January 2023

Welcome to the January edition of the London Scene newsletter, the regular bulletin to inform people with sight loss about accessible activities and events happening around London.  You’ll also find useful information about living with sight loss.

London Scene highlights cultural events and activities – some are designed particularly to enable access for people with sight loss – while all of them will be accessible with a volunteer guide. This is just a selection of what is available in and around London.

Please note that London Scene is for information only and the activities listed below are not led by Thomas Pocklington Trust (unless explicitly stated). We recommend contacting the venue directly for further information including accessibility, health and safety and ticket sales.

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter at any time, call 020 8995 0880 or email london.scene@pocklington.org.uk  Please note that a copy of this newsletter may be despatched before receiving your request to unsubscribe.


New Sight Loss Council for South East London

We are excited to announce the launch of South East London Sight Loss Council (SLC) in the new year.

It is our third in the capital, and joins London and South West London SLCs. It will cover the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark.

We are looking for new volunteers to join us. As an SLC member, you will use your lived experience to tackle things that really matter to blind and partially sighted people by working on national, regional, and local projects.

To find out more about South East London SLC and how you can get involved, visit: https://bit.ly/47AJXiu


Charles Bonnet Support Group 2024 Every other Thursday from January 11th 6 pm

Esme’s Umbrella the national charity for people with Charles bonnet Syndrome estimate that up to a million blind and partially sighted people experience silent hallucinations due to their sight loss. Some experience infrequent episodes that never return and some continue to live seeing strange and vivid images for many years.

This group provides a safe place to come along and discuss what you see and the strategies you have developed to accept their appearance. You can simply drop into the group once or become a regular attender. If you’d like to know more than call Jonathan 07971 076440. If you’d like to know more about CBS then why not visit the Esme’s Umbrella Website or ask Alexa to play “The Charles Bonnet Podcast”.


Eye care and you Webinar 20 – What is Uveitis?

Thomas Pocklington Trust is hosting a series of webinars around eye health, eye care and sight loss advice, information, and tips.

If you are blind, partially sighted, at risk of sight loss or want to know more about maintaining eye health, then come along to these webinars.

The 20th webinar will focus on the eye condition called ‘Uveitis’. You will find out what Uveitis is, who can develop symptoms, what the causes are, as well as its long term effects on the eyes.

You may have healthy eyes and good vision, but it’s still important to have your eyes checked often. Learn more about the treatments available, and we will share tips for living well with Uveitis.

Our expert speaker can answer any questions you may have on the day.

When: Tuesday 9th January 2024

Time: 7 – 8 pm

Where: online on Zoom

Presented by:

  • Mr Harry Petrushkin, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital & Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • Dr Karla Orsine Murta Dias, Uveitis Honorary Fellow, Moorfields Eye Hospital

Hosted by Bhavini Makwana, Campaigns & Projects Manager, Thomas Pocklington Trust

Co-hosted by Sylvia Chengo, Thomas Pocklington Trust / BAME Vision Intern

If you would like to find out more or register to receive the joining link, please e-mail us at:  eyecare@pocklington.org.uk or call 020 3761 3651.

If you do not have access to a smart device or Zoom, by providing your telephone number, we can dial you into the Zoom meeting. Please let us know if you would like to join in this way when registering.

We look forward to you joining the sessions!

Thomas Pocklington Employment Team

We’ve got a new website! Check it out for all things employment when you are blind or partially sighted. Here’s the link you’ll read about the works for me programme, that supports with job applications, CV writing, interview prep and much more. The Get Set Progress intern scheme along with the virtual and face to face sessions on offer. These will include sessions on assistive technology and the regular let’s talk jobs peer support group on the second Monday of every month.

If you’d like to know more you can always contact the Employment team 07773 584028 employment@pocklington.org.uk It’s our ambition that blind and partially sighted people have access to the world of volunteering and paid employment



Swimming is a great recreational and elite sport and is a fun way to increase positivity, sleep quality and mood, whilst also teaching life-saving water safety. From learning to swim, to being involved in swimming competitively, anyone can get involved.

Metro Blind Sport offers in partnership with Ealing Swimming Club. One-to-one swimming lessons for blind and partially sighted people. we believe this is the best way to start if you have always wanted to try swimming, but need that one to one support.


