What social and leisure activities are there?
There are many activities you can still continue to enjoy. For many people their social life doesn’t change at all and in some cases it actually improves. As a starting point, we suggest you read the excellent article by Anne Sunman, entitled Hobbies, Sports and Pastimes – A Guide to help Visually Impaired People. When Anne lost her sight she found she couldn’t find any literature for her family to read about blindness, so she set about designing an information leaflet, this soon became a series.
Depending on what you like to do, you may find that small adjustments enable you to continue with existing interests. Magnifiers come in all shapes and sizes to enlarge reading books and even ones that are on a stand so you can knit, sew or do crafts. Equally, you could put your mobile phone under the CCTV so that you can magnify the phone screen to read or send texts.
If you don’t live in one of the areas that we cover, why not contact your local voluntary organisation, who should have a list of clubs, organisations and activities available in your area for visually impaired people.
Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card
if you’re registered blind, you can apply for a card entitling you to a free ticket for your companion when you visit the cinema. Even if you’re not registered blind, you can still apply for a card if you are in receipt of disability living allowance or attendance allowance. As of July 2017, the card costs £6 and is valid for 12 months. For more details, go to visit the CEA Card website. You can apply online or through the post. For further information, you can contact them by telephone on 012 44 526 016 or email Info@ceacard.co.uk.
Theatre and Museums
If the Theatre/Drama/Arts is more your cup of tea, then why not find out about audio described performances. Vocaleyes provides access to the arts for blind and partially sighted people. Their site allows you to search Greater London for a arange of audio described events including West End musicals, drama, comedy, opera, ballet and contemporary dance. In addition, they also provide audio descriptions for museums and heritage events. Visit their What’s On page for a comprehensive list of events and search options. Further details of Vocaleyes performances can also be found on the Official London Theatre website.
The Access London Theatre project encourages people with sensory impairments to come to London theatres. You can subscribe for free to receive the Access London Theatre brochure which is sent out, or e-mailed, three times a year. There are over 120 audio-described performances (and another 220 captioned and sign language interpreted performances) in London’s theatres every year – and many shows have a disabled discount -sometimes half price.
The RNIB website carries further information about visiting art galleries, museums, theatres and concerts.
Sports and other events
Some sports events now carry audio description for listening to at the event. For example, Arsenal FC provide the following service: ‘There is an audio commentary system for blind and partially sighted supporters. This service is free of charge and available to away supporters. Contact the club for use of the audio described commentary system.’ Further information is available on the Level Playing Field website covering football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league. (Select Clubs/Venue from the main ribbon, select the sport you are interested in, the league, you will then be given a list of clubs to select from.) The Macular Society also holds a current list of sports clubs that carry audio description on their website.
For those that follow cricket, ball-by-ball commentary is provided free of charge at Lords for club and international matches.
Alternatively, if you enjoy participating in sports, have a look at the range of British Blind Sport you can take part in by visiting the British Blind Sport website or Metro Blind Sport, a London-based project, bringing a diverse range of sporting activities to all ages and abilities.
There are increasing opportunities to play disability football within the Middlesex region. Information about this including a Blind Fast Track Centre can be found on the Middlesex FA website.
Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey Centre offer monthly training camps covering all abilities. The minimum age is 11 years old and the sessions are free for under 18’s, with a small charge for 18+. Sessions take place between 2pm-5pm on the last Saturday of the month. For more information or to book your place, phone: 08456 770 604.
Will it be difficult to go on holiday?
No, it won’t. In spite of your visual impairment, you’ll still be able to enjoy a holiday, either with your family, away by yourself or as a part of an organised trip. There is a wide range of holiday options available for those with viusal impairments. Visit our Holidays page for information on Meek Legacy Grants and other holiday options.
What other hobbies could I pursue?
Cookery Uncovered is run by David Rowles who has been a restauranteur and chef in North London for more than twenty years. David offers cookery courses for children and adults registered with sight loss. If you would like further details you can contact David direct by telephone on 020 7916 2382 or on 07956 523 653 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.cookeryuncovered.com.
Charlotte’s Tandems. If you would like to go for a cycle ride, Charlotte’s Tandems can provide, at no cost (i.e. for free), tandems and tag-alongs to (and only to) people with disabilities or additional needs, who are unable to ride a bike safely on their own, so that they can enjoy the wonders of cycling. For further details visit their website at http://www.charlottestandems.co.uk.
Surfing the net and using a computer may be something you’ve done for ages or you’re just getting to grips with. For those interested in computers and I.T., Talking Computers! is a free monthly audio magazine about using computers for visually-impaired people using screen-readers and other aids. Editions can be listened to online or downloaded as a podcast. The subjects dealt with are not usually complex and some of the articles may prove useful for the sighted as well.