Sight Lines
Autumn / Winter 2023/24

Welcome to Sight Lines

We hope you enjoy the latest edition of our newsletter. You can read it here on this page, download an accessible PDF version,  download a Microsoft Word .docx version, or listen to an audio version using the media player below. If you have any comments or would like to be involved in an article in future newsletters, please let us know.

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Use the media player below to listen to the audio version of this newsletter, voiced by some of our wonderful volunteers.

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CEO's round-up

By Anne Eyre

Anne Eyre smiling

I consider it a huge privilege to lead Sight Concern Worcestershire, but I do miss seeing the people we support as much as I did when I was a Sight Loss Advisor. I have tried to remedy that by visiting as many of our Connections groups as possible in September. I am sorry that I missed Redditch and Wyre Forest, but I will visit soon. I learnt so much from all of those who I met at Malvern, Bromsgrove, Evesham, and Worcester. Thank you for being so welcoming, honest and open. As I said at the meetings, we cannot do everything which is asked of us, but I promise you that we will always listen to what you say. You are welcome to contact me directly at any time; this is your charity and I work for you. I am very pleased to tell you that we have recently been awarded funding from the National Lottery towards our vital sight loss support services over the next three years. During the application process, I told the Lottery about the services you have said you need from us, such as quicker support at the point of diagnosis. The Lottery award will enable us to develop some of these services over the coming years as well as continuing to provide the ones you already value. We have also been awarded a contract from Worcestershire County Council to deliver information and advice to people with a sensory impairment across the county, more information about this will be available soon.

Our vision to create accessible streets

Someone walking with a cane, the cane is going under an A-Board

Over the summer months we joined clients, councillors and other representatives of Worcester City Council for walks around Worcester city centre, to highlight the challenges that the ever-increasing number of A-boards and other hazards outside businesses are posing to people with a vision impairment, especially those who use a cane. Not only do these boards form a barrier to an otherwise clear pathway, but they can also cause canes to become trapped and in some cases break. At the start of the walks, the council members each donned a pair of glasses which simulated a variety of eye conditions and attempted to navigate the city streets using a long cane. As we moved through the city, the sheer prevalence of A-boards and other street furniture soon became apparent.

We encountered an inordinate number of obstacles, not least of all lamp posts flanked either side by A-boards, and the walks have highlighted how even the simplest fixtures can become massive barriers. We reiterated our unwavering support for local businesses throughout, whilst underlining the pressing need to re-evaluate the abundance, placement and design of street furniture, particularly A-boards. Another walk is planned this winter, whilst we await some changes to local policy.

My white-cane journey begins

By Drew Hownslow

A man wearing glasses and smiling, holding what appears to be a car steering wheel

I am a semi-professional e-sports racer, ambassador for Speed of Sight, and a graphic designer. I was born with Albinism and Nystagmus, and this has caused poor vision throughout my life. I struggle with reading text or seeing any distance, for example I sit around two feet away from the TV and even then, still struggle to see things on it. I am also sensitive to sunlight, meaning I always need to wear a hat or sunglasses outside. Until recently I’ve just ‘got on with things’, but Sight Concern suggested I try using a cane as I also have difficulty gauging the floor I’m walking on, whether it’s flat, or if there are bumps and drops. I’ve used a cane now for around two months, and I’ve found it to be a huge help, it’s not something I need everywhere but it’s useful in unfamiliar or poorly-lit areas.

The cane has given me an element of confidence and an ability to explore and feel safe in any environment. I have also started using a symbol cane, most recently I used one at the Silverstone Museum, and again it was a really positive experience, it meant people around me gave me space and I was able to enjoy the exhibitions and get as close to everything as I needed to. I received training on both white and symbol canes from the Sensory Impairment Team. The man who trained me was very supportive, offering tips on how to best use the canes. For anyone interested in using a cane to aid them or even nervous about it, I would recommend giving it a go, it’s massively helpful in so many situations.

Shop for white canes

Call 01905 723 245 to make a purchase

As the nights start to draw in, now might be the perfect time to consider upgrading your mobility aids and maximise your safety through the winter. We are able to supply high quality products from the trusted Ambutech brand. Their Telescopic Long Cane for indoor use, the discreet Telescopic Symbol Cane for outdoor confidence, and the Pharos Cane Light for enhanced visibility in the coming darker months. Please give us a call if you would like to order these essential mobility aids or would like to find out more. Due to the importance of safety and proper use, please do be aware that we are only able to supply long canes to those who have received long-cane training.

Please note: Stocks are extremely limited. Prices subject to change.

