Some of our customers would like to tell you how they feel about Sight Life and what it has done for them.
Carol’s story – in her own words
“Before I came involved with the Blind Institute I was a very quiet introverted individual with no confidence. I was also very wary with people around me. When I was diagnosed with an eye condition, I was told about the Institute for the Blind and someone came to visit me. Following up on this, I joined the art club where I began to make new friends, enjoy myself and have freedom and gain confidence. I then went on to join many other clubs such as, the lunch club, gardening club, Penarth Insight club poetry and computer group. I have recently been made chair person of the Thursday club which I am representing the members. From being a very quiet person, I now have a lot of friends who have helped and advised me in many ways. My life is totally different and without the Blind Institute I would be stuck in a room on my own.”
Carol is not only an active member volunteer of many of our clubs but also an invaluable admin volunteer who helps in the office four days per week.
Peter’s story – in his own words
“I was forced to retire from my work as a Bespoke Tailor because of my failing eyesight. I have Glaucoma and was registered blind ten years ago. A social worker who visited me at the time asked had I considered learning to read braille, I thought I would give it a try and joined a grade one beginners class at the Cardiff Institute for the Blind (CIB). It was the best thing I could have done, because it opened a window of other opportunities for me. I soon became aware of what CIB is and does for the blind community. For me personally the CIB has enhanced my life as a blind person, I had never touched a keyboard before and I didn’t know the first thing about computers, I joined a beginners class at CIB and under the patient tuition of the staff I learned to touch type and to use a computer. I became involved in many other clubs including poetry, singing and rambling.
All the staff who work at CIB are an amazing group of people who go far above and beyond the call of duty and are able to help and empathise with the problems of people with sight loss, you quickly realize that working at the CIB is more than just a job to them. Through losing my sight I have got to know some very special people, the staff at CIB make it a special place. The blind community of Cardiff and surrounding areas are very fortunate to have such a unique institution it is a GEM it is a life line and a safety net which enables blind people to go on living a full and happy life. The special people who work at CIB have made a tremendous difference to the quality of my life and will go on making a difference to countless other blind people in the future.”
Peggy is in her early 80s. A few years ago lost both her sight and her husband. Peggy enjoyed holidays with her husband in their motor home – they used to share the driving. Losing her sight and her husband hit her hard. She just went from day to day coping the best she could. Peggy attended our consultation event in June 2010 and started actively taking part in the services we provide. Peggy says:
“Since 2010, I have had a social life as I now attend groups, theatre clubs and holidays activities. I feel as if I have my life back again. I have met so many people and developed new friendships. It has done so much for my confidence.”
Peggy now volunteers with the County Steering Group, Gorseinon VIP group and helps out with our contact line.
Judi’s story – in her own words
“My name is Judi. I developed cataracts in both eyes about two years ago. My loss of sight changed my world and I couldn’t do those things that I was used to anymore. My sister in law encouraged me to go to Sight Life as they held a coffee morning every Tuesday. It was the best advice I ever had, and took. I have learnt so much there about services that are available to me. I have been shown products that I didn’t know existed.
Sight Life and all the staff are brilliant, I absolutely love going there and I have met so many amazing people. I have joined lots of different groups and I leave feeling happy.
I was so upset when this lockdown happened, then I got a phone call from the wonderful Jane, to ask if I wanted to join some phone groups. I have joined a few groups and again can’t praise the staff enough for how they have managed this crisis. I am back talking to my friends, being part of quiz groups and not feeling at all isolated. I know there is someone always at the end of the phone if I need help. There are not enough adjectives to describe what a lifeline Sight life has become for me!!”
Mary lost her sight suddenly and was registered severely sight impaired. She contacted Sight Life as she did not know what to do. Teresa visited Mary at home and explained about the help and support that was available from Sight Life, RNIB and other local services. As a widow who lived in her own home, Mary was very upset at the thought of losing her independence and was worried she would have to move into a care home. Teresa explained how Sight Life could help her to remain independent and continue to live in her own home.
