‘working together across London for people with a visual impairment’

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‘working together across London for people with a visual impairment’

LVIF E-Bulletin: 24th July 2015
This Bulletin is also available on our website: http://lvif.co.uk/category/news-bulletins/
2015 meeting dates can be downloaded here:

2016 meeting dates can be downloaded here:

NB: Please send articles for inclusion to: sharon.schaffer@lvif.co.uk


Item1: TfA: Looking for Dial-A-Ride users to be in an awareness training film

Item2: Job Opportunity: Assistive Technology Officer, RLSB

Item3: What has happened to the eye health indicator?

Item4: METRO Blind Sport – July/August Bulletin

Item5: Blackpool Tower tops Wobbly Wednesday bill.


Event 1: Solutions to Everyday Living: 7 Aug, RNIB

Event 2: Aquabats Sports And Social Club For The Blind: Events Aug-Dec 2015


Item1: TfA: Looking for Dial-A-Ride users to be in an awareness training film

Transport for All will soon be providing Disability Equality Training

to staff at London Dial-A-Ride. We strongly believe in the value of

training led by older and disabled people – ‘Nothing About Us Without


Part of this training programme is a film that will be shown to staff.

Our aim is to get the voices of users into the training room to really

emphasise the importance of providing good customer service to

disabled and older people.
We are looking for articulate Dial-A-Ride members who use the service

regularly to speak on camera about their experiences. All participants

will be paid £20, and will have travel provided. Filming will take

place near Elephant and Castle in Southwark on Wednesday 22^nd July.

If you are interested or know anyone who could be please contact

Faryal on 0207 737 2339 / Faryal@transportforall.org.uk

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Item2: Job Opportunity: Assistive Technology Officer, RLSB
Based in Victoria London

RLSB is looking for an enthusiastic and motivating Assistive Technology Officer to provide advice and information to vision impaired young people.

This will include identifying the ways in which access technology equipment can improve independence and job related skills; demonstrating different types of equipment; providing training and support for those learning to use equipment of the first time; running access technology workshops; providing advice and support in relation to the purchase of technology, ensuring that beneficiaries are aware of the most up to date technology based solutions.
Salary: £16,400.88 3 Days per week pro rata
Application Process

Closing date for applications: 31 July 2015

To apply for this position, please e-mail your CV with a covering letter outlining how you meet the person specification for the role or download an application form from our website. There should be no gaps in your education or work history. Applications should be sent to:-

Email: recruitment@rlsb.org.uk

Post: Victoria Charity Centre, 11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB

Call: 0207 808 6184
For more information and application: http://www.rlsb.org.uk/vacancies

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Item3: What has happened to the eye health indicator?
NB.Article 19.5.15
It took a bit of leg work, but Radhika Holmstrom was asked to find out what has happened since eye health was incorporated into the Public Health Outcomes Framework two years ago. The findings might surprise you especially when a Government body doesn’t even know the indicator comes under its remit.
In April 2013 to much acclaim from the sight loss sector, Public Health England’s (PHE) Public Health Outcomes Framework – then just over a year old – started to include an ‘eye health indicator’. Two years in, what impact has the indicator had?

The indicator itself

The data for the indicator is gathered from certificates of vision impairment (CVIs), and collated  at Moorfields. The overall figure of CVIs is logged, and also three ‘sub-indicators’, which are the main preventable forms of blindness at the moment: diabetic eye disease, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.  

The resulting figures are incorporated into the overall Public Health Outcomes Framework which PHE publishes as an ‘interactive data tool’, with the aim of being able to ‘aid understanding of public health in a local population’.

Until recently, this data has been extracted from work funded partly by RNIB. “The voluntary sector has been funding epidemiological analysis of certificates of vision impairment since 2001,” explains Dr Philippa Simkiss, Head of Evidence and Service Impact. “Guide Dogs and RNIB have supported this work because we recognise how vital it is to know how many people are going blind each year and why. Only by understanding the trends can we act to do something about it.”

Getting vision health onto the wider health agenda in this way took considerable effort on the part of the sector – notably UK Vision Strategy. “It’s a major coup for ophthalmology – the recognition that ocular health matters,” says Mary Shaw, who is on the UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group and also chairs the Royal College of Nursing Ophthalmic Nursing Forum. 

