Visionary briefing 14 October 2020

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Your Briefing – 14 October 2020

This week
Visionary latest – How Visionary can support you
A sector-wide approach – How the sector is working together
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates
Partner Spotlight – Focus on a new Visionary Partner
Member Spotlight – News and successes from our members
HR and Health and Safety Matters – HR and health and safety advice and information

Sharing the love – Great ideas, successes and stuff that works
In the know – Latest COVID-19 updates, news and resources

Welcome to your fortnightly briefing. Below we share the news that matters to you, highlight some of the fantastic work you have shared with us, and share our continuing programme of online sessions taking us into November.

We are taking a half term break
The Visionary Briefing will be taking a break for the half term holidays the week commencing 26 October but will be back with all your news and updates the week commencing 2 November. If you have any news you would like to include in this briefing please email us.

Visionary Latest

Opportunity to be part of Team Visionary!
Our lovely Sarah Cosby is leaving us – I am sure that all of you will join us in thanking Sarah for everything she has done for Visionary members and wish her well. We are so sad that she is leaving, but excited to start our search for a Communications and Events Lead to join Team Visionary.

I would be grateful if you would share this information with your networks and contacts – and ask interested comms impresarios to get in touch! We are really nice to work with …

Communications and Events Lead (£36,500)
Visionary is a UK wide membership organisation for local independent charities that support blind and partially sighted people. We provide a wide range of support to enable our members to be the best they can be – visit our website for more details on what we do or ask one of our members!

All Visionary posts are UK-wide and full time. We are a home-based team with frequent travel and overnight stays (obviously not just now!)

You will be an experienced communicator, resilient, curious, open to change, creative and innovative – with an eye for detail.

Please note that this in not an entry level job – so, before applying please check your current experience in relation to what we are looking for. Read the full job description  Visionary_Communications_and_Events_Lead_JD_PS and to apply click here.

Closing Date: 9am Monday 2 November 2020
Interviews: 9 and 10 November 2020

We hope the successful candidate will be able to join our (virtual) annual flagship conference on 18/19/20 November for at least some of the time!

Good luck!

Visionary Online Annual Conference, 18 to 20 November 2020

You can now register for your place on the Visionary Annual Conference.

Visionary members (and this year also your staff, Trustees and volunteers) can attend for FREE! Book your place by 5 November 2020 to avoid disappointment as spaces on some workshops may be limited and are allocated on a first come, first serve basis. You can read the full conference programme and workshop choices here 2020 Conference Workshop choices.

Don’t forget to submit your entries for the Visionary annual awards!
Entry for the awards nominations closes 2 November 2020, 12pm midday so get your nominations in now.

How we are supporting you

Visionary Helpdesk
We can provide immediate advice and support via our Telephone Helpdesk on 020 8090 9264 or email

Visionary online
Connecting and developing you and your organisations through our programme of regular one-hour support sessions.

Thursday 15 October, 10am to 11am (fortnightly)
Opening services and the workplace as COVID-19 restrictions ease
Our regular, expert led, highly interactive forum exploring how to overcome barriers to opening services and your workplaces. Also visit the Visionary website for resources.

Monday 19 October, 1pm to 2pm (monthly)
Finance forum
The regular opportunity for all involved in the financial management and oversight in their organisations to simply connect, share and develop.

Tuesday 20 October, 10am to 11am (weekly)
CEO weekly support session
Our regular session for CEOs. Future sessions will be a mix of open sessions with no agenda. Currently in the pipeline:

  • Understanding the fundraising of the future
  • Partnership working at a local level
  • Public health discussion

Tuesday 20 October, 11am to 12pm (monthly)
Rehab forum
The regular opportunity for all delivering rehab services to connect and discuss challenges and real life practical solutions.

Thursday 5 November, 10.30am to 11.30am
Tech forum
This forum is our regular session designed to provide an informal space to share ideas and experiences of designing and delivering tech services. The forum is open to any Visionary member/staff and will be facilitated by Mark Owen and David Quarmby of Kirklees Visual Impairment Network.

Thursday 5 November, 12.30pm to 1.30pm (monthly)
Fundraisers forum
Aimed at fundraisers of all levels, this forum will provide fundraisers with a platform to collaborate and share ideas to benefit local sight loss organisations. The session will be facilitated by Sue Piper, Head of Fundraising at Kent Association for the Blind.

