learn how to help your friend or family member get around the obstacles they come across every day, so that they can get out and about with confidence.
- Get top tips for practical guiding, such as the correct grip to use, walking through narrow spaces and how to detect changes on the ground and at head level.
- Discuss some of the emotional consequences of sight loss.
- Get an introduction to issues around access rights for those with sight loss.
- Meet others with similar experiences, with the chance to share knowledge and helpful tips with each other.
This training is specifically tailored to the support networks of an adult with a vision impairment, and participants can attend either by themselves or with a group of friends and family. The person with sight loss is welcome to attend but does not have to. The sessions are delivered virtually, but face to face sessions can be arranged if required.
To register interest for an upcoming session, visit the Friends and Family section of the following web page: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/how-you-can-help/sighted-guide-training/#friends
Additionally, Guide Dogs offers an Introduction to Sighted Guide Training, a shorter one-hour session open to anyone aged 18 and over, if any of your staff or volunteers would like to learn the basics of guiding an adult with sight loss. Information further up on the same webpage.
You can also contact Guide Dogs on 0800 781 1444.
Discover Wellbeing Courses from Retina UK
A new, free, online resource from Retina UK, ‘Discover Wellbeing’, has been designed to support the mental wellbeing of blind and partially sighted people and their families. Find out more by following this link Discover Wellbeing – Retina UK
Royal Collection Trust Zoom
Our programme of Descriptive Zoom talks are for blind and partially-sighted people. Talks take place on the first Tuesday of the month, from 2pm. Join us to hear about different works in the Royal Collection, the Royal Residences and the history of the Monarchy. Talks are free and informal, and you can participate camera on or off, however you prefer.
Join the Royal Collection Trust Zoom (camera can be on or off)
Meeting ID: 440 773 2986
Join by phone:
0208 080 6591
0131 460 1196
Dates and topics to be covered are:
- Tuesday 7 November – Object focus – clocks in the Royal Collection
- Tuesday 5 December – Hans Holbein
The Gold State Coach was used by Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camila to return to Buckingham Palace after the Coronation ceremony on the 6 May at Westminster Abbey. This historic coach was first made for George III in 1762 and has been used at every Coronation since that of William IV in 1831. The Coach will form the central description of our July Zoom as we look back at the Coronation and discuss its history and symbolism.
Online Bridge Club for Visually Impaired People
Would you like to become a Member of Kent Association for the Blind Bridge Club? Takes place every Thursday afternoon at 3 pm (for 60-90 minutes) and usually run two tables of four. An additional table is sometimes run on Tuesdays.
If you would like to know more, please contact: Matthew Beddow (KAB Bridge Club Volunteer) email:email@example.com Tel: 01689 813182 Mob: 077468 12246. Or Linda Emmerson (Volunteer Coordinator Bromley) Email: Linda.Emmerson@kab.org.uk Telephone: 020 8464 8406
My Sound Cinema
The first online cinema dedicated to audio-described film. The streaming platform – the first of its kind in the world – will give visually impaired film lovers the opportunity to enjoy movies in a fully accessible online environment, providing a single location for AD screenings of new and existing cinema releases. My Sound Cinema has been developed with guidance from visually impaired consultants and AD organisations.
Active at Home workouts
British Blind Sport’s schedule of ‘Active at Home’ workouts for the next month is available: BBS Active At Home Programme
Torch Trust Free Audio Bible player
Torch Trust has extended its offer of a free audio player to anyone in the UK with sight loss: Torch Trust | Audio Bible player
Vision Support Tech Forum
Vision Support has launched a new group, ‘Tech Forum’. The group is for anyone living with a vision impairment who is interested in learning more about technology and what’s available to tech-enthusiasts.
Meetings will take place virtually every third Wednesday of the month, and are expected to move to a hybrid model later in the year. Details of the next meetings are:
For more details get in touch on 01244 381515 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Macular & Me Podcast
Cost of living – Support for people living with sight loss My Macular & Me Podcast Link
Our first episode welcomes our Working Age and Young People’s Service Manger, Colin Daniels. The focus of this episode is benefit entitlements, cost of living contingencies and grants for equipment.
The Macular Society has been supporting people with macular conditions for over 30 years. The right information and support can help people overcome their worries and retain their independence. We provide free information and support to those with macular disease, along with their family and friends. If you or a family member need advice or support, please make sure to reach out. No one has to face macular disease alone. Please call us on 0300 3030 111.