Welcome to the July edition of the Halifax Society for the Blind Activities Update. Exciting times, we have some face-to-face activities to tell you about this time! We are continuing to run phone-based and online groups as well though, so hopefully there’s something for everyone.
NEW – Book group
Do you like reading or listening to books? Our new Book Group will give you an opportunity to chat with like-minded people about the books you are enjoying. During the first few meetings, we can chat about what format you would like the group to take. The group will be held fortnightly on a Friday at 2pm, starting on the 30th July, at Jamocha Coffee Lounge, 3-5 Northgate, Halifax. Places will be limited, so If you would like to join the group, please phone the office or phone Lucy on 07458 302903 to reserve your place.
Social groups at Brighouse and Halifax
We have now started two in-person social groups where you can come along for a chat, some refreshments and activities including quizzes, games and bingo. There will be a weekly group at Brighouse Rest Centre, every Monday from 1pm-2:30pm. The Halifax group will be at the Maurice Jagger Centre, on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 2:15pm-3:45pm.
Please contact us to reserve a place if you would like to attend either or both groups. Numbers are limited and we will offer places on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Subs for the groups will be £1.50 per session – please either bring exact change or you can pay by card. Please do not bring along any prizes for the bingo as the cost of these is included in your subs, thank you.
For now, we are asking that you arrange your own transport to the groups. Calderdale Community Transport have recently expanded their service to include community venues again, but you need to register to receive the service – call 01422 888086 or email email@example.com or complete the registration form on their website. If you need any support to do this, feel free to contact the HSB office.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome support group
HSB run a monthly phone-based support group for people living with Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS), a common condition experienced by people who are losing, or have lost, their sight. CBS causes people to see things which are not really there (visual hallucinations). We have had a few meetings now and the conversation has been very informative and supportive. If you have CBS and wish to join the group, you would be very welcome. It runs on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 11am – contact Lucy on 07458 302903 or phone the HSB office to get signed up. Judith Potts (from the national CBS charity, Esme’s Umbrella) will be joining us for the session on the 25th of August, so if you’re new to the group and would like to join, this would be a great session to start with.
Synapptic User Group
This is a Zoom-based group for anyone who uses Synapptic devices, to share ideas and get support on all aspects of using them. If you are interested in joining, please contact the HSB office and we will send you the link and support you to access the session if needed. This session is on the second Wednesday of each month at 11am.
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 0330 606 1112 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) Join us on Zoom for different activities each week, including guest speakers, quizzes, information, chat and workshop sessions
- 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
- Well-being Wise (2.30pm on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month) Supporting each other to look after our mental and physical well-being. We have looked at a variety of themes including mindfulness, diet, exercise and stress reduction
- 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!
- Chairobics (10am) A 25 minute gentle exercise session, done while seated. Suitable for all ages and abilities.
Audio Seated Pilates
Sense Active is offering seated Pilates classes Thursdays from 11:30 – 12:30 to strengthen muscles, improve posture and increase flexibility. The sessions are audio-led and delivered over the phone, making them accessible to people who are blind or partially sighted. Click here to book your place.
Tandem Trekkers cycling club
Tandem Trekkers are a specialist cycling club, dedicated to providing tandem riding for blind and visually impaired cyclists. They warmly welcome new members at their track sessions on the first Saturday of each month, from 10:30am – 12pm at Leeds Road Playing Fields, Leeds Road, Huddersfield, HD2 1YY. The next track session is on Saturday 7th August. If you would like to find out more, have a chat to me (Lucy) as I have attended two sessions and can give you an idea of what to expect. You can also contact the club direct by phoning Martin on 07974 603699 or Paul on 07774 213372. Once you have tried a track session and if you want to go further afield, the club also run sessions on the Spen Valley Greenway (mostly traffic free) and days out where they transport the bikes and riders to a quiet (and not too hilly!) location to ride on some country roads. The first two sessions are free, after which the subs is £5 per session.
Facebook groups – RNIB Connect and VI Talk Resources
If you are on Facebook, check out these two groups that may be of interest.
- ‘RNIB Connect – Yorkshire and the Humber’ is a group that shares details of a wide variety of activities run by RNIB and other organisations. Recent posts include details of a Fantasy Football League, a jobs board, an online men’s group, and a Return to Travel forum. You can join the group by clicking here and then clicking ‘Join Group’.
- ‘VI Talk Resources’ is aimed at anyone who is visually impaired, knows someone who is or has connections with a charity, organisation or group which offers services and or support to visually impaired people. This group is not for discussion but for members to post about businesses or charities that offer services relating to visual impairment. You can join the group by clicking here and then clicking ‘Join Group’.
Activities for children and young people
- RNIB Connect North East – Young People’s Group
This group for young people with VI runs fortnightly via Microsoft Teams. There is time for social chat, plus other activities such as quizzes and even a virtual escape room!
- Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) activities
The RSBC run lots of online activities for children and young people, including an audiobook club, health and well-being sessions for young people, sensory storytelling, and themed sessions on subjects such as assistive technology and ‘How to survive at university’. Details of all their sessions can be found on their website – click here to access it.
Just a bit of news to finish with. I will be starting a degree course in September, in Rehabilitation Work for People with Visual Impairments, which means I will be leaving my paid post as Activities Co-ordinator. I will continue to do lots of work for HSB as a volunteer though, so will still be seeing lots of you as more activities continue to restart.