Tuesday 10 November, 4pm to 5pm (monthly)
Trustees forum
Whether you’re an experienced trustee or new to the role then please do consider joining this forum to connect, share and develop with trustees from across the Visionary network.

If you missed any of our previous sessions
You can read a summary of our previous sessions held since mid-September and access any available resources on the missed session’s page of the Visionary website.

A sector-wide approach

Welcoming Visionary Partners
Earlier this year, Visionary committed to stronger partnership working with organisations with a national remit supporting visually impaired people. We promoted our new membership offer for partners Visionary_Partnership_Benefits_FINAL_DESIGN.doc and actively sought partnership with organisations large and small, across our diverse sector. We wanted to ensure strong joint working and knowledge sharing across the sector. We hope that through these partnerships, Visionary members can develop an understanding of services and support available to the people you support. We are therefore delighted to share that the following organisations are all Visionary partners – welcome to the Visionary family!

See below for our first spotlight on our new partner, Glaucoma UK which includes details of how they can help the people you support. If you are interested in becoming a Visionary Partner, please contact us.

Launch of VI curriculum project
This joint project between RNIB, the professional association of the Vision Impairment Education Workforce, Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research at University of Birmingham, and Thomas Pocklington Trust, aims to establish a UK wide specialist VI curriculum framework for children and young people with vision impairment. This will sit alongside the academic curriculum which all children are entitled to and be accompanied by an online resource hub. You can find out more about the VI curriculum project and how to get involved on the Visionary website.

House of Lords debate on e-scooters
At the end of September there was a short debate in the House of Lords on a motion to take note of the regulations enabling e-scooter trials. The debate focused on pedestrian safety and the sudden and rapid scaling up of the trials. Guide Dogs briefed peers on their concerns with e-scooters, which resulted in a mention during the debate. Read the Guide Dogs briefing here – E_scooter_Lords_briefing_Guide_Dogs Lord Rosser (Lab) called the debate following a report in summer by the Lords secondary legislation scrutiny committee criticising the regulations.

Emergency Mental Health sessions available now from RNIB
Many blind and partially sighted people have faced anxiety, sadness and, even, fear about the unique challenges they have experienced since the pandemic reached the UK in March. RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice Service has worked with Mind, the mental health charity, to offer free emergency mental health sessions by BACP-registered counsellors with sight loss experience, over the phone, to give emotional support during these difficult times.

In an hour-long session, which will be on offer until June 2021, with a counsellor, there will be space to share feelings, explore coping strategies and any further support needs. The session will address some of the feelings created by the current situation including anxiety and distress and help you recognise that accepting you have these feelings is a positive step.

For those blind or partially sighted people who are struggling with their mental wellbeing and would benefit from a one-off session of support to deal with difficult feelings generated, or worsened, by the current situation then they can call RNIB on 0303 123 9999. For tips and advice on maintaining good mental health visit RNIB’s website for a number of resources.

#BlindAndAble campaign – Thomas Pocklington Trust
At the start of October, TPT released the first of five videos as part of their #BlindAndAble campaign. The videos aim to dispel myths to employers that blind and partially people cannot perform jobs as well as their sighted peers.

In the first video Martin Sigsworth demonstrates how, with the assistance of screen reader JAWS, he is able to create budgets and use spreadsheets. Watch the Blind and Able video here.

RNIB advice on wearing face coverings when you have sight loss
Many blind and partially sighted people have been concerned about wearing face coverings; they report that masks steam up their glasses or further reduce their vision. In order to help keep everyone safe and comfortable, RNIB has gathered top tips and recommendations from across the sight loss community for wearing face coverings when you have sight loss.

Segmentation study: request for people aged 75+
Guide Dogs, RNIB and Thomas Pocklington Trust are very grateful to Visionary members who have helped to spread the message about the current segmentation study promoted in the previous Visionary newsletter. The aim of the study is to listen to different sections of this broad audience in more detail and better define and understand their specific attitudes and needs with the research findings being published in early to mid-2021. The findings will be shared with Visionary and other partners in the eye health and sight loss sector to benefit local organisations in planning of services and as part of the wider evidence available to support business cases and funding bids.

