Croydon Vision News February 2018

A Letter from our New Director

It has been great meeting many of you; getting to know people, and hearing about your thoughts, your ideas and the challenges within the organisation. I have been hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment there is for our members and for promoting the great work by Croydon Vision.

I have worked within the voluntary sector for some years having transitioned from the private sector. I have a passion and drive to promote social action, empowering and supporting individuals and organisations to inform and influence society. My background is business and financial management with experience in operations, strategic management and team development.

Croydon Vision aligns very much with my life’s passion in improving lives, creating an opportunity and service to promote independent, confident and fulfilled lives.

Together with the team, my aim is to build on the strengths and achievements of the past; and to take the organisation to the next level of its development.

I look forward to meeting many more of you, perhaps sooner; at our Italian wine and dine; 29th January from 12:30pm
Thank you and best wishes to you all




So Long

Alan Whetherly

Some of you may only know the name from a page in the newsletter, others from his stints on reception, others from meeting Judy Dog, his excitable guide dog.

He was employed to start up and run the children’s work at Bedford Hall. Fortunately for us we got a two for the price of one in his support worker, Lizzie, it was she that was responsible for the Christmas decorations in the dining hall.

Over his time with us he has used all his resources and contacts to build an active programme for children with sight impairment. During his time the children have had a variety of activities, some home grown and others taking advantage of pre-existing venues. It offered a lot of experiences.

Alan also helped the charity with his positive attitude and willingness to help out. He is moving to Wiltshire for a different pace of life and his new home is waiting for him. We are pleased to announce that the children’s project will continue.

We wish Alan and Judy well with their new venture and know there will be people in this area that will benefit from his skills, thank you for all your hard work.


Old (non plastic) £10 notes will no longer be legal tender on 1st March 2018.



Bill Britain

In his page last month Bill referred to January being his last month with Croydon Vision. We doubt if he expected to be with us so long. Over the months he has overseen six sets of interviews and attended umpteen meetings representing our interests. Part of his job was bids for funding and of course answering a number of questions that people ask. These of course were only the highlights of his job.

As this was his first time in such a role we feel he has done really well and hope the months have given him some fond memories of us, Good Luck in the future.


A Little bit about Wayne

Wayne is our Building and Transport Manager he joined us in December but is now flying solo. Born in Purley then working in South Croydon for seven years, he knows the area well despite living in Kent, a forty to forty five minute journey away.

His working life has been in car mechanics he owned his own garage, after this he worked in car recovery, a stressful job when you realise the vehicles recovered were often in accidents. Whilst in this job he achieved his Heavy Goods Licence to recover large vehicles. Then he took a job as a Logistics manager but when he saw this job it appealed. As Sue said maybe he will be able to work on the minibuses?

Wayne is married to Laura and they will be celebrating their twenty fifth wedding anniversary in August. She is a police officer working in London. He is really enjoying his new job.


A Frantic first day

Before Susanette’s feet had touched the ground Sue Ardley had grabbed her to interview her, and here is what she said:

For those who have not met her, she is slim medium height with shoulder length brown hair. She was born in Sierra Leone but civil war in the area meant that the family had to move and eventually came to England.

Susanette started within the private sector; working in hospitality management. Some years on she felt it was time to do some volunteering and community work and has never looked back.
This led to her involvement with various organisations in Merton in business development and financial management.

Susanette worked at Merton Community Transport and even though some of her clients had mobility impairment she had little to do with blind and partially sighted people. Since her involvement with Croydon Vision, she has become more aware of visual impairment. She will be asking lots of questions so be ready to answer them.

Apologies and Thanks

Those of you that have been into Bedford Hall during January cannot have failed to notice the building works being undertaken.
It has been necessary to have this work done to help safeguard you. Not that that helps when there is something else to move round or another drill is pounding.

Croydon Vision is carrying out these works for everyone’s safety. This should be completed by mid – February and we thank you for your cooperation.

Katherine’s Tech

Seeing AI

Just before Christmas I started hearing a buzz about an App for iPhone. News was that there was something that could recognise handwriting and read it out. I have since installed the app.

With great scepticism I put a Christmas card under the camera and tapped the button and much to my surprise it read it. Seeing AI (the app) can only read ‘good’ handwriting, but it does it well.

Seeing AI has many other features as well. It can read short printed text such as notices or tins or a letter, longer documents such as a multi-page letter. That is not all it does, it can describe a person to you, even estimating their age. When I tried they got to within five years of their age. It can describe a scene; tell you what colour something is or if the lights are on.


Alexa or Google

During my drop in sessions in January I had an Amazon Alexa and Google Home mini out for you all to play with. Thanks to your help I have finally made my decision on which is better.

And the winner is … Amazon Alexa! Yes you can do everything on both devices, and Google will tell you how to cook something, but the reason for Alexa’s win comes down to a fundamental point, you know when Alexa has heard you because she makes a sound. It also helped that on New Year’s Day her voice was less chirpy!

If you are interested in having a play with either of these devices, do let me know and I will try to arrange to bring them in again.