A telescopic long cane

Ambutech Telescopic Long Cane £55.00

A telescopic symbol cane

Ambutech Telescopic Long Cane £22.00

A light to attach to a long cane

Ambutech Phanos Cane Light £17.50

Understanding: Charles Bonnet Syndrome

By Liz Mallaburn, Low-Vision Coordinator

Liz Mallaburn smiling

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) describes when a person has visual hallucinations that can vary for each individual but can be quite vivid and realistic. The hallucinations can appear in many different forms, from simple lines and dots, coloured blobs and geometrical patterns, bricks and blocks in front of you, to more complex hallucinations of faces, people appearing around you, vehicles driving at you, or a variety of other scenes. These hallucinations typically occur when a person has lost over 60% of their sight.

This sight loss can be caused by any one of the eye diseases, cancer of the eye, stroke, an accident involving the eye, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or another condition which damages the optic nerve. CBS does not affect everyone with low vision. CBS can be frightening and can cause people to feel quite distressed, but it should not be confused with a mental health condition. It is really important to seek help if you are experiencing these hallucinations as many people are scared to speak out because they are worried about seeing these things. 

On Thursday, 16th November it is Charles Bonnet Syndrome Awareness Day, so during the month we will be holding drop-in coffee and chat sessions as part of our Connections Groups, as well as a CBS Coffee Morning at The Bradbury Centre on the 16th November from 10.30am – 12.30 pm. Everyone is welcome and feel free to bring partners, carers, friends and family members along too. Emily Walker, an NHS Orthoptist at one of our weekly low-vision clinics told us, “We have recently undertaken a three-month service evaluation regarding the prevalence of CBS within our Worcestershire low-vision population. Interestingly, 44% of Worcestershire low vision patients reported experiencing CBS hallucinations. Patients reported an extensive range of hallucinations, from patterns and colours to detailed images of people, animals, and buildings. Of the patients who experienced the hallucinations, only 12% were previously aware of what CBS was, whilst 38% found the hallucinations disturbing or stressful.”

“This is similar to a largescale study of 492 (Cox and Ffytche, 2014), which found that 33% experienced negative emotions about the hallucinations. This study found that the most effective method to reduce the impact of the hallucinations was education and reassurance. This highlights the value of having open and honest conversations with other people who experience sight loss, friends and family, as well as healthcare professionals within the eye profession. There is a lot of information, courses and conferences provided by the charity Esme’s Umbrella. Attending sight loss support groups, such as those held by Sight Concern, will provide an opportunity to discuss these hallucinations with people who may possibly be experiencing them too.”

For further support visit:

An astronaut walking down a busy shopping street

Events round-up

A group of people on a stage collecting a trophy

We’ve been busy as usual since our last newsletter! In July we entered a walking group in the Worcester Carnival parade. It was a fabulous day spreading awareness and celebration. Everyone involved did a brilliant job, from the clients manning our stall, to those who helped make props and decorations for our Bright for Sight theme. To top off the day, we were awarded the prize for Best Walking Group and we proudly collected our trophy on stage. Also in July we were invited to St. Andrew’s Gardens (in Worcester) by Worcester City Council. They are planning a redesign, and wanted input to help make sure they created an accessible route to the river. We highlighted the importance of smooth and consistent paths with well-defined edging, and signage to include large print and good contrast, braille, and audio description. The Council were very supportive and are keen to put our suggestions in place when the architects start to produce the final designs. We ended the month with a series of Technology Support Sessions in libraries around the county, allowing people to book a one-to-one appointment to receive answers to their technology related questions, as well as getting tech support for any issues they were facing. A range of the latest and greatest assistive technology was also on hand to demonstrate.

 August saw the start of our weekly Employment Advice Coffee Mornings in partnership with UNITY and Worcester Community Trust. These drop-in sessions allow anyone living in Worcestershire with a vision impairment the chance to meet with an expert job coach for help with writing CVs, filling in application forms, accessing training, and finding the right job. Our wonderful network of volunteers was given the recognition they deserved in August, with a volunteer thank-you event held at Worcestershire County Cricket Club in their honour. Everyone was thoroughly entertained with an afternoon of singing, dancing, and the amazing So Xsighted Morris dancers!

During the school holidays we partnered with PAL Fitness & Education CLC, and Pershore Leisure Centre to run an Eye Explore day of summer fun and activities for vision-impaired children and their families, including swimming, soft play, and some very artistic crafts! In September we organised a Clubathon – back by popular demand! This was a great opportunity for people to put on their most brightly coloured outfits and raise funds for Sight Concern, whilst enjoying two hours of dance exercise! September also saw the restart of our Connections Groups following the summer break, and more accessibility awareness visits to local schools.

Technology matters

By Aj Ahmed, Technology Coordinator

Aj ahmed smiling

Our Technology Support service is designed to provide tailored assistance right in the comfort of your own home, covering everything from reading your post or food packaging, to simple ways of connecting with friends and family. Assistive technology has grown to become a game changer in the vision-impaired community, opening up a new world of independence. That said, navigating the vast array of assistive devices on offer can be daunting, and not everyone has access to the expert guidance they need.