The story two years on

However, Shaw adds, the indicator “is not on everyone’s radar. Ideally, it’s a way to get health bodies tacking eye health as a part of overall health, but I do worry what knowledge and understanding the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have of vision matters and the impact of vision impairment as a health problem.”

“It hasn’t really had time to have any effect,” says Carrie MacEwan, president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. “It is an indicator and therefore reflects what is happening rather than the other way round.”

That is not always the case: some bodies have used it effectively, explains Russell Young, chief executive of the International Glaucoma Association. “We’ve been able to present the data to the public health department of one local authority, demonstrating the need for the at-risk groups to have their eyes tested. We’re also using it to feed into the commissioning guidelines we’re developing for clinical commissioning groups.”

However, several bodies, including Public Health England, had no contribution to make on the topic (PHE was bound by electoral rules at the time of writing, but initially did not know that it was part of its own remit) – and there is a tendency still to regard this as a Vision 2020 initiative rather than a PHE responsibility.

Identifying data issues

The indicator’s data also reveals another issue, which concerns several people. There are wide variations between different regions and Richard Wormald, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields, points out that this is almost certainly because there is a wide variation in certification rates. A study published in the BMJ even before the indicator went live (for which both Wormald was co-author) revealed the wide disparities in different areas. 

“I’ve been doing workshops and roadshows in eye clinics around the country, trying to explain that a CVI is first and foremost important for the patient, but also important from a public health perspective – that these are people losing their sight to what are in theory preventable conditions,” says Wormald. “I hope that we can reinforce the importance of knowing the outcomes (or at least having some idea on a regular basis). There is still an awful lot to do, in terms of raising awareness within public health.  And we do have to work hard to improve the reliability of the data, so that we can really make valid comments about differences or change in rates.”

“There was debate at the outset as to what the indicator for sight loss should be, but the CVI has a ready understanding to all,” adds Dr Catey Bunce, senior statistician at Moorfields. “This is the number of patients whose vision has fallen below a certain level, whose ophthalmologists has recognised it and who have accepted the offer of registration.  Not everyone who is blind will have a CVI, though, and it is possible that the indicator is not being used to its full potential because people fail to understand what it is.  We need to make certification positive for people so that we have accurate figures.”

Taking it forward

Everyone is keen that the indicator should be retained, despite the patchiness of the certification process. “It does need reliable, long-term funding,” adds Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Disease Society. “That means that it has a better chance of someone thinking about how it is implemented and taken up.” Simkiss agrees wholeheartedly. “The indicator must be maintained and it’s time that government, not charities, took responsibility for funding this work.”

Yelf and others also suggest that there is potential for extending the indicator’s criteria – in particular to include inheritable retinal disease, which is overtaking diabetes as a main cause of blindness in people of working age (though it is not ‘preventable’ in the same way as the other conditions). The main issue, though, is to keep using this as a mechanism for putting eye health on the broader public health agenda.

“I suspect the commissioners have so many other figures that they're not focusing on this. It's only just got out there and I think it needs to be embedded,” Bunce concludes. “We need to demonstrate its value. If it is publicised and people are made aware of it, it will start to be used.” 

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Item4: METRO Blind Sport – July/August Bulletin
The July/August News Bulletin from Metro is now available on:

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Item5: Blackpool Tower tops Wobbly Wednesday bill.


Tourists and local people will be able to see Blackpool Tower lit up in blue on Wednesday 4 November in celebration of Wobbly Wednesday.  That is the day when Nystagmus Network is leading a campaign to raise awareness of the eye condition nystagmus.


This will be the second year that Blackpool Tower has been part of Wobbly Wednesday.  Children with nystagmus will be talking to school friends about what it’s like to have the condition where your eyes are moving all the time.  At hospitals and eye clinic staff will be educating patients about nystagmus which affects 1 in 1,000 people.  Last year fun events made the connection between wobbly eyes and jelly in a variety of ways including selling jelly pots at break time, throwing jelly at teachers and making jelly laced with vodka.


Richard Wilson, Chairman, Nystagmus Network said: “We’re really excited about having Blackpool Tower turning blue for Wobbly Wednesday again this year.  Having such an iconic landmark on board will give great encouragement to our supporters.  We are asking everybody to organise fun events on Wobbly Wednesday and to do whatever they can to raise awareness of nystagmus.”