Older Person Freedom Pass – mid-term review


Older Person’s Freedom Pass

Please be aware that London Councils are now conducting a mid-term review of residents with Older Person Freedom Passes bearing the expiry date 31 March 2020.

This exercise has identified a number of residents who may have changed address since the pass was issued in 2015.

As a result, 2,275 Croydon residents will have received letters in December 2017 asking them to take action, either on-line or by post, to confirm their current address. This is important because Freedom Passes are only available to people whose sole or primary address is within a London borough, and that borough will pay for the journeys taken using the pass.

If you received one of these letters, and need help to complete the form which will be included, please contact the office and book an appointment with Karrie or one of the Information & Advice volunteers.

More information about this exercise or the Freedom Pass in general, can be found at:


Chocolate all Ways

Alan Weatherley

We started the 2018 Croydon Children’s project with a trip to Epsom to make our own chocolates with Sara from Indulge.

We started by feeling and smelling all of the different toppings we could use for the toppings we were going to use for our chocolate truffles. The toppings included white chocolate sprinkles and orange flakes. Once we had done this our chocolate truffles were put in the fridge to chill.

We then had the opportunity to make our own Chocolate Lollies; we had the choice of milk and white chocolate and the very popular pink white chocolate. We were shown how to use a piping bag and piped out chocolate onto our paper. We had the opportunity to decorate our lollies with different toppings including mini eggs, jelly beans and fudge, all very tasty.

Whilst our chocolate treats were setting Sara gave us all fruit skewers drizzled in chocolate – very tasty indeed!

Sara put our chocolates and chocolate lollies in beautiful gift wrap so we could take them away with us. I am not sure how long the chocolates will last but it was great fun and a delicious way to start the New Year.

NEEDED – Your used stamps

We are still collecting used stamps; there is a Gold Box in the Coffee Area for them to be placed in.


A final goodbye from me and Judy and some very good news too!

By the time you read this Judy and I will be in our new home in the Wiltshire countryside enjoying our escape to the country. It has an enormous privilege to have set up the Children’s project here at Croydon Vision and we have had a very full and fun packed 2017 with 16 different activities.

There is some very good news to tell you about and that is we have secured some further funding to run the project during 2018 and hopefully beyond.

My colleague Katherine Turner is overseeing the Children’s project whilst recruitment is undertaken so please support Katherine.
Croydon Vision is aiming to have someone in post by 1st April 2018

Good luck to you all for the future                   Alan and Judy xx

South London Women’s Group

We are continuing with the pattern The South London’s Women’s Group has established, monthly meetings will be in the third week of the month, here are the dates for the next few months:-

February: Wednesday 21st 6.00 to 8.30pm

March: Monday 19th 6.00 to 8.30pm

April: Wednesday 18th 12.30 to 3pm

The programme of activities is in the process of being created based on the input from the group at the set up event.

As soon as we have confirmed the activities we’ll let you know what and where, via the usual channels. Hopefully you will be able to book these dates and I look forward to seeing you all soon.


Valentine’s Day

This month makes some people’s hearts beat faster as we celebrate Valentine’s Day but when did it all start? It must have been before the infamous Valentine’s Massacre! I found this:-. It was originally a day to celebrate Saint Valentinus, who performed weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry. He was imprisoned for this, as well as for ministering to Christians. Saint Valentinus wrote a letter to the daughter of his jailer before he was executed. His letter was signed ‘From your Valentine’. He was buried on February 14th.

After he was buried Julia the jailor’s daughter planted an almond tree near his grave. It had pink blossom and it represents long lasting friendship and love.



Questions or Feedback?

If you ever find you are in need of answers, ask Stephanie.
She may not know the answer but if every query goes through her it means that the right person is found to get the correct solution.
The reason for getting everyone to go through one person is so that things do not get forgotten or lost as someone else asks a question.

We understand that it is easier to ask someone you know but they may not always be the right person. This may seem long winded but it could mean things get done. It is important to us to hear your feedback.

So, if you have feedback on ways to further improve Croydon Vision, Stephanie is your first port of call.


Walking Tours and other events

As I look out of the window at the falling snow it seems ridiculous to write about walking tours but hopefully in the coming months the weather will improve. Along with theatre trips there are many other events that have audio description.

Below are a few things that are available in March:-

British Museum – Living with Gods

Saturday 24th March 4-6.30


Museum of London Docklands – Docklands at War

Wednesday 14th March 2,oo

Bookings Or 020 7001 9844


There are many other events that are audio described and we would be grateful to hear from you of your experiences be they bad or good.



This is your newsletter and we need to have articles from you. If something happens and you think others will be interested let us know.

Recently we heard about how one person with a Guide Dog was treated. He was walking through the Whitgift Centre with his dog when a security guard approached him to say, “Dogs are not allowed in the centre and he would have to leave.” Fortunately other guards were able to explain that guide dogs are different

The sad part about his experiences apart for his discomfort is that the security guard was totally unaware of how essential the guide dog was. It is not the only example of people’s ignorance of the use of guide dogs.


