Outlook News

Change to opening hours RNIB Belfast

The RNIB store in Gloucester Street, Belfast will be changing their opening hours as part of a plan to make our Products for Life – from magnifiers and talking watches to canes and eye shields – accessible to more blind and partially sighted customers with a range of events across Northern Ireland. This is to facilitate a more community-based approach, taking our product offer out on the road to reach blind and partially sighted customers who may not be able to visit the Belfast store.

We’ll also be hosting special events in the Belfast store to meet suppliers or invite customers to product launch events. We’ll be using existing events and creating new opportunities to meet customers at venues across Northern Ireland.

When do the opening hours change?

Belfast – from March 2020

The store will be open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 4pm. Closed 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

RNIB is closed temporarily during the coronavirus outbreak. We will keep you updated when the Office re-opens.

Every Little Helps

Tesco are now operating the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme – wearing the sunflower lanyard will help staff identify that you are open to offers of help whilst doing your shopping. To find out more and to get a lanyard talk to customer services in store or at the checkouts at the Tesco Express.

Annual General Meeting

Our 2020 AGM was held on Thursday 16th January at the Atlas Centre on Bachelors Walk. The meeting was chaired by Paul Rodgers and attended by 14 members and volunteers.
Olive Rodgers from RNIB-NI gave a presentation on the services she can offer to blind and visually impaired people and her presentation was well received.
A report on Lisburn Outlook’s activities for the past year was presented together with details of the charity’s finances. The meeting approved both of these reports.
The chairman thanked those committee members who were standing down at the AGM for all of their efforts on behalf of the organisation and three new members; Deborah Maginness, Anne Cosgrove and Stephen Strong volunteered to join the committee.

Home Fire Safety Check

Did you know that if you are aged 60 or older; or have a disability, impaired mobility or a health condition that would impact on your ability to acknowledge and respond to an emergency in the home then you are entitled to a free Home Fire and Safety check from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service.

They will check your home, offer free advice and if necessary install a free smoke detector in the proper place.

If you would like to be referred for a free check please contact Olive Rodgers, RNIB Northern Ireland Community Access worker on 028 90334133.


What we get up to!

Here’s what we did in 2019

In 2019 we undertook our biggest venture yet, taking 12 blind and partially sighted people to the annual sight Village technology exhibition in Solihull, England.

Other activities included:-

Visit to audio described comedy at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Victorious participation in the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh’s charity Quiz.

Visit to Belfast Botanic Garden Tropical Ravine.

Two pizza evenings.

Visit to Hilden Beer Festival.

Castlewellan cycling and walking day. 

Bowling evening.

Christmas dinner.

Monthly “Café & Co.” morning coffee gatherings.

Weekly Tandem cycling.

Fortnightly walks.

Here’s what we did in 2018

Visit to civic Centre and Mayor’s Parlour.

8 March 18, Mandatory Credit ©Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Participation in Mayor’s charity cycle ride.

Angling Experience.

Participation in Mayor’s charity quiz.

Visit to Viking Centre, Dublin.

Visit to audio described play at the Lyric theatre, Belfast.

Rally driving Experience.

Day trip to Bangor.

Cycling and walking day, Castlewellan.

Tour of Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

6-week Pilates course.

Ladies’ Make -up evening.

Christmas dinner.

Monthly “Café & Co.” morning coffee gatherings, plus some ”sip and sup” pub evenings”.

Weekly Tandem cycling.

Fortnightly walks.

Here’s what we did in 2017

Car driving experience at Altrak, near Craigavon.

Two visits to audio described plays, one at Grand Opera House and one at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

Participation in Gran Fondo cycle ride.


Cycling and Walking Day at Castlewellan.

Visit to Ulster American Folk Park, near Omagh, during Blue Grass Festival.

fund-raising static tandem outside Tesco’s.

Fund-raising quiz.

Monthly “Café & Co.” morning coffee gatherings, plus some ”sip and sup” pub evenings”.

Weekly Tandem cycling.

Fortnightly walks.