The research team would now like to recruit more blind and partially sighted people aged 75 and over to the study to ensure there is good representation from that age group. It would be welcomed if Visionary members could continue to promote the segmentation to their members with a specific request for people aged 75 and over. Read this press release which can be used to provide detail about the research and how people can get involved – 85._Charities_call_for_participation_in_landmark_research_24082020. If you have any queries about this research please contact Phil Ambler.

It’s all about the money

Fundraisers should not be left to shoulder the financial burden of the pandemic on their own
Recouping the shortfall in income due to the pandemic has landed squarely on the shoulders of fundraisers, many of whom were already facing unrealistic targets and timeframes. With teams furloughed and familiar channels such as events and face to face entirely decimated, the challenge can be overwhelming. But fundraisers shouldn’t carry this burden alone trustee should also be involved. Read the full story about fundraisers not shouldering the financial burden of the pandemic here.

October is free wills month
Most UK charities depend on legacies and by taking part in the Free Wills Month campaign you can help make potential legacy givers aware of how to connect with your charity. Details are on the Free Wills month website.

New resources for charities on Gift Aid Awareness day
A coalition of voluntary organisations has released new resources to help charities claim Gift Aid amid warnings that the sector is being forced to do “much more with even less”. Charities can download posters and social media material from CFG’s website to promote claiming the tax relief on donations.

Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2020
Like all sectors, charities can be susceptible to fraud and cybercrime. Those providing vital services and support to local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic may be particularly vulnerable. All charities, even those with relatively small reserves to call upon, can take simple steps to boost resilience to fraud and cybercrime. In times like these, prevention really is better than cure. You can access a range of free resources from the charity fraud awareness hub.

Partner Spotlight

Glaucoma UK
Glaucoma UK is the charity for people with glaucoma. They provide information, support and advice to all those living with glaucoma in the UK, and everyone who cares for them.

Their activity spans three main pillars, working to prevent glaucoma sight loss. They:

  1. Campaign to raise awareness of glaucoma. There are currently 700,000 people in the UK who have glaucoma; half of these individuals don’t know they have it. They want to reach those people and help them get diagnosed.
  2. Help people with glaucoma to live well and stay well by providing support and information to them, their friends and family, and the professionals working with them. With the right support, most people with glaucoma won’t go blind and can retain useful sight.
  3. Fund vital research into the causes and prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.

How can Glaucoma UK help local sight loss organisations?
Glaucoma UK are here to provide support and advice. All of their services are available for professionals or others looking after those with glaucoma and they can:

  • Provide speakers for events about glaucoma or eye drops. This is currently being offered online, but would also normally be done face-to-face.
  • Help with running training sessions, for example on how to apply eye drops, so that you can help people to put in their eye drops.
  • They also have compliance boxes available, which contain all the devices available and some guidance information. These are available free of charge to charities and public sector organisations.

Read our full update from Glaucoma UK on the Visionary website. Contact the Glaucoma UK Helpline on 01233 648170 or email their Helpline.

Member Spotlight

Galloway’s reopen their Brew Me Sunshine café!
Did you know that Galloway’s run a community based cafe in Morecambe? Brew Me Sunshine is a social enterprise cafe that supports the community and raises funds. The cafe is now back open for business after being closed for 25 weeks! Read more about Galloway’s cafe here.

Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire volunteers nominated in Proud to Bee a Volunteer Awards
Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire is delighted that four of their volunteers have been shortlisted for prestigious regional awards in recognition of their longstanding support of local people with sight loss. Read more about the Proud to Bee a Volunteer Awards here.

Member vacancies
You can see all of the latest vacancies across our membership here.

HR and Health and Safety Matters

COVID-19 alert levels

It’s been all over the news so here are the official links to details of what restrictions are in place for the 3-tier system:

Wales, Scotland and Isle of Man
These nations have different restrictions, and for Wales and Scotland there are a range of different local lock down measures. Both Scotland and Wales administrations are reported to be making new announcements this week.

All UK nations
Regardless of what nation you are operating in the recommendation remains the same – “work from home where possible”. There is nothing, currently, stating that there is any need for services or offices to close. If you are opening an office or delivering services you must ensure that they are Covid Secure and Visionary can provide a range of support to assist members to operate in such a way. If you have any queries at all then please do contact us and consider coming to the Opening services and the workplace as COVID-19 restrictions ease session tomorrow (Thursday) at 10 am. Details above.

