Outlook News

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.


Lisburn Outlook adopted as charity of the Year

We are delighted to report that two local groups have adopted us as their charity of the year for 2018/19:

Harmony Hill Craft Group and the

Brookmount Line Dancing Ranch.

The Brookmount Ranch is organising a line dancing evening (see below).  One of our tandem pilots, Charlie Hendron, who is closely involved with the club, has already completed a sponsored cycle ride on our behalf around Lough Neagh – a mere hundred miles or so!  We are extremely grateful to all concerned.

Donations, Grants & Fundraising

Frozen Bones Bikers Donation

Lisburn Outlook recently received a kind donation of £300 from Dromore based bike club The Frozen Bones Bike Club.  The club held a Black Jacket night and organised a ride to raise the very generous donation.  Many thanks to the Frozen Bones Bike Club members and all those who took part in the activities.

David Mann receives a cheque for £300 from Dromore based Frozen Bones Bike Club – July 2018
Community Grant from LCCC

We are delighted to have been awarded a Community Support Grant of just over £900 from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.  This grant, for the year 2018/19, will make a significant contribution to our running costs, and we are very grateful to those who assessed and approved our bid.

Dean’s Appeal Donation

Lisburn Outlook also received a £300 donation from the St. Anne’s Cathedral Dean’s Christmas sit-out.  This is a much appreciated boost to our funds and we are grateful to the Dean and his staff for this kind donation.

Thanks to St Joseph’s Bridge Club

Lisburn Outlook is immensely grateful to St Joseph’s Bridge Club in Carryduff for adopting us as their charity of the month and donating an amazing £1,000.  This constitutes a huge boost to our funds.  Thank you, too, to Bernie Trail and Margaret Mann for speaking so persuasively on our behalf and securing the Club’s support.

Pedal Power Gears up our Funds

On Friday 13th October members and friends of Lisburn Outlook raised a massive £1,343 at Tesco’s in Bentrim street. We had two static tandems which many of us pedalled throughout the day with great vigour, even though we didn’t move! Others stood with buckets while a pop-up stand proclaimed who we are and what we do.

Thanks to Tesco’s for allowing us to do this, thanks to everyone who turned up to help, and above all thanks to Paul Rodgers who co-ordinated it all.

David Mann & Paul Rodgers receiving a cheque from Tesco’s customers

Lisburn Outlook Quiz raises £695

What was Belfast’s Royal Avenue called before it became Royal Avenue? Which street in Lisburn is named after a military musician who met an untimely end? If you had been at our quiz, you would know the answers to these questions!

There were 100 questions, 100 answers, and £695 in Outlook’s account afterwards. Our quiz at Lisburn Racquets Club on 4th November attracted around 70 people and brought in over £700. Even after paying catering expenses we netted £695.10. A huge thank you to Claire Patience for making all the arrangements, as well as to everyone who helped her. Also to George and Michael, the inimitable quizmasters.


It Takes Two

Our tandem group featured across BBC Northern Ireland on Monday 13thAugust. 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.


Didn’t We have a Lovely Day…

…the day we went to Bangor!  In this case, Bangor Co. Down, where a dozen Lisburn Outlook members went for the day on 10thAugust.  The weather was not on our side and we had to make some changes to the original itinerary.  For many the high spot was a late addition to the programme:  a tour of Bangor police station.  This was the first, and probably the last time I shall hold a riot shield or inspect a cell.  As the custody suite is no longer operational, we were all released in time for a meal at the Marine Court.  Many thanks to Bangor residents Joe and David for being our hosts throughout the day and making sure we were well fed and watered.


Audio Described Performances in Belfast

The list below details audio described performances coming up at local theatres between now and June 2019.  For a lot of these shows – particularly in the Grand Opera House, you do need to book well in advance.  Most of the theatres run access schemes where your sighted guide goes free  – so it is worth enquiring about when you book your ticket.

