Southend in Sight’s
Local independent charity, Southend in Sight’s newly refurbished centre on Hamlet Court Road in Westcliff is helping more visually impaired people than ever before.
The centre was officially opened by the Mayor, Cllr Derek Jarvis in May this year and has seen a 20% increase in the number of people visiting for advice and help since then. It is now more accessible to those with visual impairments, more spacious and better able to serve the needs of the charity’s members.
The centre can offer IT training, practical equipment to help with day to day tasks, advice and support to those affected by sight loss for the first time or for those who have lived with the condition for many years.
The charity benefits from the work of a team of volunteers including Jackie Blackledge and Maureen Tyson who are both very knowledgeable about the items on offer to help with everyday activities. They can advise members or visitors on things such as the talking books, a specially designed CD player which speaks to the listener, talking clocks, alarm clocks which speak the time and date and talking watches with bigger hands and numbers.
The charity has second hand players to buy and the books on CD can be obtained from the RNIB or from Southend libraries.
Talking landline phones and bumpers can be added to phone and keyboard buttons to raise them and aid identification of certain important keys.
Talking newspapers from different districts around South East Essex, are available on memory sticks to be used through computers.
Big print diaries and calendars plus pens with a broad nib for bolder handwriting can be bought at the centre, as well as thickly lined paper and signature guides for signing forms, bank cards or cheques. Playing cards, bingo cards, puzzle books and crosswords are all available in large print formats so people can carrying on relaxing with favourite hobbies and activities. Stabiliser mats that grip a mug to avoid spills, and liquid level indicators which sit in a mug and bleep when liquid poured in to it reaches the indicator to prevent the liquid overflowing are very popular. All these can make life a little easier for anyone living with sight loss.