Guide Dog Maria during our visit

Sightlife visits the National Guide Dogs Centre

Tina writes: On Wednesday 15th May, Some SightLife social group members, and HVL staff took a road trip to The National Guide Dogs Centre in Leamington Spa. We were made extremely welcome by a team of expert volunteer guides and a couple of gorgeous Guide Dogs. Our tour begun with an explanation of what takes place at the centre and the purpose of each different area. We then watched a short film about the history of Guide Dogs and where it all started. we then toured the centre, which consisted of a demonstration of guide dog harnesses and canes, viewing of cute puppies in the puppy block, a sensory tunnel experience, and a rare viewing of adorable new born puppies and their mummy in the birthing area. Teas and coffees were then provided, whilst we ate our lunches and we concluded our truly remarkable visit looking around the gift shop for that memorable souvenir.

The photo above shows Guide Dog in training Maria, a white Labrador puppy who was very friendly, cute and of course, obedient!

Thanks to everyone at the Guide Dogs Centre for taking the time to explain to us about their impressive work. You can find out more about their work here:

About the National Guide Dogs Centre

If you would like to find more about Sightlife social groups please get in touch with us.


 

Attendees and our chief exec holding donation cheque

Our Herts Vision Loss Forum took place on 28th March

We were delighted to be joined by around fifty attendees at our Vision Loss Forum on the 28th March in Welwyn Garden City. The venue was The View at Panshanger Golf Course in Welwyn Garden City, the hall was very well presented and our guests enjoyed the lunchtime buffet. The picture above shows our Chief Executive Clement receiving the large donation cheque from the National Lottery Community Fund, he is surrounded by some of the attendees on the day, and Helen from the National Lottery fund itself.  Our thanks to everyone who helped with transport to and from the venue on the day. We began the event with an introduction from our Chief Executive Clement, followed by a lively period of open discussion about the common issues that visually impaired people in Hertfordshire often face. We noted the varied points raised, and will give them further consideration, and develop ideas about how we may be to help foster improvements. Following that our guest speakers gave their presentations to everyone. We had speakers from our newest funders The National Lottery Community fund, Hertfordshire Care Line, and Hertfordshire County Council Sensory Strategy team.

You can download our report from the event in text or listen to it in audio format below:

For PDF format click the following link:  PDF summary of our March Forum

To listen to the MP3 audio file follow this link: HVL Forum audio notes (March 2024)

Below are two photos of the forum in progress, thanks again to all who helped make it a great event!

The forum in progress...
Forum group photo 3
HLGCS logo 1160x1200

We have been chosen by the Herts Lady Golf Captains Society as the charity they will support this year.

 Our chief Executive, Clement Musonda said:

“We are grateful to the Herts Lady Golf Captains Society for selecting Herts Vision Loss as their charity of choice for 2024. Their generous support not only validates our mission but also underscores the importance of community solidarity in addressing the needs of visually impaired individuals. Through their dedication and fundraising efforts, we can continue our vital work supporting and empowering those in Hertfordshire with visual impairment to lead fulfilling lives. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve. Thank you, HLGCS, for your invaluable partnership.”

 It is tradition for HLGCS to raise funds during the year for a charity chosen by the current Captain. This year (2024), Sue Burbidge has chosen to support Herts Vision Loss (HVL).

Sue explains the reason for choosing HVL below:

“I was diagnosed with Keratoconus (a rare, progressive eye disease) in both eyes when I was seventeen but thanks to regular appointments at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the wearing of Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses, I still have adequate vision to lead a relatively normal life but when I remove the RGP lenses my vision is extremely poor which means I have a good understanding of visual impairment and the impact it can have on a person’s life – hence my support for HVL. I first became aware of HVL in 2014 when I was Ladies Captain at Mill Green Golf Club in Welwyn Garden City and at that time, having already decided I’d like to support a sight related charity, HVL (or Herts Society for the Blind as it was called then) was an obvious choice and I’m delighted to now have another opportunity to support them.”

Herts Lady Golf Captains Society (HLGCS) was started in 1972 by Ladies’ Captains of 25 golf clubs across the County of Hertfordshire with the intention of mirroring the existing men’s Society of Hertfordshire Golf Captains (SOHGC).

Any current or Past Ladies Captain of a golf club in Hertfordshire is eligible to join HLGCS. They are a friendly bunch of ladies who organise Spring, Summer and Autumn golf meetings for members plus friendly matches against other counties and the men’s society (SOHGC). They also organise a short golfing Away Break and a Bridge Drive each year as well as a lunch after their AGM.

The Society’s website with further information about their events and activities can be found at the following link:

Home | Hertfordshire Lady Golf Captains Society (hlgcs.co.uk)

We look forward to working with them during the year.


 

 

Philip with his swimming medals

Meet Philip – A Special Olympics World Games Medalist and Advocate for those with a visually impaired.

Philip is a passionate swimmer with an impressive track record. Despite facing many obstacles as a man with Down syndrome, he has proven that he is capable of achieving great things. Not only does he live independently, but he also holds two jobs!

Recently, Philip decided to put his swimming skills to good use and participate in the Marathon Swim at the London Olympic Stadium. He swam 1000 metres and raised over £1000 for Herts Vision Loss to support blind and visually impaired individuals. This will help to provide Befriending Services throughout the winter season.

Philip’s dedication and hard work are truly inspiring, and his commitment to helping others is commendable.

Congratulations Philip! A big thank you for raising much needed funds for Herts Vision Loss.


 

 

high-sheriff-award

Herts Vision Loss receive High Sheriff Award

We are incredibly proud to announce that Herts Vision Loss received an award at the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Awards 2023. The charity’s Chair Alex Hickinbotham and CEO Joanna Carter attended the award ceremony on 9th March at County Hall, Hertford, where they were delighted to be presented with the award and receive a donation to the charity.

This award is testament to the hard work of our team, volunteers and partners whose dedication and commitment allows Herts Vision Loss support and empower over 1,500 blind and visually impaired people across Herts. Everyone at Herts Vision Loss would like to extend their gratitude to the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Sally Burton DL and High Sheriff’s panel for their support and recognition.

 

Herts Vision Loss Charity Forum Event (30th June 2023)

On Friday 30 June, Herts Vision Loss (HVL) held our first Charity Forum event at Christchurch Baptist Church, Peartree, Welwyn Garden City.

The Forum brought our volunteers and service users together to socialise, participate in group discussions, provide feedback on HVL services and activities, and receive updates from the charity.