One to one Swimming lessons if may be possible to be flexible with times or days, with the 1 to 1 swimming sessions, subject to coaches availability.

Booking required.

Time: 12.00 to 13.00  When: Mon or Weds – Ongoing!

Where: Northolt Leisure Centre, Eastcote Lane North, London, UB5 4AB.

Who for: Blind and partially sighted beginners/non-swimmers

Cost: £20.00 for four 1-1 Coached session *Saves £18.60 per session
*This is a subsidised rate for current Metro members only.

Would you like to get involved or register your interest?

Please Fred Burley – Ealing Swimming Club

Email fred@swimesc.co.uk  or call 07428 783509



Very suitable for players who are totally blind or partially sighted as only some very minor adaptations need to be made. The bowlers can play singles, pairs, triples or in a team of four.

VI bowlers can play against fully sighted players and they often do. It is a sport for people of all ages.


Metro Blind Sport offer bowls at Paddington Sports Club all year round. This usually takes place on Thursday afternoons from 2.00 – 5:00pm. A meet and greet is available from Maida Vale Tube Station by arrangement. The sessions take place indoors in winter and outdoors in summer.

In summer, Metro Blind Sport also play bowls at Ravenscourt Park Bowls Club most Mondays from 2 pm – 5pm.

Would you like to get involved? Please contact Maureen on 07966 260089  maureen@gmail.com or info@metroblindsport.org



Peter Pan

Date: Wednesday 10 January 2024

Time: 7:30 pm

Ticket price: From £20

Touch Tour: Tbc

Audio-described by VocalEyes.

Flying into the London Palladium this Christmas!

The ultimate West End pantomime adventure starring Jennifer Saunders as Captain Hook and Julian Clary as Seannan Snee, including a cast of all your Palladium favourites – Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot and the return of Rob Madge.

With fabulous sets and costumes, jaw dropping special effects and all the spectacle and magic you expect from the UK’s biggest panto.

Venue: The London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, Soho, London W1F 7TE

Booking contact number: 020 3925 2998

Booking contact email: access@wtheatres.co.uk


The Time Traveler’s Wife

Date: Saturday 13 January 2024

Time: 2:30 pm

Ticket price: £46.25

Touch Tour: Tbc

Audio-described by VocalEyes.
Based on Audrey Niffenegger’s internationally best-selling novel, this new British musical is thrillingly brought to life with original songs from Grammy Award winners Joss Stone and Dave Stewart.

Adapted by multi award-winning playwright Lauren Gunderson, the London premiere is staged by acclaimed British director Bill Buckhurst (Sweeney Todd) and opens at the Apollo Theatre in October 2023. From the producers of Back to The Future: The Musical and Ghost, The Time Traveller’s Wife is a joyous, uplifting celebration of the strange wonder of love, whoever and whenever you are.

Their relationship is like no other. And yet, it’s like all others. Clare is a talented sculptor and Henry is – well – a time traveller. They meet, fall in love, and marry – but not in that order. Flung apart by time but united by love, Henry is always trying to get back to Clare. Their journey is one of resilience, impossibilities, and trying to hold on to each other when everything is pulling you apart.

Venue: Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, 31 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1 7ES

Booking contact number: 0330 333 4817

Booking contact email: access@nimaxtheatres.com



The Witches

Date: Saturday 20 January 2024

Time: 1:30 pm

Ticket price: From £46

Touch Tour: 12pm

Audio-described in-house.

Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats and broomsticks: they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth.

And now they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet.

The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.

The Witches is a rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, filled with wit, daring and heart. With book and lyrics by Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirkwood, music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy, and directed by Lyndsey Turner.

For ages 8+

Please note that the audio description for this performance is not delivered by VocalEyes. Every effort has been made to ensure that these details are correct; however, please do double-check with the venue for the availability of introductory notes and touch tours when booking.

Venue: Olivier Theatre National Theatre, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Booking contact number 020 7452 3961

Booking contact email@ boxoffice@nationaltheatre.org.uk


Rock ‘N’ Roll

Date: Saturday 27 January 2024

Time: 2:30 pm

Ticket price: from £12.50

Touch Tour: 1pm

Audio described in-house.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Winner of eight Evening Standard, three Olivier and five Tony Awards Tom Stoppard returns to Hampstead after the triumphant Hapgood (2015) with a revival of his finest play Rock ‘N’ Roll!

