Winter 2022 Newsletter
Welcome to the 48th edition of KAB’s Eye Opener, and the 27th Issue of the Online Eye Opener!
KAB and Guide Dogs met in a friendly tenpin bowling match on Wednesday the 2nd of November.
Everybody had great fun!
|Message from our Acting Chair
Ding dong! This is the KAB chairman’s Christmas message. Kevin, KAB’s Acting chair, sends you all Christmas greetings and best wishes for the season.
Last night I was visited by 3 Christmas spirits…
The first was the spirit of KAB Christmas past….
He showed me lots of people with sad faces sitting in dark, cold rooms with unlit fires. These were the blind and visually impaired (VI) people in the borough of Kingston who had no places to meet, no friends to talk to who understood what their lives were like, and they couldn’t do the activities other people enjoyed like socialising and sports. I could see them finding it difficult to cope with everyday chores like cooking and dealing with bills within the home and even more so outside the home when travelling and shopping. I could see them struggling to find places like restaurants and shops, reading menus, locating what they needed in shops, and identifying toilets. The people around them didn’t appear to understand so didn’t help, there seemed to be so many obstacles to leading fulfilled lives. Many seemed to be struggling financially so didn’t appear to receive financial support as they didn’t know what they were entitled to get or if they did, how to get it.
The second was the spirit of KAB Christmas present….
The Spirit pointed to a booklet explaining KAB had been set up in 1966. He showed me KAB’s one member of staff, in a small office in a beautiful, accessible building its office is located in. I could see lots of happy people chatting over lunch, doing quizzes, sharing their life’s experiences, giving support to each other. I could see people enjoying lots of different activities like bowls, cycling, swimming and football. I could see a volunteer Eye Buddy helping someone read their post and fill in forms. I could see groups of VIs going on outings to the seaside, vineyards, and meeting animals at the zoo. I can see there are some wonderful volunteers, but I noticed that more are needed to spread the workload. I can see the money and that KAB had been enjoying regular funding from GLFB/Vision Foundation, but this has now stopped so KAB are working hard to secure sufficient new funding.
The final Spirit took me to see what KAB’s future could be ….
I can see KAB has a new manager called Antony, in KAB’s own premises with office space, consultation and activity rooms. He is supported by a team of experienced and qualified staff. I can see some of them are VI themselves and are looking happy from the buzz they get from using their skills and personal experience to help others. A wider range of activities are available and are led by activity leaders supported by lots of volunteers. I can see the charity working in partnership with various organisations, like the NHS, council, and other voluntary organisations so people receive all the support they need from when they experience their sight loss. Together they have reduced sight loss in the borough, as people are more aware about eye health. I can see the VIs now include the whole range of ages and all local ethnic groups. I can see everyone is getting the support they are entitled to. The whole borough is now fully accessible to VI people. KAB is now fully funded not just by grants but as members share their experiences and the impact KAB makes to their quality of life, with family, friends, and the whole community via word of mouth and social media, as a result KAB is secure and receives regular donations and legacies. I can see the whole VI community is leading happy, fulfilled lives.
Welcome to our new CEO
In October Antony Bewick-Smith joined KAB as its new Chief Executive. Antony has a lifetime of experience in leading charities; he was a senior manager at Ealing Community and Voluntary Service and Voluntary Action Islington - organisations similar to Kingston Voluntary Action - supporting mainly local health and social care organisations. He also worked as a senior manager at Sense (The Deafblind and Rubella Charity) in Norbiton. He welcomes his return to the Borough of Kingston and looks forward to meeting you all and taking KAB through its next phase of development.
Message from KAB’s new Marketing and Communications Manager
I hope this letter finds you well.
My name is Nachi Picas and I would like to introduce myself as I started working as the Marketing and Communications officer since last week. My role consists of being in charge of the digital communications with members such as sending the Eye Opener, as well as making sure that the website is accessible to screen readers and it is up to date with the events that are currently going on at KAB.
My role started last Monday. If you have any questions about anything, please do feel free to contact me at my email address firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 02086050060.
News for our Members
Office Hours: 9am - 4pm.
KAB Office Telephone Number: 02086050060.
KAB Activities Weeks 17 November to 30 November
Thursday, 17 November, 10am to 12pm, Indoor Bowls, King George Field Indoor Bowls Club, Chessington.
Thursday, 17 November, 7pm to 8pm, Visually Impaired Swimming, New Malden Leisure Centre, New Malden.
Saturday, 19 November, 10:30am to 11:30am, Visually Impaired Football, Motspur Park, New Malden.
Saturday, 19 November, 6pm to 6:30pm, Visually Impaired Swimming Lessons, New Malden Leisure Centre, New Malden.
Monday, 21 November, 11am to 1pm, Tenpin Bowling, Hollywood Bowl, Tolworth.
Monday, 21 November, 2pm to 2:45pm, Tandem Cycling, Weir Athletics Track, Kingston.
