6 Jan 2021
(6 January 2021 12:00 am)
Welcome to a new member of the Warwickshire Vision team - Owen Williams. Owen has joined us as our new Administration and Finance Manager. Moving forward, Owen will supervise the finance, admin, fundraising and volunteering areas of the charity. I am sure you will all get to meet and hear more about Owen in due course.
As it was an open session we started the meeting by chatting about Christmas and this allowed people to share stories.
- Electric car experience - Jane shared with us a frightening experience she had over Christmas involving an electric car. This generated a discussion about electric cars and how they emit little or no noise. The Guide Dogs are running a campaign called Safe and Sound which is specifically aimed at raising awareness with the government about this issue. I intend to write a letter in support of the Guide Dogs campaign on your behalf, but it would be really useful to be able to refer to real experiences, anecdotal comments from you. Therefore, if you have some personal experience of the challenges that silent electric cars present please let me know. Some might be positive, but I imagine from the discussion yesterday that many will be negative. I will of course anonymise the comments, but I do feel it adds more gravitas to a letter if there are some real life examples. The deadline for comments coming back to me is Wednesday 20th January. The Guide Dogs campaign is not a new campaign but it is ongoing. Click here for the Guide Dogs Safe and Sound Campaign page.
- Cane users - reminder to use their canes as it acts as a symbol to drivers who then may respond by taking more care. There was quite a lengthy discussion about fluorescent jackets and whether a specific fluorescent colour could be used to identify those that are blind. With yellow and orange already being used widely, the question is could VIPs have their own colour. Having done a little research online, there is not one single colour in use to identify someone who has a visual impairment. The three main colours in use of yellow, orange and green. Here are a few links to where you can obtain high visibility items. British Blind Sport do a range of Hi Vis clothing items for runners and cyclists including bibs. Screw Fix provides basic high vis tabards for under £5.00. A company called Chesterford Limited sells High Vis arm bands with the words 'Partially Sighted' printed on. They are available online for less than £2.00. Etsy also provides a range of hi vis wear which can be personalised.
- E-scooters in St Nicholas Park - Nikky raised an issue to do with e-scooters in St Nicholas Park, Warwick and how she had two near misses with them over the Christmas holidays. Anyone who encounters a problem with someone on an e-scooter should make sure the incident is reported to their local Safer Neighbourhood Team (Police). If there is CCTV in the area then the police can if they have the resources check this and identify those concerned. I will write to the Safer Neighbourhood Team covering St Nicholas Park and raise this concern with them. The more people that complain will ensure that this problem remains on the radar of the police and the local authority.
- Blue Badges in Europe post Brexit - Ian asked whether there was any guidance available in relation to the use of Blue Badges in Europe post Brexit. What are our parking rights on the continent? This will be researched and discussed at another session.
- Sleep survey - Jane reported that she had participated in the recent sleep survey which I had advertised and found the whole process very professional.
- British Blind Sport Live Workout Week - Ian confirmed that he was once again participating in British Blind Sport Live Workout Week which started on Monday 4th January. If you are interested in joining the February work out session you can click here to be taken to the British Blind Sport website.
- Cane light - Robert gave a demonstration of his cane light to link in with the discussion earlier about visibility. The cane light which we promoted a few weeks ago was the Ambutech Pharos Cane Light available from RNIB. Click here for the relevant product page on the RNIB website.
- Census - an update regarding the Census which is due to take place this spring. Kate Perkins (vision support officer) has now made contact with the local Census Liaison Manager for Warwickshire Sally Bannister and apparently there is a meeting taking place today (Thursday 7th January) to discuss the logistics of the census and the impact of the current lockdown. There is a slight possibility that the census will be delayed until the summer by which time we all hope that our support centres will be open and we will be able to support you with the completion of the census forms. We will keep you updated.
- Sight Village Solihull - is organised by the Queen Alexandra College Birmingham. It usually takes place annually in June/July at the Cranmore Park Conference Centre Solihull. It is proposed that an event will take place this year and the 8th and 9th June have been scheduled. In advance of that, they are running a virtual sight village on the 19th and 20th January. Many of the usual companies are participating including Vision Aid, Pamtrad Seeing Solutions, Dolphin, Enhanced Vision, RealSAM and Amazon. Click here to find out more about how you can connect to this virtual Sight Village.
- SCAM ALERTS - We had a brief discussion regarding current SCAMS and there are a lot of them around. Be aware of a scam involving the offer of a vaccine appointment where you are asked to click a link to book an appointment. Click here for more details of this scam. This will take you through to a BBC news article about the scan and how it links to a banking scam asking for your details. Also there are the usual ones circulating telling you that you have failed to pay your taxes and are going to be arrested and even the odd one offering you a tax refund. If in doubt, do not click the links in the emails. If you are unsure, then talk to someone about it, a family member, neighbour or even WVS. They will be able to advise if the email or call is genuine. If it is too good to be true it probably is (especially if they tell you have won the lottery when you have not purchased a ticket!)
- Braille - We had a discussion regarding braille and the number of people who use it. The group felt that having a little awareness of braille could be beneficial especially to assist in identifying medicine packets. This information will be used to determine how WVS can support you in learning braille and having some braille awareness