Please note that the audio description for this performance is not delivered by VocalEyes. Every effort has been made to ensure that these details are correct; however, please do double-check with the venue for the availability of introductory notes and touch tours when booking.

Venue: Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3EU

Booking contact number: 020 7722 9301

Booking contact email: boxoffice@hampsteadtheatre.com


Local organisation activities

Beyond Sight Loss

Beyond Sight Loss is an organisation based in Tower Hamlets (Bethnal Green).  We have guest speakers and we can arrange meet and greet service, at Bethnal Green underground station for those attending members meeting.

We have monthly meetings and activities.

We have zoom meetings for those who prefer them, taking place Mondays every fortnight on zoom:  Listen to a guest speaker and discuss relevant news and events.

We have a Ladies zoom meeting taking place on every last Monday of the month.

Zoom sessions start at 12 midday and finish at 1.30 pm.  We also have the facility to dial you into the zoom sessions.

For joining information, please email info@beyondsightloss.org.uk


Eye Matter

Eye Matter is a multi-activity peer support and social inclusion charity for anyone living with a visual impairment.

For more information, contact us on info@eyematter.org.uk or call Tel: 07968 722664     www.eyematter.org.uk



Blind in Greenwich

The Blind in Greenwich coffee mornings are back!

Where: The Guard House Pub, No 1 Street, Woolwich SE18 6GH

When:  Wednesday 3 January 10:30 – 12:30 then the first Wednesday of every month.

A chance to socialise with other blind and partially sighted people from the borough of Greenwich.

For more details you can email blindingreenwich@gmail.com or phone Steven Reed on

07958 654023.


VI Friends Group

VI Friends is a friendly, supportive, independent group of visually impaired adults all of whom currently live in Greater London. All our members are visually impaired, and we are democratically run by our members.

We currently meet on Zoom every two weeks. One of these meetings is formal and the other is a friendly and supportive social gathering followed by an audio book group. We often have guest speakers at our formal meetings and discuss things that affect VIP’s in Greater London and beyond.

If you would like to know more, then please send an email to enquiries@vifriends.uk


Sight Support Group – hosted by One Place East with Vision Ability 

One Place East with Vision Ability is organising Sight Support Group for Visually Impaired People, in Redbridge & Newham. Other borough’s are more than welcome to attend.

These meetings will give people the chance to Socialise and Strengthen the bonds of our Community. Further to that, we can offer people support with Benefit Applications, IT training or any other issue that they are facing.

There will be a guest speaker each time.

Venue: Studio 2, Redbridge Central Library and Museum, Clements Road, Ilford, IG1 1EA

The date: Tuesday 9th January from 11.00am to 1.00pm

For more information, please call Owais Niaz at 07943722343

Enabled Living Coffee Mornings

At Enabled Living we work with blind, deaf, deafblind or those with visual impairments or hard of hearing to provide sensory support.

We know it’s important to feel part of the community and we offer a monthly coffee morning so you can meet people in a similar situation and find out about what support is available.

Our coffee mornings are open to Newham residents.

When: 2nd Monday of each month

Time: 11am -12.30pm

Where: The Enabled Living Lounge, 200 Chargeable Lane Plaistow E13 8DW

If you would like to attend, please contact us.

T: 0203 373 8800

E: info@enabledlivinghealthcare.co.uk


December Riddles and Answers

Riddle: What 2 things can you never eat for breakfast?

Answer: Lunch and dinner


Riddle: I make a loud sound when I’m changing. When I do change, I get bigger but weigh less. What am I?

Answer: Popcorn


Riddle: It has keys, but no locks. It has space, but no room. You can enter, but can’t go inside. What is it?

Answer: A keyboard


Riddle: I’m orange, I wear a green hat and I sound like a parrot. What am I?

Answer: A carrot


Riddle: What runs all around a backyard, yet never moves?

Answer: A fence


January Riddles

Riddle: Take off my skin – I won’t cry, but you will! What am I?

