Newcastle Vision Support


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An Accessible Referendum

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on April 19, 2016 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (2)

Here is a new poem from Davie

See our Facebook page for more news on this!



Do we stay in

Or do we leave

Who are we to believe

Should we believe Nigel

Should we believe Dave

The situation's getting grave

When I look at their pamphlets

Will I have to squint

Or will they do them in LARGE PRINT

They could do them in Audio

They could do them in Braille

Now that would be a Fairy Tale

Now it's time for me to end

Before it drives me round the bend


Davie Doyle 19/04/2016



Blimey February already

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on February 2, 2016 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Exciting times for the Vintage empowerment project

We were successful in partnership bid with the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust and Deaflink to get some national money to pilot a particular approach to making the Accessible Information Standard happen. Watch this space as we get more of the plan worked up

We have been offered a two hour regular radio slot on online Gravity Radio North East

We have been offered a one off four hour radio slot on VIP Lounge radio!!

We are talking to Friends Action North East about finding a way that people can rate the accessibility of places they go to or even local websites

The tablets class led by Ted Clark from Henshaws and supported by Penny and Bill (sometimes) is going from strength to strength

We are offering our one to one IT support at home to more people

We are aiming to get the history group started by Easter

So , do you want to be part of what we do ? we always want new blood - please give Bill a call to see what you might be interested



Happy Christmas from Net and Natter

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on December 13, 2015 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Net and Natter

And so we come to the end of the first year of Net and Natter and what a year it’s been

We have 6 regulars . Remember this is a drop in session for anyone and while there is a thread of continuity and purpose to what we do we like to be spontaneous and flexible to people needs too!

Age wise our regulars range from their early 40s to their 90s. Indeed one regular celebrated his 90th birthday in March so we looked up everything that we could find about the year 1925 that week!

These are other things we have done :

  • We have sought tips on how to keep doing some favourite hobbies such as gardening through the Thrive site
  • We looked at how people coming home blinded in WWI revolutionised the treatment of visually impaired people
  • We researched as much as we could find on the formation of the NSBP we found so much about life for blind people in general that we are going to have an offshoot group devoted to this
  • We started to review the accessibility of local websites -and our sincere thanks to the Theatre Royal being our guinea pigs

Most of all its been about

  • People getting on and helping each other
  • Being comfortable with some people wanting to do their own thing
  • Seeing people grow in confidence in their use of the internet
  • And finding out how searching the internet,  normally a solitary occupation, can be so much more fun and effective if you do it as a group


And for 2016

We have

  • An offshoot history group that will look the Society’s history using research into physical artifacts and the internet. We hope this will start in early January 
  • Look at how the NSBP's own website must become more accessible
  • Linking with another local charity on their access awards scheme
  • Using Disabled Access Day to promote what we are doing on accessibility of websites
  • Using highlights of people's lives to see what we can find eg armed forces service, jobs , sporting events or places visited . We want to use the internet to make people’s memories more real 

So thank you all for making such fabulous contributions but a special BIG thank you to Barry , our NAN Volunteer , who has been a rock in supporting the group and in providing technical expertise to one and all. Merry Christmas one and all.

Bill Norman

r to our regulars  

1867 and all that

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on September 7, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (4)

Hello and welcome to the Net and Natter group contribution to the Society’s blog. For the past three weeks the Net and Natter group has tried to see how the Internet might help research into the Society history now that the 150th anniversary is only 2 years away

We knew there would be very little if any information on the Society itself from 1867 but we thought we could add some colour to the background

What none of us could have dreamed of was how much we would find out!


We started by asking two questions :


  • What was life like in 1867 in Newcastle
  • What was life like for visually impaired people then?


Net and Natter members used their own search phrases and have come with amazing results. We found that


  • There was a sensory loss asylum that we think eventually became Northern Counties school.
  • There’s details of who was in the asylum – including their eye condition , how old they were and where they were from It was fascinating to compare to our current member eg no macular degeneration – most visual impairment seemed to be full blindness either congenitally or from accidents and there were certainly no older people with VI
  • One member switched her attentions to an image search and found a Book of Psalms published in the US in 1867 that was one of the first books in Braille as it emerged become the dominant blind language
  • Staying in the US we then found a Harper’s magazine article from 1867 on how blind people are not superhuman – they work hard to compensate for their vison loss and it compares who people who lost limbs in the then just ended American Civil War compensated. Funnily enough, the general thrust of the article is not a million miles away from the very first blog on the website last year…
  • The Great Fire of 1854 that gave us an insight into how dangerous life can be and it was sad to learn that John Dobson’s son died in that fire
  • The Tyne Theatre was also found in 1867 which must give us an opportunity for some joint celebration.




It has been marvelous to try different search phrases together to see which one yields the most interesting results and then people really getting into the background. We have found material that more focused searching would never find simply because of the way google works - it’s been a lesson to us all

What we don’t yet know is why there was such a flurry of activity in the formation of blind organisations in the 1860s eg Galloways (the same year as us) and the RNIB. We continue to dig and no doubt we will come up with something not quite what were looking for but which will take us in an interesting direction anyway!


We hope we will put these up regularly to keep you up to date with our progress



Net and Natter Blog

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on August 25, 2015 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

This is the first of our blogs from the Net and Natter

A lovely light hearted one to start with from Davie


We meet each week for Net and Natter

What do we talk about?

That doesn’t matter

We surf the web

Until something looks right

Then we yell with great delight

We ponder then peruse

Hoping to find something we can use

This can lead to fierce discussions

Perhaps there will be repercussions

The session is soon over

So we will return next week

To start all over

Davie Doyle 11/08//2015


Christmas thoughts from our Vice Chair

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on December 1, 2014 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here are some thought provoking observations From Lisa Charlton MBE , our Vice Chair.