HR matters

Resources supporting mental health and wellbeing
How you can manage both your own mental health and wellbeing during difficult times and the wellbeing of others? Explore these wellbeing resources collated by The Kings Fund.

Furlough ends this month
Furlough (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) ends on 30 October. If you have any staff still on furlough then you need to plan to remove them from furlough from 1 November onwards. Replacing furlough is the Job Support Scheme and this factsheet explains what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim.

Remember that 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit/amend claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims. Details on final furlough claims here.

Check if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2021
Find out if you’re eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus and what you need to do to claim it. You will be able to claim it between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. Details on the Job Retention Bonus here.

1 hour of free HR advice for Visionary members delivered by Roots HR CIC
The service, provided by Roots HR CIC’s team of fully qualified and experienced chartered consultants, is offered from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank and public holidays). Visionary member organisations can arrange to use their 1 hour of free HR advice by phoning 01562 840060 or emailing Roots HR CIC.

Health and Safety matters

COVID-19: PPE information and instructions
The government have just updated the advice for those working in domiciliary care providing information on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). If you’re doing home visits and your risk assessment identifies the use of PPE then there are some useful diagrams and instructions in the guidance.

Legal Matters
File your Companies House accounts online to avoid delays
Companies house have reduced numbers in their offices following COVID-19 guidance and are encouraging people to file documents online.

Sharing the love

Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient Information event – 16 November 2020
Join this online Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) Patient Information Event event, jointly hosted by Esme’s Umbrella and University College London on 16 November 10am to 12.30pm. This event is to mark 5 years since the launch of Esme’s Umbrella and 300 years since the birth of Charles Bonnet. There will be updates on research results, on-going research and proposed research; new support initiatives for people living with CBS; and how awareness is rising globally. Click to register for the CBS Patient Information event here.

Royal Northern College (RNC)
RNC staff are holding a virtual parent open day and Young Visually Impaired persons fun Have-a-Go day on Saturday 24th October. The RNC are the leading College for young people aged 16-25 with a Visual Impairment in the UK, more information on all their provision can be found at on the RNC website. Free tech sector support for sight loss charities to help them embrace the ‘new normal’ and improve remote working for their teams.

Bursting the tech bubble
Is your team struggling to adapt to remote working? Wondering how it could work more effectively despite increased uncertainty? As 4Sight Vision Support CEO Nik Demetriades recently discovered, the tech industry can help. His daughter, Lauren Crichton, works in the tech sector, and in this article she explains how charities can benefit from applying tech ways of working to their teams. If you’re interested in receiving free content about this topic, fill in this short form.

Free webinars and events

In the know

Sport England launch Autumn and Winter Activity Toolkit
To help you inspire and motivate the people in your communities to continue to be physically active, Sport England have produced an Autumn and Winter Activity Toolkit that’s packed with resources and information. It brings together the latest advice and guidance as to what is and isn’t allowed and a range of assets to help your organisation engage with your audience. You can use the materials as they are or adapt them with local imagery and calls to action.

Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: interim report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act
The Unequal impact? Coronavirus, disability and access to services: interim Report on temporary provisions in the Coronavirus Act report looks at Care Act easement provisions and temporary Mental Health Act provisions as well as local authority duties to children and young people with special educational needs. It concludes that these provisions have the potential to substantially restrict or curtail rights that disabled people rely on for their quality of life.

This is what a charity CEO looks like
After her tweet about what a chief executive looks like went viral last week, Sarah Atkinson, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, reflects on what charity leaders should look like, and why it matters.

For trustees – “It’s a Battle on the Board”
Debra Allcock Tyler’s approach to the challenging subject of trusteeship is characteristically engaging in this new book. Mixing leadership theory with practical advice and real-life examples, she dispenses her wisdom straight from the shoulder.

Debra is delivering the key note address at the 2020 Visionary conference and also a leadership and development session for Visionary member Leaders/CEO’s.

Podcast: Does braille have a place in the modern world?
For National Braille Week and Blindness Awareness Month, Thomas Pocklington Trust’s episode of the Blind Spot podcast explores the question “Does Braille have a place in the modern world?”


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