Newsletter: Halifax Society for the Blind Activities Update

January 2021

Hello and welcome to the first HSB Activities Update of 2021!  As we are now in lockdown and will be for some weeks yet, this issue focuses on activities we can do from the comfort and safety of our own homes.  Hopefully there will be something here to interest you and help you get through these winter months!

The Social Room

This is a telephone-based service run by HSB, where local people with sight loss can socialise, support each other and take part in various activities.  New group members are welcome, just phone Lucy on 07458 302903 to sign up.  Once you’re signed up, at the time of your group, simply phone 0203 481 5629 and enter the room number 781285 when prompted. Or, in the case of the Zoom group, we will share a joining link with you, or a phone number if you would rather dial in.

We can provide joining instructions in an accessible format to suit you.  In some instances we may be able to dial you in, so all you need to do is pick up the phone when it rings at the session starting time.

We’re always open to your ideas and suggestions for new groups and activities, so let us know if there is something you would like to see us doing, and we’ll work together to help make it happen.  The current group timetable is as follows:-


  • Zoom Group (11am)  See below for more details.
  • Coffee Shop (1pm)    Come along for a sociable chat – bring your own brew! We usually chat for about an hour, but you are welcome to drop in and out when you like


  • Fun and Games (1pm)   Quizzes and games for a brain workout – it’s just for fun though, you don’t have to be an egghead!
  • Well-being Wise (2.30pm)   Supporting each other to look after our mental and physical wellbeing, through group chat and regular guest speakers


  • Fun and Games (11.30am)   Quizzes and games for a brain workout (a repeat of Wednesday’s session)


  • Chairobics (10am)  A 15-20 minute gentle exercise session, done while seated. Suitable for all ages and abilities
  • Literature Live! (1.30pm)   Short stories, poems, anecdotes, jokes on different themes each week – just listen in or join in and share your own, it’s your choice!

Focus on the Zoom Group

Join us on Zoom for different activities each week, including guest speakers, quizzes, information, chat and workshop sessions. This is a friendly group and new members are always welcome, just reply to this email or phone Lucy on 07458 302903 and I’ll send you the joining details.  If you’re not sure about the technical side of using Zoom, please give the HSB office a ring and we will support you to access the sessions.  If you would like to receive weekly emails with details of what is happening in this group, do let me know and I’ll put you on the mailing list.  Details of upcoming sessions are below:-

  • 26th January – Coffee & Chat
  • 2nd February – ‘South Africa, a country of contrasts’.  Lucy talks about her trips to South Africa in 2012 and 2017.
  • 9th February – Quiz and games session
  • 16th February – ‘Humour’.  Share your favourite jokes, funny stories, poems etc. – laughter is the best medicine!

‘Well Sung’ Community Singing Group

Do you love to sing?  Everybody is welcome to join this FREE and ONLINE community singing project.  No auditions, no previous experience needed, no requirement to read music, just singing that’s good for your well-being.

The sessions will be focusing on breathing techniques and mindfulness and then a “singalong” with some popular and some classic songs, all from the comfort of your own home via Zoom.  The sessions run on Fridays, from 1:30 to 2:30pm.

Email to register.

Action for Happiness

Check out the Action for Happiness website for lots of good ideas to help improve your physical and mental well-being.  There are information pages, downloadable calendars with simple ideas to do each day, free talks from speakers on a wide variety of subjects, and details of local support groups (all run online at the moment).  Action for Happiness also have their own app – search for it on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Activities for children and young people

  • Get children and young people drumming with ‘Sense! Drumming to Music’, every Tuesday at 1pm to 1.45pm. Join with Zoom link sent to you after you register.  Click here for details.
  • Why not check out Fulham FC Official Foundation’s free online interactive physical activity sessions for children?  Running each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during lockdown, there are sessions for 5-8 and 9-12 year olds.
    Click here to book a place (The sessions are called ‘Active Afternoons with Fulham’)
  • Fulham FC are also running a weekly live ‘cook-along’ session for children aged 5+, called ‘Cook along with the Dinner Ladies’.  You can book by clicking the link above. The session is free, you just pay for the ingredients (details of which will be emailed to you before the event)

Youtube channels Youtube has a huge variety of channels to suit every interest.  Here are a few recommendations:-

Eyes Free Fitness – This channel has a wide selection of fitness videos for all abilities, from gentle stretching to high intensity workouts, all described in an accessible way for people with visual impairments.  There are also some interesting information videos on a range of fitness and health related subjects.

History Buffs – This channel is dedicated to reviewing historical films and investigating how historically accurate they are (or aren’t!). Ever wondered how much a film is based on a true story? This is the place to find out!

Mel’s Blind Life  Here is Mel’s description of her channel – ‘I am a young lady, living in rural Australia with my Guide Dog Penny, pet lab and retired Guide Dog Darcy, two cats and a horse. On this channel I would like to share how I get through every day as an independent woman with a different ability and little to no help.  I want to share how I do everything from cooking and looking after my pets to navigating the world with my Guide Dog and going riding.’

TED Talks – The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, but the talks cover a huge range of subjects including science, business, global issues, the arts and more.  One of my favourite talks is by the late Sir Ken Robinson, click here to listen.

To access these channels and more, visit and search for the channel name.  If you like the channel, you can click ‘Subscribe’, then you can return to it again by visiting the ‘Subscriptions’ page.

Henshaws Knowledge Village

Henshaws have created an extensive information resource on their website, called the Knowledge Village.  This is their description of what you can find there:-          

Henshaws Knowledge Village, a place to share our knowledge and expertise with those experiencing or working with sight loss and disability. Explore our videos, blogs, resources and eBooks to learn about everything from apps and technology to our useful Life Hacks.  We’ve divided the Knowledge Village into twelve different sections to help guide you to the content you want – Technology; Apps; Eye Conditions; Benefits and Support; Daily Living Skills; Life Hacks; Children and Young People; Health and Wellbeing; General; Specialist College; and our new COVID-19 Resources section.  You can also browse by type of content – view all of our blogs, explore our eBooks library, or watch our videos on YouTube.’

Click here to access the Knowledge Village home page, where you can also sign up for regular email updates informing you about new content when it is added.

 Free Talking Book services from RNIB and Calibre

  • Calibre provide a free talking book service for anybody with a print disability (which includes people with sight loss).  They have a library of over 11,500 audiobooks, which can be listened to by streaming from their website, or downloading them to a phone or tablet and listening via  the Dolphin EasyReader app.  If you have an audiobook player and would prefer to use this, they can post the book to you on a memory stick.   Click here to visit Calibre’s website.
  • The RNIB Reading Service has a  growing collection of 30,000 books to borrow, download and listen to on your smartphone, tablet, computer or other reading device. You can choose from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles for both children and adults in DAISY audio.  The RNIB work closely with publishers to bring you the latest releases, many of which come from the highly-regarded ‘Audible’ brand.  Click here to register for the RNIB’s service.

HSB can offer you advice and support with obtaining a suitable audiobook reader and accessing these services, just give the HSB office a ring on 01422 352383 and one of our Sight Support Advisors will be happy to help.

That’s all for now until the next update, hopefully by then we’ll be on the way out of lockdown and enjoying the first signs of Spring!