This is where our Technology Support service can help. Whether you could benefit from having paper documents read aloud to you, magnifying text to make it easier to read, or being able to control your heating, lighting, or other household appliances with your voice alone are all things we can help you with. Our Technology Coordinator recently visited Brian, a client who had been facing a number of challenges due to his vision impairment, such as reading his post, and labels on packaging. Brian said, “When I first heard about the service, I was hopeful but somewhat sceptical – I’d had experiences in the past where the advice I received wasn’t as personalised as I needed. But my scepticism turned to delight after Sight Concern visited me in my home.”

“I can’t express how much this service has transformed my life. Being able to read my mail independently and identify food items in my kitchen confidently has made a world of difference.” “I’ve been visited a couple of times now – on the first visit I learnt about simple talking software for my computer and how to access BBC iPlayer, as well as my iPhone.” “The Technology Coordinator visited me a second time, when I urgently needed assistance with a digital magnifier as I was about to go on holiday. I am amazed by the things I’ve been shown.” 

Brian’s story is just one of many that demonstrates the profound impact technology can have on people’s lives. Our in-home service is open to anyone living with a vision impairment in Worcestershire. Reach out to us on info@ or by calling 01905 723 245.

How does it work? 

Get in touch – you can refer yourself to the service by calling us on 01905 723 245, or by sending an email to

Assessment – our Technology Coordinator will arrange to visit you at home in order to assess your specific requirements.

Personal support – we will work closely with you, providing one-to-one guidance and training on the technology we recommended for you.  

Ongoing assistance – we will continue to provide you with support, guidance and training for as long as you need.


Technology support drop-ins

Book your 20-minute slot: 01905 723 245.

Three people sat around a table in a library

Do you or someone you know need some tech help? We’re running a series of Technology Support Sessions at various locations around the county! Our Technology Coordinator is now taking bookings for these one-to-one consultations. This is your opportunity to get answers to any technology related questions you may have, as well as receiving assistance with any technology problems you are currently facing.

Kidderminster Library Market Street, Kidderminster DY10 1AB – Monday 27th November, 10:00am – 12:00pm.

Sight Concern Worcestershire The Bradbury Centre, 2 Sansome Walk, Worcester WR1 1LH – Monday 27th November, 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

Evesham Library Oat Street, Evesham WR11 4PJ – Tuesday 28th November, 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Redditch Library 15 Market Place, Redditch B98 8AR – Wednesday 29th November, 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Malvern Library Graham Road, Malvern, WR14 2HU – Thursday 30th November, 10:00am – 12:00pm.

Bromsgrove Library Parkside, Market Street, Bromsgrove B61 8DA – Friday 1st December, 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Tenbury Wells Library 24 Teme St, Tenbury Wells WR15 8AA – Friday 1st December 1:00pm – 3:00pm.

Help us make a stronger start with Tesco funding

Tesco logo

We have been selected for the Tesco Stronger Starts initiative – this means that our Connections and Wellbeing Groups are in the running to receive some funding to help run the service – but we need your help to achieve this! From right now until the middle of January 2024, specific Tesco stores in our local area will be holding a voting campaign. Every vote counts, and you can help by making a purchase of any value in one of the participating stores, and in turn you will receive a token (one token per transaction). Place the token in Sight Concern Worcestershire’s voting box which you will also find in-store, to cast your vote.

Participating stores:


Mulberry Tree Hill, WR9 7SS


Pickersleigh Road, WR14 2NR


Henwick Park, WR2 6HH

St. Peters, WR5 3SW

High Street, WR1 2EX

London Road, WR5 2EL

Mill Wood Drive, WR4 0UJ

Brindley Road, WR4 9FB

Foregate Street, WR1 1D

Our core services

A lady with a guide dog being greeted at the front entrance of the Bradbury Centre

Low-Vision Clinics

Our twice-weekly clinics held at The Bradbury Centre off er personalised assessments and provide the most suitable optical magnifiers to help optimise remaining vision.

Sensory Matters

Information, advice, and guidance for people living with a sensory impairment in Worcestershire. Our advisors can also signpost and make referrals to other specialists and services.

Technology Support

Advice, training, and support on everything from digital handheld or desktop magnifiers to controlling your home appliances with your voice.

Wellbeing Activities

Our Connections groups run in six locations and are a great way to meet other people living with sight loss in your area, while our termtime and half-term activities provide fun for all the family.

Weekly events

  • Art and Craft Group, Wednesdays 10:30am – 12:30pm. We off er a space for you to come along with your own art and craft projects.

