Categories
Our aims technology

Sight Support Worthing, the year ahead: developing our technology for VI service

We’re highlighting our objectives for the year in a series of blog posts. If you missed the first one (about improving our communication with members) you can catch up here. In this one, we’re focusing on how we’re going to develop our technology for VI service.

We’ve been offering some technology products for VI in the last couple of years but this is an aspect of our services that we really want to improve. Part of that effort is to keep up to date with assistive technology, as well as other relevant technologies. It’s one thing going out and buying a stack of ‘things’ but actually knowing what’s on offer, how each item works, the benefits or drawbacks of each product and making sure we’re recommending and buying products that will not be obsolete within six months is crucial.

With that in mind, we’re actively researching and testing products so we have the best choices to offer our members.

an older person and a child sharing a game on a tablet

Although our current team is excited about the prospect of learning more about technology for VI we’re aware that there are very few of us. For that reason, we’re recruiting both staff and volunteers who will be the ‘go to’ on VI tech issues. We’ll all make sure we’re up to speed but there will be specific people who are dedicated to assisting members make decisions about which tech to use, explaining how to use it and fixing problems, should they arise.

And it’s not just our people who will be key to this improvement; our Centre at Rowlands Road will be sufficiently equipped and resourced to provide training, tech support and guidance to members and guests.

Clearly, acquiring technology – whether for VI or otherwise – generally comes at a cost which not everyone is in a position to afford. The final aspect of our objective is to provide a loan-to-buy service for those who are unable to access devices on their own. This may be because cost is a factor but also because no-one wants to buy something that they not long after decide isn’t for them (but would suit someone else better). This format is perfect: try the product at home, and on a day-to-day basis (rather than just testing it in a shop or showroom) so you establish whether it’s right for you. When you decide it is what you’re after, there’s no need to hand it back, you just carry on using it seamlessly. We’re also securing discounts with suppliers so if you order through us or get a referral code, you’ll be able to make a saving on certain products. 

We hope that our technology for VI service will benefit a large number of our members and, perhaps, make aspects of their life easier and more pleasurable. We’re always keen to hear from members (and their families, friends or carers) to understand how we can best support independent living but, more than that, enhance enjoyment and fun too. If you’ve got suggestions you’d like us to explore, please do get in touch.

Kindle e-reader, coffee and notepad

Categories
Activity

New weekly activity: Chair yoga with Renée

Join us online every Thursday for our exciting new chair yoga class. Led by Renée, these sessions will help you become more flexible, strengthen muscles and improve balance. These sessions are open to anyone with a visual impairment so do join us!

Depending on which is most comfortable, you can do the moves with seated or standing modifications. If yoga is completely new to you, do not worry: Renée will guide you through each pose with full instructions.

Classes are held over Zoom. If you do not have access to Zoom, do get in touch as we have options available to help you.

For more information or to book, contact info@sightsupportworthing.org.uk or phone 01903 235782.

Categories
VIPs

VIP: Ted Henter, inventor and waterskiier

To be honest, we only came across Ted Henter recently but we thought he was a great person to be our first VIP. We love the fact that he not only invented a brilliant product for the visually impaired, but then went on to become a top notch waterskiier.

 

Ted Henter is an American who, in 1978 aged 21, had a car accident that left him blind. In his early 20s he completed an Engineering background but after his accident he felt that opportunities for a blind engineer were limited. With this in mind, he took a series of courses with the aim of becoming a computer programmer. This led Ted to start developing some of the first talking computers for blind people in the early 80s.

 

Ted Henter’s most famous invention (so far!) is JAWS – Job Access With Speech. JAWS is a computer program that translates what’s on a computer screen into voice or Braille. Ted believed that being visually impaired should not stop you from living your life to its full potential. This translated into a desire to create a product to assist with finding work. Ted also worked on other assistive technologies for helping visually impaired people in everyday life.

 

And what of Ted’s waterskiing prowess? Prior to his accident, Ted was to become a professional motorcycle racer. With that no longer an option, he returned to a previous hobby of waterskiing which he triumphed at. Before his retirement in 1991 Ted won six out of seven competitions in the United States and scored two international wins. He also won the overall Gold medal in the United States and World Championship for Disabled Skiers.

 

What an inspiration! You can listen to an interview with Ted Henter here.

Categories
Activity

Living Well with Sight Loss group

Sight Support Worthing is pleased to be partnering with the RNIB to offer a Living Well with Sight Loss group. This is a FREE group for West Sussex residents. It is suitable for adults of all ages, including friends, family members or anyone affected by vision loss. The group takes place over six 1 hour sessions.

Each session covers a range of topics including:

  • understanding welfare rights
  • staying independent
  • tips and gadgets for everyday living
  • eye health
  • hobbies and interests.

Participants will also learn about other organisations and services that can provide support.

 

To access the group you can dial in by telephone or use your smartphone to join by video (link will be provided).

 

The six sessions take place on consecutive Mondays and Wednesdays in April, specifically: Monday 12th April, Wednesday 14th April, Monday 19th April, Wednesday 21st April, Monday 26th April, Wednesday 28th April 2021

 

To book your free place, please contact us either by email (info@sightsupportworthing.org.uk) or call 01903 235782

Categories
Uncategorised

Providing the Jam: a story of the visually impaired community of Worthing

‘Providing the Jam’ is a fascinating look at the visually impaired community of Worthing, and focuses on the past 100+ years of support that Sight Support Worthing has provided.

The book was written by authors Chris Hare and Lela Tredwell, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund without whom this project would not have been possible.

The book can be purchased for £4.99 from our centre in Rowlands Road, or through Amazon Kindle, where it is also available for £4.99.