Teresa referred Mary to the rehabilitation officer to help her with mobility training and cooking skills. Care and Repair Cymru put more lighting in the kitchen and handrails where required. RNIB’s Advice Service carried out an assessment for attendance allowance. Mary then attended one of our independent living sessions where she was given useful information and tips to help make everyday tasks such as getting out and about, shopping and technology easier. It was here that she learned about accessible mobile phones and she decided she would like to try one. Mary was referred to RNIB’s Technology for Life team and she had a home visit to demonstrate further. Mary also purchased a Sonic USB player and signed up to RNIB Talking Books.
Mary is now much more confident. She remains independent and socially active – she’s attended a couple of Sight Life’s groups and enjoys the peer support. She loves listening to her talking books and is considering a gym taster session now that she can pay for taxis using her attendance allowance.
Here are some other quotes from our customers – they were a bit shy and wanted to remain anonymous!
- When I was diagnosed partially sighted I was totally scared and desperate. I was sent to CIB and I never looked back after that! They were brilliant, they introduced me to members who had similar problems to me; I had awful fears and they helped take them away because they inspired me to learn ways to cope and embrace life instead! It totally transformed my attitude to being positive and grateful for what sight and sense I had. I also learnt me to touch type which has been totally invaluable.
- Michelle came to see me, she is wonderful, she really listened to me and has done a lot for me! I used to be an avid reader and got a lot of pleasure from it. Michelle introduced me to Talking Books which are amazing and have made a huge difference to my quality of life since losing my sight. I thoroughly enjoy murder mysteries, often listen to them twice, they enrich my life! Thank you so much.
- Craig is an amazing Technical expert and is a total asset to CIB! He has majorly supported me by introducing me to the Synapptic smart phone and the “Visum” which is a specially adapted tablet on a stand which helps me read letters and do crosswords etc. He took the time to expertly coach me in using both. It has made me so independent despite my sight loss! Thank you.
- Michelle came to visit me at home, she knew exactly what I needed so she got Care and Repair to come and put new lighting in my kitchen including lighting at counter level. It’s a fantastic transformation it has changed my life! I can see so much clearer in my kitchen now, even the microwave looks bigger! It’s a pleasure to come out and use the kitchen so I’m more independent and can cook more nutritional meals. Thanks Michelle and Care and Repair.
- Teresa and Jeff have been a brilliant help to us, I really didn’t realise they could do so much. Because of Teresa’s input our Eye appointment for David’s cataract has been brought forward to two weeks’ time, it’s to assess his cataracts for a possible operation which would make so much difference, we are over the moon! The visor that Teresa got for us is a simple but really good help to shielding the bright light; and she referred us to ILS which has given us a reduction on our water bill which is great. Also, Jeff installed the voice over on David’s Samsung which he is practicing using now, it will be a tremendous help, thank you both for your ongoing care.
- I found Teresa was very kind and helpful, she explained things well and the most important thing was that I really thought she understood how I felt in going through coping with my sight loss. She introduced me to Talking Books, I have a Sonic Player and am signed up to RNIB Talking Books, they are like having a companion to me, I really enjoy them! She also referred me to Care and Repair, they have put a rail in my drive making it much safer for me to walk up it to the front door, and a platform in front of the front door step making it much less steep and so much safer and guarding me from falls, I’m so pleased and grateful for all the help!
- I have been receiving services from the Blind Institute for several years now and I am extremely happy with the help I’ve gotten! One of the things I was originally helped with was special lighting throughout my house which is a simple thing but was a huge help to me when my eyes started to really deteriorate. I have Talking Books plus radios in several rooms of my house all set up on different channels, they all keep me company! Teresa recently got me a huge Large print calendar and black felt pens which I find extremely helpful to keep track of my appointments, it’s helped a lot. Overall CIB have been great at supporting me, thank you.
- I retired from work end of last year and now I’ve been recently diagnosed as having macular, I was really feeling down, and feeling the need to fill a void in my life of not working. I was referred for a home visit from CIB which has totally transformed my outlook on life! Teresa came she is marvelous she put me at ease right away, I was able to talk and open up to her really easily! I’ve already joined the Macular Group. I’ve also joined the Coffee morning, I came last week and already made some new friends and am looking forward to starting the Chair Yoga classes. All in all, with all these new events going on I have discovered a whole new world for me to be part of, thank you so much.