Employment Advice Drop-in, Thursdays 10.30am – 12.00pm. Advice and support on applying for jobs, learning new skills, interview and application forms, and Access to Work. These sessions are supported by Unity and Worcester Community Trust.

Eye Play, Fridays 9.30am -11.30am. A fun parent and toddler group for children or parents, carers, and grandparents living with a vision impairment.

A digital makeover

We will soon be embarking on a project to create a brand-new website that reflects our commitment to accessibility. A user-friendly experience for all is paramount, and that’s why we’re inviting you to be a part of this important process. Your insights and expertise are invaluable! Whether you have ideas on features, and content, or any other input, we’d love to hear from you. Together, we’ll make our online presence more informative, up-to-date, and accessible. If you’d like to get involved, please reach out to: Your feedback will be instrumental in building a website that truly serves the whole of our community.

Sensory Matters

By Jo Webber, Services Development Manager

Jo Webber smiling

Our new Sensory Matters service launched in October providing information, advice and guidance to anyone in Worcestershire living with a vision or hearing impairment. We have a team of sensory impairment advisors who can off er information and advice, signpost or make referrals to specialists and other services that off er support. If you need any support from us, you can contact us by:

Phone: 01905 723 245. phone lines are open Mondays 10.00am – 6.00pm and Tuesday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm.


Text: 07890 022957

 Visit us at: The Bradbury Centre, 2 Sansome Walk, Worcester, WR1 1LH. The centre is open Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm. Visit our new Facebook page for this service at: or

…our main page at: sightconcernworcestershire

Our Sensory Impairment Advisors understand the challenges that people with sight and hearing loss face and will provide you with the information you need to maintain independent and fulfilling lives. The Sensory Matters service is provided by Sight Concern Worcestershire in collaboration with Action Deafness to ensure we can offer the best specialist advice.

Volunteering matters

Nikki Poole, Volunteer Coordinator

Nikki Poole smiling

We have an amazing team of around 200 volunteers, and we absolutely couldn’t do what we do without them. Our volunteers tell us that they really enjoy being part of the team and helping to make a difference. We have several opportunities available at the moment if you, or someone you know could help, call Nikki on 01905 723 245 or email Could you help with these? 

  • Become a telephone befriender and give someone a call to have a chat once a week. 
  • Set up and run an eBay shop to sell second-hand goods that are donated to us. 
  • A gentleman in Malvern would love someone to visit and help him prune his garden. 
  • A lady and gentleman in Kidderminster would like a volunteer to enable them to go on longer walks. 
  • A walking group in Malvern need a new group leader to go on more challenging multi-terrain walks. 
  • A 62 year-old man in Evesham is hoping a volunteer can help him access VI cricket sessions. 
  • A 52 year-old lady in Droitwich would like a face-to-face befriender to be a gym buddy and for coffee and chats. 
  • Several ladies in Evesham and Kidderminster would like someone to support them for sporting activities and swimming. 
  • A 53 year-old male in Kidderminster is looking for a befriender to get out and about for coffee and chats.

Connections groups dates

Hannah Beech, Wellbeing Activities Coordinator

Hannah Beech smiling
  • Wyre Forest 28th November, 10am – 12pm – Christmas Party. Kidderminster Museum of Carpet, Stour Vale Mill, Green Street, Kidderminster DY10 1AZ. 
  • Bromsgrove 7th November 10.30am – 12.30pm – Charles Bonnet Awareness. 5th December 10.30am – 12.30pm – Christmas Party. Bromsgrove Methodist Church Centre, 19 Stratford Road, Bromsgrove B60 1AS. 
  • Redditch 13th November 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Charles Bonnet Awareness. 11th December 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Christmas Party. Christ Church, Matchborough, Ryton Close, Redditch B98 0EW.
  • Malvern 14th November 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Charles Bonnet Awareness. Date to be confirmed – Christmas Party. United Reform Church Hall, Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 1SS. 
  • Evesham 21st November 1.30pm – 3.30pm – Charles Bonnet Awareness. 19th December 1.30pm – 3.30pm – Christmas Party. St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Hall, High Street, Evesham WR11 4EG. 
  • Worcester 27th November 2.00pm – 4.00pm – Charles Bonnet Awareness. 18th December 1.30pm – 3.30pm – Christmas Party. The Bradbury Centre, 2 Sansome Walk, Worcester WR1 1LH. 

Your support matters

Amelia Carter, Business Development Manager

Our services are life-changing, and we are committed to improving and growing them. There are 24,000 people in Worcestershire with some form of sight loss and we are currently supporting just over 2000 people – we want to support many more. Someone at a Connections Group recently told us, “I lost all hope when I had my appointment at the hospital, finding Sight Concern was like having someone wrap their arms around me”. We rely on fundraising and support from people to continue to do the work we do. If you can support us with a one-off or regular donation it would be greatly appreciated.