Quiz Time

With Chinese New Year coming up here’s a quiz about China

  1. When is Chinese New Year this Year?
  2. What Year is it going to become? (Animal)
  3. How Many Animals are used to represent the years?
  4. When did Hong Kong revert to the Chinese?
  5. Who was the Governor at the time of the handover?
  6. What is the National Flower?
  7. Where was the fortune cookie invented?
  8. Which female missionary was instrumental in ending the binding of feet?
  9. What ‘rubbish’ ships do the Chinese use?
  10. What is the Staple food of China?
  11. What explosive was invented in the 9th Century?
  12. Which animal is synonymous with Chinese celebrations?
  13. What blue and white pattern originated in China?
  14. Where is rice grown?
  15. Who is the Chinese Detective who wore a white suit and black tie and was portrayed by Peter Ustinov?



1 16th February 2 Year of the Dog 3 12, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Dog, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Rooster, Monkey, Pig 4 1st July 1997 5 Chris Patton 6 Peony or Plumb Blossom 7 America 8 Gladys Aylward 9 The Junk 10 Rice 11 Gunpowder 12 Dragon 13 Willow Pattern 14 Paddy Fields 15 Charlie Chan


Just For Fun

List as many things as you can think of relating to China


That’s Entertainment


A selection of Audio Described performances in London next month.

The Captive Queen – Thurs 1st Mar 7:30pm
(Touch Tour 5:30pm)

Shakespeare’s Globe, New Globe Walk

T: 020 7902 1409    E:    £20-£48

Girls and Boys – Sat 10th Mar 2:30pm (Touch Tour 1pm)

Royal Court, Slone Court

T: 020 7565 5000                                                                    £12

The Ferryman – Thurs 15th Mar 7pm
(Touch Tour 5:50pm)

Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Ave

T: 0334 482 5137                                                                    £29.75

Fanny and Alexander – Tues 27th Mar 7pm
(Touch Tour 5:30pm)

The Old Vic Theatre, The Cut (Waterloo)

T: 0844 871 7628    E:           From £12

Mary Stuart – Wed 28th Mar 7:30pm (Touch Tour TBC)

Duke of York’s Theatre, St Martin’s Lane

T: 020 7565 6485                                                                    £21.66

Telephone numbers for local theatres

New Wimbledon theatre 0844 871 7646

Bromley Theatre      0203 285 6000



  • ­     Fiona Hazell, optometrist with Low Vision Clinic, will be at Bedford Hall on these dates this month, Thursday 8th February, and on Thursday 22nd February, each between 9.30am and 12.30pm. She gives expert advice. This is a free consultation, but please book first.
  • ­     If you need the services of Croydon Hearing, you can always contact them at 020 8686 0049.
  • ­     Joseph the hairdresser is next due to be at Bedford Hall, on Thursday 22nd February, from 10am. Please book first.
  • ­     The chiropodist Joy Dell will be here on Wednesday 14th February. Please book with Reception.
  • ­     The IT Coordinator Katherine Turner has two drop-in sessions to help with any IT problems you may have. They are on Tuesday 13th February, and Wednesday 14th February, between 1.30pm – 2pm. Her regular Teaching sessions are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • ­     The next meeting of Croydon Macular Support Group is on Monday, 12th February from 1- 3pm.
  • ­     The Glaucoma Group will meet here next on Monday 5th February, at 1.30pm
  • ­     Karrie Ashfield, Information, Advice and Guidance, is in on every Tuesday and alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays, please book through reception.


We were sad to hear of the deaths of Mr Ronald Smith, Doris Leaney, Ivy Clarke and Edith Spratt

Lunch Menus for February

Tues 30th      Lamb Grills Wedges Mixed Veg

Rice Pudding & Apple Sauce

Wed 31st       Café Style Lunch

Fruit & Cream

Thurs 1st       Roast Pork Stuffing Peas Cauliflower

Fruit Jelly & Cream


Tues 6th        Sausages Onions Mushrooms Mash Tomatoes

Gateaux & Cream

Wed 7th         Café Style Lunch

Fruit Jelly

Thurs 8th       Shepherd’s Pie Cabbage Peas

Peaches & Ice Cream


Tues 13th      Roast Pork Roast Potatoes Green Beans Peas

Pears & Ice Cream

Wed 14th       Café Style Lunch

Bananas & Custard

Thurs 15th     Chicken Chasseur Potatoes Broccoli



Tues 20th      Battered Fish Mash Peas & Carrots

Pears & Ice Cream

Wed 21st       Café Style Lunch


Thurs 22nd    Boiled Bacon Roast Potatoes Spring Greens


Cherry Pie & Dream Topping

Tues 27th      Chicken Casserole Mashed Potatoes Green Beans

Peaches & Ice Cream

Wed 28th       Café Style Lunch

                      Meringue Nests & Fruit

Thurs 1st       Fish Mashed Potatoes Mixed Veg Parsley Sauce

March            Cake & Custard


New Addington menus

At the moment, the oven at New Addington is out of service. In the meanwhile suitable alternatives will be available. We hope that this will be acceptable until normal service is resumed as soon as possible.