Grand Opera House, Belfast, ‘Evita’ Saturday 11th August 2018 – 2.30pm,                         

Grand Opera House, Belfast,  ‘Jersey Boys’ Wednesday 19th September 2018 – 7.30pm,             

Grand Opera House, Belfast,  ‘Shrek’  Tuesday 16th October 2018 – 7.00pm,                       

Grand Opera House, Belfast, ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’,  Saturday 5th January 2019 – 7.00pm,     

Grand Opera House, Belfast,    ‘The Bodyguard’, Saturday 16th February 2019 – 2.30pm     

Grand Opera House, Belfast, ‘Madagascar Musical’,  Saturday 27th April 2019 – 2.30pm,                

Grand Opera House, Belfast,  ‘Victoria’ – ballet, Saturday 1st June 2019 – 2.30pm

Questions and Answers

What do you call a quiz team made up of Lisburn Outlook members? Simple, you call it “Lisburn Outlook”. Never miss an opportunity to promote the brand.

An 8-strong team took part in a quiz at the Island Centre in Lisburn on 31stMay held to raise funds for the outgoing mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh’s two chosen charities, Habitat for Humanity and the Corrymeela Community.  We did not win, but we were in the top half and acquitted ourselves well.  Moreover, we enjoyed it.  We hope to field teams in other quizzes in the future, so if you want to join in contact David on 07766 302496 or via Lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.


Dublin Invasion

In the late 8thcentury Vikings first started raiding the Irish coast.  From 840 a.d. they settled there.  On 2ndJune, 2018 a large contingent of Lisburn Outlook members and friends went in search of them, and had a really great day out in the process. We travelled down to Dublin on the Enterprise, enjoying either breakfast or an early drink (or both).  We sampled the Luas tram system and walked up to Dublinia, close to Christchurch Cathedral.  There we had a conducted tour of the Viking Centre and the re-creation of medieval Dublin.  Later we enjoyed an excellent meal and not a little conviviality in a restaurant opposite Connolly Station, from where we invaded the last train home to Lisburn. It beats travelling by longboat any day!


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.


Mayor’s Charity Cycle Event

A number Lisburn Outlook members entered in the recent Mayor’s Charity Cycle event in Lisburn with 6-tandems taking part.  A great day was had by all with both pilots and stokers putting in some hard work.

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.




Visit to Mayor’s Parlour

The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh , Cllr Tim Morrow hosted a reception for members of the Outlook Group, Lisburn, on 8 March 2018 where he spoke about his civic role within the Council.

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

Annual Meeting

             – In With the New and Back in with the Old!

We held our annual meeting in the Assembly Room in Lisburn Linen Centre on Saturday 13th January.  Our guest speaker was Andy Allen, MLA, who spoke about his life, the accident which robbed him of his legs and some of his sight, and his current activities.  We also heard from the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City council, Cllr Tim Morrow.

Attendance was lower than last year, which was disappointing but we were delighted that Liz Goodman agreed to join our Committee.  Paul Hendron, Barbara Irvine, Audrey Kempton, David Mann, Margaret Mann, Claire Patience and Paul Rodgers agreed to stay on.

Over the past three months three of our committee members – Anne Cosgrove, Geraldine Dougal and Deborah Maginness – have had to stand down for a variety of personal and health reasons.  We are very grateful to them for the work they have done for Lisburn Outlook.  However, their departure does leave us short of people ready to organise events and otherwise keep our charity working. Volunteers to join us would still be most welcome and, dear reader, we cannot rule out the possibility of somebody trying to twist your arm in the next few months!

At our first committee meeting of 2018, Margaret Mann was re-elected Chair.  However, Margaret has made it clear that she will serve for only one further year, so we will need a new Chair soon.  David Mann and Audrey Kempton were re-elected Secretary and Treasurer respectively, but they cannot be expected to go on for ever either!


Like to Share a Good Story?

RNIB/NI are putting together a small team of volunteers to gather and record the real life stories of people who live with sight loss in Northern Ireland.  This is a great flexible volunteer role for someone who has an interest in journalism, research or just wants to get actively involved in the work of RNIB on a local level.

The stories collected will be used to create an up to date library of case studies that show the real effect of sight loss on people’s everyday lives.  This volunteer opportunity might be of particular interest to people with experience in photography, video and/or audio production, journalism, research or communications.

If you would like to take part, please contact Kirsty Campbell or Joe Kenny on 028 9033 4132 or 077 0285 6686.  You can also access more information on the internet link below.