To help with planning Wobbly Wednesday events, NN has produced an A-Z list of ideas; organisers can also download an activity sheet and poster from the NN website http://www.nystagmusnet.org/cms/index.php/about-us/wobbly-wednesday.  For a full supporter pack email info@nystagmusnet.org.  Connect with Wobbly Wednesday through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/WobblyWednesday/


Follow this link to find out more about Blackpool Tower http://theblackpooltower.com/

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Event 1: Solutions to Everyday Living: 7 Aug, RNIB

Date: 7th August 2015

Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Where: Lower Ground Floor, RNIB 105 Judd Street, WC1H 9NE
Do you have a sight problem and need help with accessing printed material, your computer or mobile phone?
If the answer is YES, then come to this event where you will find:

  • First hand help from experts in Access Technology

  • Demonstrations/Exhibition of the latest Video magnifiers, Reading scanners, Note-takers, keyboards, Braille displays,

  • Accessing Smart phones and tablets

  • Advice on purchasing and on accessibility features

No registration is needed, and all are welcome!

For more information contact Paresh Jotangia at

Action for Blind People London and the South East Office

Tel: 0207 391 2151

Email: Paresh.Jotangia@actionforblindpeople.org.uk

Website: www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk
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Event 2: Aquabats Sports And Social Club For The Blind: Events Aug-Dec 2015
6 or 20 August walk at Finsbury Park. Please meet at Finsbury Park at the righthand end of the station at 6.15pm leaving at 6.30pm. If tube strike happens on 6 August walk will be on 20 August.
Friday 7 August fundraising swim at the Serpentine. Please meet at Lancaster Gate (Central Line) at 10.30am leaving at 10.40am. Anyone who swims or attends will pay £3 which goes towards the club funds.
13 August bellboating at Shadwell Outdoor Activity Centre. Please meet at Shadwell D.L.R at 6.15pm leaving at 6.30pm.
20 August walk at Finsbury Park should tube strike happen on 6 August..
27 August walk at Cockfosters. Please meet at Cockfosters (Piccadilly Line) at 6.15pm leaving at 6.30pm.
3 September big money bingo at the Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Road KIngscros London WC1X 8QY 020 7837 4340s. Please go straight to the Lucas Arms where we will eat first at 5.00pm downstairs and then use the upstairs function room for bingo from 7.00pm.
17 September meal at the Devran Turkish Restaurant, 485-487 Green Lanes London N4 1AJ 0208 340 2288. Please meet at Manor House (Piccadilly Line) at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm. £5 cash back for members.
24 September swimming at Pancross KIngscross. Please meet at KIngscross at the top of the steps closest to Judd Street and Burger King at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

1 October Comedy Club 231-237 Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 0EL. Please meet at Bethnal Green (Central Line) at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.

8 October swimming at Stratford. Please meet at Stratford at the Jubilee Line platforms 13 and 14 at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.
15 October Carole Gardener’s 69th birthday meal at the Ajanta Tandoori, 10-12 Goldhawk Road. Please meet at Goldhawk Road at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm. £5 cash back for members.
22 October swimming at Pan Cross Kings Cross. Details as above.
29 October no event.
5 November fireworks evening TBC. This will either take place at the Laburnum Boat Club or Farmborough Kent. We will let you know nearer the time.
12 November meal at the Vine Leaves Taverna 71 Uxbridge Road Shepherds Bush W12 8NR Tel:  8749 0325 or 8723 457 http://www.vineleavestaverna.co.uk. Please meet at Shepherds Bush Market (Hammersmith and City or Circle line at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm. £5 cash back for members.
19 November swimming at Stratford. Details as above.
26 November meal at the Tirolerr Hut Austrian Restaurant. 27 Westbourne Grove London W2 4UA 020 7727 3981. Please meet at Bayswater at 6.30pm leaving at 6.45pm.
3 December Christmas meal at the Lucas Arms. Please go straight to the pub where the meal will start at 7.00pm. The menu and registration process will follow later.
10 December swimming at Pancross details as above.

Events Manager – Arthur Payne

Tel: 01322 521001 (evenings only)

Mobile: 07812 721517 (12 noon to 1.00pm or anytime after 4.30pm)

E-mail: Arthur.payne@bis.gsi.gov.uk
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