Counselling and confidence building support for people affected by sight loss

If you or a loved one are experiencing sight loss, having someone who understands what you’re going through can make a huge difference. During these times, many people find it helpful to talk through their feelings with someone outside their usual circle of family and friends.

Through the Need to Talk project, RNIB ( Northern Ireland) and Fighting Blindness (Republic of Ireland) are working together to support people of all ages, including children and young people from the age of 11, and their family and friends, to access the emotional and practical support they need to adapt to life with sight loss.

You can get in touch with Need to Talk’s counselling and Living with Sight Loss team by telephoning or emailing RNIB on 0303 123 9999 or e-mailing: needtotalk@rnib.org.uk.


So Who are we?

Lisburn Outlook now has a publicity leaflet, aimed primarily at new volunteers and new members, their families and friends.  It is in trifold format, meaning it slips easily into a pocket or handbag.  We can of course produce it in alternative formats should anyone want this.  If you think you can place copies of this anywhere, please contact David on 07766 302496 or via lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.

Lisburn & Castlereagh PSNI/PCSP Text Alert

Lisburn and Castlereagh PSNI & PCSP have a text alert system in place for residents and the business community who reside or work within the council area which allows the PSNI and PCSP to communicate directly with them. 

Text Alert is used to get short, immediate messages out to mobile phones of registered users who have an interest in helping PSNI and PCSPreduce crime and help keep the community in which they live or work safer.

Text Alert can also be used to remind registered users of dangerous road conditions, suspicious vehicles and ongoing crime issues in their particular area.

Should you wish to sign up to the scheme you can access the application form at: http://www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/pcsp.  The completed form should be returned to James Bingham at the PCSP Office.


New Tandem Pilots & Stokers Needed

Lisburn Outlook is looking for tandem pilots; people who would be willing to ride on the front of a tandem bike with a blind or partially sighted stoker behind.

Our tandem group offers people with sight loss an opportunity to get out and about on a bike, with all the advantages that brings of fresh air, exercise and good company.As a sighted pilot, you would get all these benefits as well!You would be responsible for steering, braking, changing gear and generally taking responsibility for the safety of you and your fellow-rider.In exchange you would get plenty of craic from the rest of the group! For more information, without commitment, please contact Paul on 07889 749992 or drop us an e-mail via lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.

We are also keen to encourage new ‘tandem stokers’. Do you think you might like to try out tandem cycling as a blind person, but aren’t quite sure and don’t want to embarrass yourself?  Well, we are always looking for new cyclists and will be happy to arrange short introductory sessions somewhere safe such as Wallace park.  Just let Paul know on 07889 749992.

We won!!

Lisburn Outlook’s Quiz team trounced the opposition at this year’s Mayor’s Charity Quiz (2019) at the Island Centre on 28th March.  Our team of seven members, volunteers and friends scored exactly 100, and came away with prizes and glory.  Proceeds of the evening went to the Mayor’s Charity, which this year is the Cancer fund for Children, so that made it doubly worthwhile.

The Lisburn Outlook quiz team who recently won the Mayor’s Quiz soundly beating all comers.

We are thinking of fielding a team at other table quizzes, so if you would like to join us please contact David on 07766 302496 or via lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.

RNIB Grant

Did you know that RNIB offer a grant towards technology and equipment? To be eligible you must be registered and receive a means tested benefit.

Items considered suitable for grant aid include:  Computer accessibility software: magnification or combined magnifier reader software, Dolphin Guide and upgrades to these; Computer dictation software (£80 maximum for Windows versions, £125 maximum for Mac versions); Voice recorders and dictaphones (£70 maximum); Portable and TV video magnifiers (£500 maximum); Accessible kitchen equipment including talking microwaves, talking scales and non-slip products; Talking watches, clocks and radios (£70 maximum); Big button or talking landline telephones (£100 maximum), DAISY players, USB players and e-readers (£350 maximum)and Accessible personal assistance and smart home devices (£190 maximum).  For further information and an application form please contact Olive Rodgers on 02890334133.

