London Scene Newsletter February 2024
Welcome to the February 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 37613651 or email email@example.com Please note that a copy of this newsletter may be despatched before receiving your request to unsubscribe.
Handle the Goods: Shopping with sight loss
London Sight Loss Councils invites you to our retail event on 23rd February.
Are you a reluctant shopper due to sight loss?
Find out how shopping centres, retailers and products are becoming more accessible for blind and partially sighted people with assistance and technology.
- Date and time: Friday, 23 February 2024, 9.45am – 12.45pm
- Venue: St Matthew’s House, 20 Great Peter Street, Westminster, SW1P 2BU
- This event is free to attend
- Refreshments and breakfast pastries provided
- Representatives from NaviLens, P&G, Westfield and Battersea Power Station
We hope to see you there.
New Sight Loss Council for South East London
We’re really excited to be growing our Sight Loss Councils in London by forming a South East London Sight Loss Council. This holds its first meeting on 1 February and will cover Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark.
All Sight Loss Councils are led and supported by blind and partially sighted people and aim to make a real impact and positive change in the local communities.
If you are a blind or partially sighted person based in South East London, and want to improve access and awareness amongst service providers and businesses in your area, we want to hear from you!
We are keen to hear from everyone who has a passion for change across the region, but are particularly looking for people based in Bexley, Bromley, Lambeth and Lewisham to ensure a broad representation across the South East.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
New Sight Loss Council Members Wanted for North London
We also need volunteers for our North London SLC. Spaces are available for those blind and partially sighted people who live in boroughs north of the river, whether it be as far west as Hounslow or as east as Redbridge. Anyone interested can email us at email@example.com.
Increasing the parking etiquette of e-bikes and e-scooters
Sight Loss Councils (SLC) are working with e-scooter and e-bike providers to promote parking etiquette, work for which we were shortlisted for a national award.
As part of this work, London SLC’s have worked with Lime – the world’s largest provider of shared electric bikes and scooters – to promote responsible parking amongst its users. In a short social media video, filmed by Lime, SLC member Leanne explains the impact of inappropriate E-bike parking on blind and partially sighted people.
Watch the video here:https://bit.ly/41T8kGv
Increasing the Confidence of Blind and Partially Sighted Passengers
Listen to London Sight Loss Councils and Govia Thameslink speaking to RNIB Connect Radio about their collaboration to increase the confidence of blind and partially sighted passengers.
Charles Bonnet Support Group 2024
Every other Thursday from 8 February at 6pm on Zoom.
Esme’s Umbrella, the national charity for people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome, estimates 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, call Jonathan Ward 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”. If you’d like to know more about how to join a Zoom or Teams meeting, please call Jonathan Ward on 07971 076440.
Eye Care and You Webinar 21 – What is the Eye Care Support
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 21st webinar will focus on learning about the Eye Care Support Pathway, what it is, and why it was developed. You can find out more about how to use the pathway to ensure that you receive the right support and have access to the relevant information relating to your eye care and sight loss.
You may have healthy eyes and good vision, but it’s still important to have your eyes checked often. Some of you may have joined sessions in 2022, where you shared your experiences of receiving and accessing eye healthcare, ECLO or rehab services, etc. In this webinar, you can hear how those experiences shaped this pathway.
Our expert speaker can answer any questions you may have on the day.
When: Tuesday 13 February 2024
Time: 7 – 8 pm
Where: online on Zoom
Presented by: Julie Thomson, Programme Manager for the Eye Care Support Pathway, RNIB
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Thomas Pocklington’s Employment Team has been supporting blind and partially sighted people into employment by advising on the job application and interview process. The Team can review applications, tell you how to boost your CV and give you tips on being confident in an interview setting. If you’d like to know more or to refer yourself for a service, email email@example.com
The employment team are now offering virtual and face to face sessions and if you want to know more about these, emailJonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07971 076440.
Let’s talk Jobs
Every 2nd Monday of the Month from 12 February
This is a virtual session taking place on Zoom, led by Joanne, TPT’s assistive technology intern. This is a friendly peer support group where you can come along and discuss any aspect of working as a Blind or Partially sighted person. Perhaps you’d like to discuss job searching or being interviewed. You may be frustrated by Access to Work or maybe you’ve got some really good news to share. Whatever your reason for coming along, you will be most welcome.
For more information, contact Joanne Omorodion on email@example.com. There’s no better way to spend a cold wet February afternoon?
