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  Please note that a copy of this newsletter may be despatched before receiving your request to unsubscribe.


TPT Events

Handle the Goods: Shopping with sight loss

London Sight Loss Councils invites you to our retail event on 23rd February.

Find out more and Book Now!

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

Find out more and Book Now!

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


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


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:


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: 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

The employment team are now offering virtual and face to face sessions and if you want to know more about these, 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 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

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 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: or call 07837 721648.

For any general enquiries for Metro Blind Sport activities, please reach out to us on:

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

Cost: £30

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.

For anyone unfamiliar with goalball, this short video provides a good overview of the sport at Paralympic level whilst this short video provides a good overview of the sport in a school setting.

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



Date: 10-20 February 2024


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:



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


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



National Gallery


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’

Read moreabout 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’

Read more about Audio art: Utterly in the picture: The Toilet of Venus (‘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


Eye Matter

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 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 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


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



Blind Ambition

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

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.

Embark on this journey and make your next career move a success by registering here and visiting Blind Ambition and RNIB Looking for Work for more resources.


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 and for their postings and related text which enabled this newsletter.

Best wishes from all at Thomas Pocklington Trust.