New Way to Access RNIB Talking Books

There’s now a new and much easier way to read audio books from the RNIB Overdrive service. EasyReader is a free app that you can download to your phone or tablet which is available for both iOS and Android users.

Download EasyReader to your device and then login to the RNIB Overdrive library with your existing credentials (you will only need to do this once). You can then browse the full Talking Book library by ‘your checkouts’, ‘new releases’ and ‘most popular’. Alternatively, you can search for a specific title or author.

Once you’ve chosen a book, you can ‘borrow’ and ‘download’ with a single button. You can even listen to an audio preview, to make sure you’ve chosen wisely. In addition, returning a title is just as simple.

The EasyReader app has been created by leading AT specialists Dolphin Computer Access, so it’s fully accessible and compatible with VoiceOver and TalkBack. The feedback from readers about using EasyReader has been very positive.

Finally, if you also subscribe to RNIB Newsagent, you can use EasyReader to effortlessly read your newspapers and magazines.

Search the app store for ‘Dolphin EasyReader’ or visit  www.yourdolphin.com/easyreaderapp for the download links.


How to keep in touch.

The main sources of information on what Lisburn Outlook is doing are our newsletter and our website.  However, we do also try to keep people up to date by sending reminders closer to events. We do this by email, if the Secretary has your email address, and also via Twitter and Facebook.  In addition, the Secretary has been sending out text reminders to members whose mobile number he knows.  However, the group texting app has proved unreliable, and so we have set up a WhatsApp broadcast list instead.  This is different from a chat group, as nobody sees other people’s replies, and it is not possible to work out the phone numbers of other members.  However, this only works if you have WhatsApp on your phone (free to download), and it also only works if you have the Secretary’s phone number in your contacts list so that your phone recognises the message as one you want to receive.

So, please, if you want to receive these updates, get in touch with David on 07766 302496 or via lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.  


iPad Grant Scheme

If you are registered blind or partially sighted, a UK resident and aged between 11 and 25 years you could be eligible for an Apple iPad Air 2 32GB with a protective case.  VICTA and RNIB have come together to reach blind and partially sighted young people with technology that supports independent living.  To find out more please visit the VICTA website http://www.victa.org.uk/grants/or call on 01908 240 831 to find out how you can apply.


Did you Know?

If you’re in a situation where you can’t speak (choking, heart attack, intruder, domestic violence etc ) you can ring 999 and when they answer, press 55 and this tells them you need help but can’t speak and they will despatch police to you!  Worth knowing.


It Takes Two

Our tandem group featured across BBC Northern Ireland on Monday 13thAugust 2018 Reporter Maria McCann sat in the stoker’s saddle while Maeve instructed her in the pilot’s role.  Meanwhile four tandems cycled along past the scenic backdrop of the Island Centre and the River Lagan.  We featured on BBC Radio Ulster’s “Good Morning Ulster” programme, and on BBC NI television’s Newsline in the evening.  There was also a short feature on the BBC Northern Ireland on-line news pages. 

It took two hours to produce five minutes of radio and TV, but the sun was shining and we all enjoyed it.  Maeve, John and David all got their faces and voices in front of the public!  Several people have been in touch since the broadcasts to express an interest in volunteering as pilots and also as sighted guides more generally.


Keeping Your Data Safe

As a result of new data protection legislation, we have had to contact all existing members and volunteers, asking them to re-confirm that they are happy for us to hold personal information such as addresses and phone numbers.

If you haven’t got round to replying yet, please do so as soon as possible, so that we do not have to delete your records.  Equally, if you have slipped through the net and we have failed to ask you, please get in touch.You can do this via lisburnoutlook@gmail.com or by ringing David on 07766 302496. 

We hold personal data in order to run the charity efficiently and effectively.  At the moment, the most information we hold on any one member or volunteer is:  given name; surname; landline number; mobile number; email address; postal address; whether they are visually impaired or sighted; and whether they have paid their subscription in the current or preceding years. In the case of sighted volunteers, we also note in our records whether or not they have gone through a criminal records check.  In the case of tandem pilots, we also have a note of whether they have gone through a cycling proficiency course arranged by us.