Tech Friday’s at the Hub
At the Pocklington Hub in central London, 3 Queen Square, WC1 3AR.
If you can get along to the Thomas Pocklington Hub on 23 February, thereafter the last Friday of the month, you’ll find the assistive tech team. The team will be available from 10am-2pm to answer any questions you may have about assistive technology.
This month we’ll host a session on iPhone and iPad accessibility. This will start at 11am. If you’d like to book a place on our accessible iProduct session or just tell us you are coming along, please call Jonathan 07971 076 440 or email Jonathan.firstname.lastname@example.org
The closest tube station to the TPT Hub is Russell Square which is about a 5 minute walk and we are happy to guide anyone on request.
We’re changing to MS Teams
From March 2023, all Thomas Pocklington activities will take place on MS Teams instead of Zoom. We are keen that everyone who wants to can still join in, whether it’s an activity for blind and partially sighted students, people with CBS or those wishing to attend an Eye Care and You webinar. Not forgetting the groups hosted by the TPT employment team.
MS Teams, if you’ve not got the app already, won’t cost you any money. Step one is for you to download the app from wherever you get your apps. Like other apps you download, there will likely be a setup process to follow. Once downloaded, you can click or activate the link in the same way you have joined a Zoom meeting. We will still have the facility to call you into a meeting on your mobile or house phone. If none of this makes sense, or you have any problems or questions, drop us a line at London.email@example.com and we’ll aim to get back to you as quickly as we can. We don’t want anyone to miss out so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your questions. We are always happy to help.
Metro is holding VI cricket taster sessions, based at Lords within the indoor cricket centre. This is a great opportunity to try out VI cricket or come along and practice ready for the upcoming season!
Saturday 10th February 4pm-6pm
Saturday 30th March 4pm-6pm
The nearest tube station is St Johns Wood, which is on the Jubilee line. For more information and to book your place, please contact Rory Field on:
Rory.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07837 721648.
For any general enquiries for Metro Blind Sport activities, please reach out to us on: email@example.com
Hoping to see you at a Metro Blind Sport activity soon.
Goalball School Leaders course
Venue: Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield, AL10 0AN
Date: Tuesday 20th February
Time: 10am to 3pm
Link to Booking form
This practically-based course is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the inclusive sport of goalball. It covers the basic coaching and officiating skills so that candidates can then deliver introductory sessions and tournaments in a school or community setting. It focuses on how goalball can be adapted according to numbers; ages; abilities; available time, space and equipment etc.
Please get in touch if you would like any more information.
Call English Institute of Sport (EIS) on 0114 223 5670.
The King and I
Date: Wednesday 7 February 2024
Time: 2:30 pm
Ticket price: From £22.50
Touch Tour: TBC
Audio-described by VocalEyes.
The multi award-winning Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I returns to London’s West End, following its record-breaking season at The London Palladium and sell-out UK Tour. Starring the critically-acclaimed Helen George (Call The Midwife) as Anna, don’t miss this musical classic, with one of the finest scores ever written featuring hits Whistle a Happy Tune and Shall We Dance.
Booking contact number 020 7927 0900 Booking contact email firstname.lastname@example.org
DARK WITH EXCESSIVE BRIGHT
Date: 10-20 February 2024
BALLET AND DANCE
Running Time: 45 minutes
Ticket Price: £20
An immersive work by Robert Binet premieres in the Linbury Theatre, performed by The Royal Ballet for the Festival of New Choreography.
Dark with Excessive Bright imagines the invisible forces of our universe in human form. The dance captures the growth, decay, chaos and consistency that always co-exist in our world. The music acts as the gravitational force, holding these elements in orbit. Dark with Excessive Bright reflects the world we live in, but with the addition of the principles we need in order to shape a more possible future – care and community – bubbling to the surface.
All performances of Dark with Excessive Bright are accessible to Blind and Deaf audiences. The performance integrates audio description and creative captions that are broadcast direct to your personal mobile device. You will have time to set this functionality up before the performance begins. Further to this, there will also be a ‘touch table’ incorporating items of set and costume.
Venue: Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
This Might Not Be It
Date: Wednesday 21 February 2024
Time: 8:00 pm
Ticket price: From £15
Touch Tour: 7pm
Audio described in-house.
‘You care a lot, that’s nice. It shows your age.’