Riddle: What invention lets you look right through a wall?

Riddle: What is always on its way but never arrives?

Riddle: Two girls were born to the same mother, on the same day, at the same time, in the same month and year, and yet they’re not twins. How can this be?

Riddle: What has a bottom at the top?


Answers will be in the February issue of London Scene



Blind Ambition

Blind Ambition invites you to join us for the Working Age Forum

Wednesday 10th January, 6.30-7.30pm


Free VI Employment Support  The Employment Webinars:

We are excited to continue our mission at Blind Ambition and RNIB to assist job seekers with sight loss. We cordially invite you to participate in the fourth series of our employment webinars, where we build upon our past successes to support your career advancement.

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

Tuesday 9th January, 7.30-8.30pm

Employment Webinar: Transferable Skills/Swot Analysis


Tuesday 16th January, 7.30-8.30pm

Employment Webinar: How to present yourself


Tuesday 23rd January, 7.30-8.30pm

Employment Webinar: Design your best work life and unlock your potential


Tuesday 30th January, 7.30-8.30pm

Employment Webinar: Building a Winning CV


To register for these sessions, please email contact@blindambition.co.uk


Braille class in Lewisham open for registration

Braille class in the Borough of Lewisham is now open again for registrations. Our new term starts on Monday 8th of January. we are a friendly and supportive Braille class who meet on Monday mornings. People learn at their own pace and we like to include fun things such as card games and group discussions. No prior knowledge of Braille is needed for this course.

Many of our learners qualify for a free place, depending on the benefits they are entitled to.

Below is some information on the course and a link to the website:

Where: Adult Learning Lewisham, 2 Brockley Rise, SE23 1PR  Tel: 0208 314 3300

When: Mondays, term time, 10.30 am to 1 pm

Website: https://lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/education/adult/find-a-course/physical-and-sensory-impairments

To register call the number above or email our Curriculum Leader Dorota on dorota.chioma@lewisham.gov.uk


Aira App

Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern are trialling the free use of the Aira app that blind and visually impaired passengers can use to find their way around East Croydon and Blackfriars.

The Aira app starts a video conference on speakerphone with a remote operator who looks at the station through the passenger’s smartphone camera lens.

The operator then guides you to a member of staff or somewhere else – such as the next train information board, toilet or lift.

The app detects the passenger is at the station and charges the train company for the service so the passenger doesn’t have to pay.

Find out more by visiting the assisted travel page at either the Thameslink, Southern or Great Northern websites.”


Vision Foundation

Text VIP to 85258 for accessible, confidential mental health support!

We are proud to announce our partnership with the mental health organisation, Shout, to offer free and confidential text support to blind and partially sighted people in distress.

We know that people affected by sight loss are more than twice as likely to have experienced difficulties with unhappiness or depression than the UK average. Despite this, only 17% of people experiencing sight loss are offered emotional support in relation to their deteriorating vision. Our collaboration with Shout offers a free, 24/7 text service for blind and partially sighted people to speak about how they are feeling and receive support in finding next steps.

To use the service, simply text VIP to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained Shout Volunteer who can support you with issues including anxiety, stress, loneliness, or depression. The volunteer will text you back and forth to take your next steps towards feeling better. You only need to share what you feel comfortable with, and the service is confidential.

If your life is at imminent risk, call the emergency services on 999.


How does it work?

The free, 24/7 service is available to anyone in the UK. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope, all you need to do to start a conversation is text VIP to 85258. Once you’ve texted, you will receive 4 automated messages before you are connected to a someone who will listen without judgement. This will usually be within 5 minutes but if the service is busy, it may take a little longer.

Your Shout Volunteer will introduce themselves and invite you to share a bit more about what’s on your mind. This might include feeling anxious, relationship problems, bullying, addiction, self-harm or suicide, and can be anything that is troubling you. The conversations tend to last around 45 to 60 minutes and work best when you text back and forth. The goal of the conversation is to help you reach a calm and safe place, with a plan of how to support yourself and your mental health going forward.






Acknowledgements: We are grateful to service users, the VocalEyes website vocaleyes.co.uk and Metroblindsport.org for their postings and related text which enabled this newsletter.


Best wishes from all at Thomas Pocklington Trust