We also have contact details (usually just email addresses) of a number of people whose support we value, such as rehabilitation workers or representatives of other charities.

These records are held by the Secretary and the committee member responsible for dispatching the monthly newsletter.  In no circumstances are they passed to non-members or to outside organisations.    They are passed to other members only in a very limited way:  that is to say, email addresses or phone numbers may be passed to someone who is organising a Lisburn Outlook event or activity, for the efficient organisation of that activity.  The event or activity organiser is subject to the same obligations not to misuse information as is the Secretary.

Members and volunteers are entitled to check with the Secretary what information we hold on them, and to have it corrected if necessary.  Equally, the secretary would appreciate it if you let him know whenever you change your email or phone details.

Congratulations to Brian

Congratulations to Lisburn Outlook member Brian Lenahan from Lurgan who won a silver medal  for Team Ireland in the World Blind tennis championships in Dublin last month. 

Blind Tennis was only introduced into Northern Ireland about eighteen months ago, and the Irish team was up against players from as far afield as Australia and India.

Health and Safety Procedures: A Reminder

In Lisburn Outlook, we all share a responsibility to ourselves and to one another to ensure that we are safe at all times.  The trustees have a particular responsibility to ensure that we have appropriate policies and procedures in place to minimise risk.

Following an incident last summer, we have introduced new requirements for those taking part in our walking and cycling groups.  We have also set out recommendations for everyone attending any of our other events.

From now onwards, everyone taking part in our cycling or walking activities will be required to wear an armband with a compartment containing a sheet of paper with essential information on it.  This will include emergency contact details and key information on any medical conditions which first responders may need to know about.

We are issuing armbands, and have circulated guidance to those concerned on the key facts to be carried.  Wearing the armbands will be mandatory.

In addition to this, we would strongly encourage anyone attending any of our other events to carry key information with them and to keep it somewhere obvious, such as in a coat pocket or handbag.  This should include name, date of birth, whom to contact in an emergency, GP, allergies, whether you have conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure  or diabetes, current medication, whether you carry items such as inhalers or epi-pens.  In the very unlikely event of your suffering an accident or an incident such as a heart attack or stroke, paramedics and other medical staff will need to know this sort of information and you might not be conscious or lucid enough to give it yourself. 

This may seem very gloomy, and of course 99% of the time this information will not be needed.  However, it is far better to err on the side of caution.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Our revised health and safety policy is on this website and this, together with risk assessments for cycling and walking,  is also available on request in the format of your choice.  If you have any questions about any aspect of our health and safety policies, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Are You Entitled to a Free Home Eye Test?

You may qualify for a free NHS eye test at home if you are unable to visit an optician unaccompanied due to physical or mental disability and are any of the following:
·         aged 60 or over
·         registered blind or partially sighted
·         diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
·         considered to be at risk of glaucoma,

  •         aged 40 or over and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
    ·         receiving benefit (Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit)
    ·         entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
    ·         on a low income and named on a valid HC2 (full help) or HC3 (partial help) certificate
    ·         eligible for an NHS Complex Lens Voucher

Specsavers are offering this home service and if you think you qualify, you can request a home visit using the web form on https://www.specsavers.co.uk/home-eye-tests or by calling us on 0800 198 1132.

Did you know?

An increasing number of ATMs are now available with speech output, via your standard earphones or headphones?  In Lisburn City Centre alone, Nationwide, Barclays, Halifax and Dansk Bank have them, and others may have too.  It may be a good idea to ask bank staff to show you how to use them initially, but once you are familiar you will be able to get money any time of the day or night, assuming you have any!

The exact series of actions and lists of options will vary from one bank to another, but generally speaking each allows you to listen to a description of the layout of the machine or jump directly to inserting your card and withdrawing your money.  Remember that the speech starts as soon as you have put the earphone jack into the machine, so it is advisable to put the other end in your ear first.  Some of the sneakier models have a volume control beside the headphone socket, so you may have to adjust this before you hear anything.  The more you use a particular bank’s ATM, the more familiar you will become with it and the quicker the whole transaction will take.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s