Need to Talk Project

Counselling and confidence building support for anyone affected by sight loss

If you or a loved one are experiencing sight loss, you may be worried about the future and the changes you are facing. Perhaps you are experiencing feelings of sadness, anger or anxiety and this is affecting you on a day-to-day basis.

During these times, many people find it helpful to talk through their feelings with someone outside their usual circle of family and friends.

The ‘Need to Talk’ project, led by RNIB, offers free counselling and confidence building for people affected by sight loss across Northern Ireland, working in partnership with Fighting Blindness.

If you need to talk – we’re here to listen.

‘Need to Talk’ are a team of counsellors and confidence building staff with extensive experience in supporting people impacted by sight loss.

Through confidential counselling and confidence building services, they will help you face the future with confidence.

They support people of all ages, including children and young people 11 and over, and those who are supporting a person with sight loss who may also need someone to talk to.

Counselling service

After a simple referral to the team, they will arrange a telephone assessment to discuss what they can offer and arrange your first session.  Come the time of your appointment, your counsellor will call you, so there is no cost to you for the call.

Online counselling

You can opt for telephone or online counselling.  With online counselling you can access the support you need via your laptop, tablet or smartphone, talking with your counsellor using email, video conferencing or instant messaging.

You can self-refer for counselling by visiting the website rnib.org.uk/needtotalk where you will find more information, or get in touch by calling 0303 123 9999 and asking to speak to the Need to Talk team.

Confidence building programme

You can also get involved in face-to-face group confidence-building sessions available across Northern Ireland.  This takes the form of six, weekly sessions guiding you through a range of topics covering eye health, emotional support, assistive technology, benefits and support, daily living and leisure time.

An online version of this Confidence Building programme is coming in early Spring through which you can access the support you need in adapting to life with sight loss via your laptop, tablet or smartphone at a time that suits you, in the comfort of your own home.

Get in touch today

Get in touch with our Need to Talk team to find out what’s happening near you!

Phone: 0303 123 9999

Email: needtotalk@rnib.org.uk

For more information please visit:



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.

New blood required!

We need your blood! – Lisburn Outlook needs new blood.  Well, really it’s your brains and your time.  Most of your current committee have been working away steadily for Lisburn Outlook for a number of years.  They cannot be expected to go on indefinitely. Even if they could, it would not be good for the charity, as they would become jaded and lose their energy.

So we need new people to step forward and help run your charity.  In particular, people who are ready to enhance our social media presence or to organise events during the coming year.

We are a good team, and we all give one another support, so you would not be alone.  So come on, please give serious consideration to joining the committee or offering to take on a project or event.  The more people who do this, the brighter the outlook for Outlook.

Please contact David at lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.

Housing Executive

Our funds are better off to the tune of £180 as the result of a coffee morning organised in October by Deborah Maginness at the Housing Executive, where she works.   Colleagues sampled coffee and (apparently) very yummy cakes and tray bakes donated by staff. Thank you to all concerned.

Blue Grass in Omagh

Fourteen Lisburn Outlook members had a great day on 3rd September at the Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh.  We visited several of the houses, following the rags to riches story of Ulster people who had emigrated to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries.  We were also able to enjoy a variety of country and blue grass music as we wandered around.  The rain largely held off, and who cares about a drop of rain anyway!

Castlewellan Outing

A number of our cyclists enjoyed a day out at Castlewellan on 23rd August, cycling around the lake and enjoying the barbecue lunch and musical entertainment provided.  Many thanks to Doreen and her volunteers in Lurgan for organising the event and the sunny weather, and thanks also to our own pilots, especially Hamilton for taking charge of the tandem trailer.

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.


RNIB Phone Helpline

RNIB has a phone helpline that can be used to get lots of information and support for blind and partially sighted people and for friends and family interested in understanding sight loss better.

The phone number is 02034321488 then you follow the instructions for whatever you are interested in finding out about:

For information put together by people who have experienced losing their sight – press1

To understand sight loss – press 2

To join RNIB Connect – press 3 (then 3 for Connect magazines and 4 for the NI ‘Craic on’ podcasts)

To listen to a selection of RNIB produced magazines and leaflets – press 4

For organisations that can help you – press 5

RNIB would welcome you sharing the information with as many people as possible using whatever medium you prefer.

