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EYECAN Newsletter – May 2022

Hello once again to all friends of EYECAN. 

We hope you are keeping well, and that life is treating you kindly.

I would like to start this newsletter by telling you about some recent changes at Westlea. 

Firstly, I must let you know that Activities Coordinator, Maxine Preddy, has moved on to a new job, taking our very best wishes with her. Maxine, who was responsible for extending and revitalising activities, will be greatly missed by our Social Club members. Nevertheless, the lovely Lorna Kearney has now stepped into her shoes, and is already making friends and ensuring that an exciting schedule of activities is available to members. 

Regular visitors to the Centre may have noticed the improved acoustic conditions. Discreet acoustic boards have been positioned throughout the premises to absorb sound and reduce its intensity. This will benefit all members, but particularly those with hearing loss.  

It has been a glittering time recently in respect to awards. At the Eisteddfod, our talented artists received a range of well-deserved accolades, including one Platinum, and 5 gold awards. One artist won both the Robert and Irene Le Brocq award for acrylics and the Premier Award for Adult Art!  Well done, everyone! Your artwork is stunning!

 Image shows 3 landscape paintings and two trophies in front of them. The painting on the left is of a lake with reeds in it and mountains in the background; The middle painting is of St Clement’s Church; And the painting on the far right is of a lake surrounded by mountains, snow and trees.

The Charity has also impressed judges, winning the Public Sector/Charity award at the annual Jersey Tech Awards, whilst also being shortlisted for the Productivity Award. EYECAN strives to keep up to date with all technological innovations which support sight loss needs. We have good working relationships with several technology providers and introduce new devices to members as part of our rehabilitation practice, as well as at our annual EYECAN Solutions event.

 Image of the EYECAN team with their public Sector/Charity award at the Jersey Tech Awards. Chris Frost from EYECAN is holding the award with the EYECAN team behind him.

EYECAN Solutions Highlights 

This year’s EYECAN Solutions was very well received. In addition to the opportunity to learn more about EYECAN services, equipment from Vision Aid was on display, whilst representatives from Optelec and Associated Optical were on hand to demonstrate assistive technology. Local contributors were also in evidence: Stroke Association and the Macular Society gave advice and support to those affected by these conditions, whilst Technicare advised on aids to support disability. Once again, we must say a big thank you to Technicare for sponsoring refreshments.

Image shows the main hall at Westlea Centre busy with visitors, staff and volunteers. Exhibitors are showing visitors equipment that is displayed on their stands.

A new contributor this year was Carers’ Jersey, an umbrella organisation for charities and services which include carers in their remit. If you care for someone, please make this known to staff at EYECAN. There are carers’ events throughout the year which might be of interest to you, including a regular Wednesday café meet up. There is also commitment to advise Government about carers’ needs and the need for improvements, so your input would be useful. Speak to Sarah for further information or visit carersjersey.je.

EYECAN Walk in My Shoes

Another annual event, this time one to look forward to, is A Walk in my Shoes. This awareness raising event takes place on Sunday, 26th June. This year, the focus is on diabetic retinopathy, a complication of Diabetes which causes sight loss. Representatives from Diabetes Jersey and Diabetes Retinal Screening will be attending to offer preventative, and practical advice. The event will be held at St Martin’s Parish Green. Participants will be provided with disposable spectacles simulating diabetic sight loss, under which conditions they can choose to tackle various challenges, including a walk around the Green supported by a sighted guide, a mock-up shopping experience, and a refreshment tent challenge. The event will also feature an activity tent for children.

Image shows the Walk in my Shoes logo. The logo is a red shaped eye with a white circle in the middle. A black silhouette of a man walking with a cane is in the centre of the circle.

EYECAN Electric Vehicle Survey

A subject close to the hearts of Islanders with sight loss is road safety. For this reason, an online survey about electric vehicles was conducted during the month of May. With ever increasing numbers of silent vehicles on our roads, we were keen to capture the opinions of Islanders with sight loss, vulnerable pedestrians, and other members of the public. We will reflect on the survey results in our next newsletter.

Jersey Election 2022

A lot has been going on in the background to ensure that voting at the June election is accessible in all respects – from the polling station environment to the voting slips. If you choose to vote at a polling station, do make the people on the door aware of your sight loss. An officer will be on hand to provide you with assistance.

Jersey Employment Trust Conference 

EYECAN believes that Islanders with impaired sight should be able to access, and participate in, the Community. At the Jersey Employment Trust conference in April, Chris and Agnetta, in collaboration with Liberate, presented a workshop to employers concerning workplace accessibility for employees with disability.

Image shows Chris and Agnetta standing either side of Paddy from Liberate. They are standing in front of the Jersey Employment Trust pop up banner.

EYECAN is always busy on your behalf, working with services throughout Jersey to improve conditions and support for Islanders with sight loss. Your views and suggestions really matter to us, so please let us know if you think something requires our attention.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jane Vincent

Operations Director