Jay’s new. He’s just started as a temp at an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service office. He arrives with little more than a fledgling desk plant and well-meaning plans to change the broken system.
Angela’s seen it all. She’s been working in this building for over 30 years and nothing seems to faze her – except perhaps this eager new hire who seems determined to challenge her at every turn.
Exhausted by archaic protocol, Jay starts to bend the rules to breaking point in a desperate attempt to help their patients. Trust is shattered, professional boundaries are crossed and Jay discovers the reality of what is truly at stake.
Please note that the audio description for this performance is not delivered by VocalEyes.
Please do double-check with the venue for the availability of introductory notes and touch tours when booking.
Venue: Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush, London W12 8LJ
Booking contact number: 020 8743 5050
Booking contact email: email@example.com
Date: Saturday 24 February 2024
Time: 2:00 pm
Ticket price: £5 – £65. Standing £5
Touch Tour: 12pm
Audio-described by VocalEyes.
Praised by everyone, Othello has carved a successful career for himself. Until one man’s unrestrained jealousy and deceitful manipulation starts a fire that corrodes not only Othello’s reputation, but his own sanity as well.
Director Ola Ince debuts in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with Shakespeare’s confronting look at the destructive impact of racism that asks: How do we respond to Black success? And what does it mean for accomplished Black men to be torn down by the society that initially lauded them?
Please note: The play contains themes of domestic abuse, misogyny, anti-black racism and offensive language. The play also contains violence, including murder and suicide.
Venue: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Booking contact number 020 7902 1409
Booking contact email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Motive and The Cue
Date: Thursday 29 February 2024
Time: 7:30 pm
Ticket price: From £20
Touch Tour: TBC
Audio-described by VocalEyes.
Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.
Following a highly acclaimed, sold-out run at the National Theatre, The Motive and the Cue transfers to the West End for a strictly limited 15-week run at the Noël Coward Theatre.
Please note: This production contains strong language and adult themes, with some bright lighting. E-cigarettes are smoked onstage in this production.
Venue: Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AU
Booking contact number 0344 482 5137
Booking contact email Access@delfontmackintosh.co.uk
LUNCHTIME TALK, FREE
Velázquez’s ‘The Rokeby Venus’
Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2024 – RESCHEDULED
Time: 1 – 2 pm
Location: Room 30
Accessible: For blind or partially sighted
Join us for an audio-described talk on Diego Velázquez’s ‘The Rokeby Venus’
Audio art: Utterly in the picture
The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’)
Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2024
Time: 4 – 5 pm (drop-in)
Location: Room 30
Speaker: Fiona Alderton
Accessible: For blind or partially sighted
Join us for an audio-described talk on Diego Velázquez’s ‘The Rokeby Venus’
National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
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 email@example.com
Eye Matter is completely free for visually impaired adults to join. In 2023, Eye Matter welcomed its members to over 200 free zoom events from concerts to comedy, confidence building to cookery.
Members also attended 36 in person outings including sailing and VI sports as well as audio described theatre, exhibitions, and fun filled day trips. There is something for everyone at Eye Matter so please contact Suzie for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07968 722664.
Blind in Greenwich
The Blind in Greenwich coffee mornings are back!
Where: The Guard House Pub, No 1 Street, Woolwich SE18 6GH
When: Wednesday 7 February 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 email@example.com or phone Steven Reed on
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Date: Tuesday 6th February from 11.00am to 1.00pm
Afterwards, those attending are also invited to a meeting of Healthwatch which takes place nearby from 2pm to 4pm at One Place East, Ilford Chambers, second floor 11 Chapel Road, IG1 2DR.
For more information, please call Owais Niaz at 07943 722343.
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
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.
Our series offers 16 sessions, each tailored to address key areas that will enhance your job search skills. These sessions range from effective CV writing to interview strategies, personal branding, and beyond.
Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events:
If you would like to register for all please email us at email@example.com
Tuesday 6th February, 7.30-8.30pm: “Using the hypnotic persuasion of language for success in job hunting” with Alison O’Dornan. Register for Persuasion of Language.
Tuesday 20th February, 7.30-8.30pm: “Preparing yourself for interviews.” Register for Preparing for Interviews.
Tuesday 27th February, 7.30-8.30pm: “Effective Networking/Visual Networking.” Register for Effective Networking.
These free webinars are conveniently accessible from your home, providing valuable insights and skills to boost your employability.
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.
Best wishes from all at Thomas Pocklington Trust.