EYECAN Newsletter – July 2021

EYECAN extends a big Hello to all friends.

What a time we’ve all had since it was business as usual!

We hope the recent crisis treated you kindly and that today finds you fit and well and looking forward to re-engaging with friends, activities and support. Some of you, understandably, may have lingering anxieties. Let us help you to move ahead, and to resume living with confidence.

Despite Covid restrictions, the many months of lockdown did not find EYECAN idle. Staff and volunteers endeavoured to get in touch with you all, making sure everyone was connected to practical support, and that those of you who were isolated received regular contact. Even when we couldn’t come into your homes, staff dropped off equipment to make daily tasks a little easier.

However, at Westlea Centre, it was full steam ahead, the suspension of social clubs providing opportunity for a complete transformation. The Centre now presents a harmonious and accessible interior, with each room fit for purpose. Social and Activity Club members have a choice of rooms to use, which supports social distancing, but also provides a range of light conditions, and quieter areas, to choose from.

The Demo Room now sports swish shelving units, displaying a wide range of equipment to boost independence, whilst the walls throughout the building showcase the many splendid works of art created by our members. Work is also planned outside the building, with improved parking on the agenda, and our kitchen garden in process of being relocated to the field across the road. This larger area will allow much more fresh produce to be grown by green-fingered members, and give clients attending Westlea a selection of delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs to purchase and take home with them. Once we know how much the site will yield, we plan to engage with a charity providing meals locally to those needing support. There might even be sufficient produce left over to sell!

The suspension of social clubs also enabled us to review our activities programme and to revitalise our offerings. Time spent at clubs will now be slightly shorter, reducing the risk of tiredness in those attending, however much more will be available to members. New activities include cycling on adapted bikes, walks, dance, art sessions on location, themed social club days (such as a French themed day), hula hoop exercise (seated or standing), and speakers on subjects of interest. However, old favourites such as in-house art and craft, flower arranging, film afternoons, quizzes and musical entertainment, can still be enjoyed.

Over the years, many of you will have attended our annual EYECAN Solutions event, held at a venue in Town. The event provides a great opportunity to learn more about established and innovative equipment from our suppliers, as well as a chance to meet representatives from services that support living with sight loss.

This year, as we have a newly renovated Centre to show off, EYECAN Solutions will be hosted at Westlea over 2 days in October (6th & 7th). Our Rehabilitation Officer, Chris Frost, and Sight Support Officer, Agnetta Nerac, will be on hand to demonstrate equipment, and on-line presentations will also be on show. Local contributors, such as Audiology and Occupational Therapy are expected. Invitations will be sent out closer to the date, when visiting slots will be arranged to manage footfall and ensure that you receive the attention you deserve.

Our thanks, as ever, must go to our invaluable volunteers, whose commitment to our clients has remained constant throughout the pandemic, and beyond.

EYECAN staff, and volunteers, will, I am sure, join with me in expressing what a pleasure it is to be able to meet you in person once again. If you haven’t yet engaged with EYECAN please do get in touch. There is so much we can offer, from simple assistive aids, to magnifiers, accessible technology which supports communication, mobility training, social opportunity, and much more besides.

To those of you who are returning to our clubs, or resuming contact with Community Team staff to avail yourselves of their specialist skills and knowledge , the message is very simple:

Welcome back! Weve really missed you!

With every best wish,

Jane Vincent

Operations Director

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