Christmas is a truly special time of year when all of our senses go into overdrive with festive cheer and joyful anticipation.


For those of us with a little residual sight the sparkly Christmas lights still light up the dark December nights, but it is our other senses that really come to life. Think of the smells of Christmas, the wonderful smell of pine from the Christmas tree, winter spice candles giving the aroma of cloves and cinnamon and the sweet smell of seasonal satsumas.


The tastes of Christmas are even more special and nostalgic. Sweet mince pies, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine really start the taste buds going. The sounds of Christmas add to the excitement with carol singers, the laughter of gleeful children and the ringing of church bells.


Christmas Day is the optimal time for all of our senses. Feeling our Christmas presents and trying to guess what’s inside them then smelling the turkey cooking and parsnips roasting. Finally there is the gastronomic delight of tasting Christmas lunch and devouring Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.


I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year and hope that all NSBP members have a wonderful Christmas and truly sensory time throughout the festive season. See you all in the New Year.



Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on September 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

A not entirely serious one from Davie this time...


I used to be Sunderland A.F.C.

Now it's Sunderland Nil

Can they score goals again

Do you think they ever will

Can they find a goalscorer

Who do you think it should be

An Englishman A Scotsman

Some Germans or some Poles

It doesn't matter where they come from

So long as they score goals

That would please their manager

The animated Gus

If they don't start scoring soon

He could start to cuss

So come on lads your surely able

Help move Sunderland up the table




Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on September 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

This is from NSBP member and Creative Writing stalwart Davie Doyle


Hurdles obstruct us every day

Things that people put in our way

A car parked in the wrong place

Ladies with buggies in a race

People walking along Tweeting

Someone rushing to a meeting

Cyclists in town rushing through

More than a couple quite a few

Here are things for them to do

Perhaps show some consideration

And still get to their destination



"Stop Disabled Hate Crime Now"

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on September 10, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (1)

This blog is from one of our Society members who is using the name Doors. It was written with Guide software.

"Stop Disabled Hate Crime Now"

There was a story on Tyne Tees TV news last month.

The story was about a young Disabled person called Scott Hall who was murdered -possibly by two 15 year olds. He may have had a visual impairment and a learning disability.

I am shocked at his death and it makes me feel very angry. Somebody with a disability should not be treated any differently.

Whoever has killed Scott are cowards and if they get convicted they will get out eventually but his life has been taken. It needs proving as a hate crime so whoever has done this will get a stronger sentence

Everyone can't do something so we are all "disabled "in some way - why can't the whole wide world see this?

Why do some people hate Disabled people?

Someone once said to me "People like you are easy targets" but attacking people who can't defend themselves is not right at all.

This has happened too many times in the North East of England.

What can everybody do to stop this from happening again?

I think we should have more security cameras on the streets with security men and women as well as policemen and policewomen walking around with their police dogs and horses

Everyone who is sick or disabled should get self-defence lessons to keep themselves safe from bad people.

All people with Disabilities should have warden panic alarms for free and free intercoms as well.

We need to get bad people to think twice about why they see disabled people as easy targets.

I would like to start a campaign about putting a stop to hate crime happening to the most vulnerable people in the UK once and for all. Disabled people get picked on for no reason at all and I would tell people about what hate crime means to society and the horror about it all. I think the message could get out there if I were to set up my own campaign with Northumbria Police so this can stop all together before somebody else is killed like Scott. And I would like to get all of the people who are sick and Disabled in the North East to come to my campaign and

• They can get free advice about how to help themselves.

• I can tell people how they can be safe in reporting hate crime to professionals.

The campaign should be right across the North East. All Disabled people should take part and they should be taking the lead. The campaign should have a banner that says - "Stop Disabled Hate Crime now"

So, are any other disabled people interested in doing a campaign to stop disabled hate crime now? If you are , you can get in touch with me , Doors at the Newcastle Society For Blind People.

Another Star...t

Posted by Newcastle Society for Blind People on June 8, 2014 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Another Star….t

Here is our first blog for our refreshed website. We hope to get a lot of variety in these blogs and, in particular, to highlight the creative writing talent of people who use our services but for this one you will have to put up with me!

Its been announced that Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star “ from “Songs in the Key of Life” is going to be used as the BBC’s theme music at the World Cup . Stevie is one of the few people on the planet who truly deserve the label genius redefining much of black music almost single handedly in the early 70s. Innervisions is simply my favourite ever album. But playing it again last weekend after watching a spiffy BBC Alba documentary on him it made me think about how people see Stevie. Some people will say that he is successful despite his impairment, others might say that it’s because his impairment took away other worldly distractions that allowed his talent to shine through and mature fully.

And then, there’s a third view - people who see his musical talent as some sort of “compensation “ for him being born blind. There is an expectation that visually impaired people must have some extraordinary gift to “make up “for their impairment and, by implication, to make them useful to society. This view is hardly new – there have been numerous examples through literature from Tiresias in Greek mythology to Marvel Comics’ Daredevil. But in post Paralympics Britain there seems to be a disconcerting “What’s your super power then? “ attitude when talking to disabled people from some that needs balancing.

And that is why the Society is committed to be part of a campaign that will be organised over the next year or so to look at a positive image of disabled people - a “not all of us are superhuman but we are all human - so take another look at us” message. Already the CU Wednesday have come up with some cracking pithy statements to use in this campaign and we want Society members – especially those who have never seen themselves as campaigners before - to get involved . Just telling the story of your daily life could be enough to give some people valuable insight into what being impaired means and when that becomes a disability. So , look for more information about how you might take part in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it’s Brazil or Box Sets for the next two weeks – enjoy!!!

Bill Norman