Please note that this initiative gives you access to recorded material.  It has not replaced the existing RNIB Helpline, 0303 123 9999, which you should still use for more straightforward transactions such as ordering equipment, talking books or magazine subscriptions, and if you want to seek advice through a direct conversation



Gran Fondo – A Great Success!

Five tandems from Lisburn Outlook took part in the recent Gran Fondo which took place on Sunday 4th June.  The tandems and accompanying single bike were very popular with the crowds who turned out to watch the event and the media too took a great interest with interviews recorded by both the Belfast Telegraph and BBC.

New pictures added (26 June) – see the photo page of this site.

Link to Belfast Telegraph interview:


A Great Night at the Theatre

Lisburn Outlook members had a great night at the Lyric theatre on Thursday, 1st June, where they attended an audio described performance of “Sinners”.

Our thanks go to Margaret Mann who organised this event.

Rally Driving Experience

Members of Lisburn Outlook enjoyed a great day of driving at the All Trak Centre in Craigavon on 6th May.  Everyone had their turn behind the wheel with some very impressive lap times recorded…and no bumps or dents.

Members of Lisburn Outlook at Alltrak Rallysport

Our thanks to Claire Patience who organised this event and to the staff at All Trak who looked after us very well.


Online Today – Technology Clinics

Online Today’ technology advice clinics are for people with sight loss in Northern Ireland. The online today team have found that technology can make everyone’s lives easier, but knowing where to start isn’t always easy. 

Online Today technology clinics are an opportunity for anyone to get answers to your quick tech queries over the phone or face to face. 

Do your settings need adjusted? Having issues with your apps, or forgotten how to do something? Call us, or call in, and we’ll get you going again.

The clinics will operate on a ‘first come first served’ basis, with slots lasting up to a maximum of 15 minutes per person. 

Derry/Londonderry – last Friday of every month                          Telephone Session – 10.00am-12.00noon                                                Call 075 2590 9872 – If number is busy leave a voicemail and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

Drop in Session – 1.00pm -3.30pm                                                  Location: RNIB Londonderry/Derry, Embassy Building, Strand Road, Londonderry/Derry, BT48 7BH

Belfast – Last Friday of every month  
Telephone Session – 10.00am-12.00noon                                                Call 028 9033 4126 – If number is busy leave a voicemail and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

Drop in Session – 1.00pm-3.30pm
Location: RNIB Belfast, Victoria House, 15-15 Gloucester St, Belfast, BT1 4LS.
For more information contact Joanne Wilson, Project Co-ordinator Online Today, RNIB NI on 028 9033 4113 or email onlinetodayni@rnib.org.uk

 New Twitter Account

Lisburn Outlook is now alive and active on Twitter!  Why not follow us at @Lisburn_Outlook, for the latest updates on what is happening.  This will also give you another way of helping us spread the word about Lisburn Outlook, and another way of getting in touch.

Keeping in touch

Our Secretary David Mann has set up a group texting facility on his phone. If you have not been receiving texts lately, it may be that we have not got a mobile number for you. David would love to have it. We also try to send out email reminders, but again only if we have an email address for you. David will happily receive any contact information. He can contacted on 07766 302496 or at lisburnoutlook@gmail.com.

Our data protection policy ensures that information of this nature will not be disclosed to anyone not entitled to use it for the purposes of Lisburn Outlook. 

Facebook Pages for Visually Impaired People

One of RNIB Connect volunteers has created a number of Facebook pages with the aim of helping to connect visually impaired people, and their friends & family, at a local level with one another to help grow friendships and networks.  If anyone has an interesting article or video to share, a story to tell, an event to publicise or know of services other visually impaired people should know about then please join, share &
like the community.  There are pages for each county in Northern Ireland and details are as follows:
L’Derry / Derry      <https://www.facebook.com/groups/212632139211901/>Armagh
<https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=tyroneVisually%20Impaired%20Persons%20Social%20Group%20Page&gt;This is not actually an RNIB Connect initiative, but is very much in the same spirit.


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