Tuesday, 22 November, 6:30pm to 9pm, South London Working Age Forum Quiz, Sutton Vision, Sutton.
Thursday, 24 November, 10am to 12pm, Indoor Bowls, King George Field Indoor Bowls Club, Chessington.
Thursday, 24 November, 7pm to 8pm, Visually Impaired Swimming, New Malden Leisure Centre, New Malden.
Thursday, 24 November, 12:30pm to 3pm, Lunch Club, Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingston Upon Thames.
Saturday, 26 November, 6pm to 6:30pm, Visually Impaired Swimming Lessons, New Malden Leisure Centre, New Malden.
Saturday, 26 November, 10:30am to 11:30am, Visually Impaired Football, Motspur Park, New Malden.
Monday, 28 November, 10am to 4pm Living Well with Sight Loss Course, Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingston Upon Thames.
Monday, 28 November, 11am to 1pm, Tenpin Bowling, Hollywood Bowl, Tolworth.
Monday, 28 November, 2pm to 2:45pm, Tandem Cycling, Weir Athletics Track, Kingston.
Monday, 28 November, 10am to 4pm Living Well with Sight Loss Course, Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingston Upon Thames.
Tuesday, 29 November, 1:30pm to 3:30pm, Social Eyes, Kingston Quaker Centre, Kingston upon Thames.
Wednesday, 30 November, 6pm to 8pm, Tenpin Bowling, Rotunda Centre, Kingston upon Thames.
KAB Christmas Lunch
KAB is pleased to invite all our members and volunteers to our Christmas Lunch which will take place on Tuesday 13 December at 12:30pm at the Berrylands Pub at 107 Chiltern Drive, Surbiton KT5 8LS.
Costs will be £10 per person.
Please call the Office to secure your place.
Working Age Forum November Meeting
The November Meeting will be hosted by Sutton Vision on Tuesday the 22nd of November 2022.
They are planning to have a quiz evening again. If you wish to join the KAB Team for the evening, please call Mariza at the Office at 02086050060 to secure your spot.
The venue is at Sutton Vision, Ground Floor, 3 Robin Hood Ln, Sutton SM1 2SW.
Living Well with Sight Loss Course
Have you been recently diagnosed with sight-loss or are you experiencing significantly higher levels of sight-loss than before?
Then you will benefit from attending KAB’s upcoming Living Well with Sight Loss Course. The Course is scheduled for the 28th and the 29th of November at the Kingston Quaker Centre.
Please call the Office at 02086050060 to book.
Let’s Go Swimming!
KAB is pleased to announce that, in conjunction with the Spartans club, swimming is now available every Thursday evening at the New Malden Leisure Centre, Blagdon Road, New Malden, KT3 4TA, between 7pm and 8pm. The pool will be closed to the general public during this hour and is therefore for the exclusive use of people with disabilities. You can arrive before 7pm, so that you have time to get changed before the session starts and can swim right up to 8pm if wanted and then change after that. There are disabled parking spaces near the entrance, disabled toilets, changing rooms and showers, next to the pool, all of which are accessible. As this is a joint venture, members will have to sign up to the Spartans club and unlike our other activities, there will be a £2 fee payable to Spartans each night. Before you attend for the first time, there is a form which needs to be completed and then signed by your GP to confirm you are safe to swim and this can be obtained from the KAB office.
In addition, KAB is now offering one-on-one swimming lessons on Saturday evenings from 6pm to 6:30pm also at the New Malden Leisure Centre. If you wish to learn to swim or regain your confidence in water after sight-loss, please call the Office at 02086050060 to book a spot.
KAB Concession Policy
In recognition of the high cost-of-living experienced by many members of the Kingston Association for the Blind currently, the Board of Trustees of KAB has instituted a concessions policy. Members of KAB who are in financial distress can apply for a concession which will exempt them from paying the £5 fee normally paid at all KAB activities.
For more information, or to request an application form, please call Mariza at the office at 02086050060.
The winter fuel payment, also referred to as a “heating allowance”, is an annual tax-free payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for older people.
The Winter Fuel Payment
Anyone who is eligible can receive £100-£300 each year. This year, the Government will give about eight million pensioners an extra £300, which is called the pensioner cost of living payment, to help with rising costs.
Here is everything you need to know about it:
Who qualifies for the winter fuel payment?
The winter fuel payment will be made available for households that include someone born on or before 25 September 1956.
You must also live in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19-25 September 2022.
If you do not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both the following apply:
You cannot get the payment if you live in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain because the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest region of the UK.
- You live in Switzerland or a European Economic Area (EEA) country;
- You have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK and having family in the UK.
Is it paid to individuals or households?
The payment is made to individuals, rather than households. However, people will receive less money if they live with someone who also qualifies.
Do I need to apply for the payment?
You don’t typically have to apply for the winter fuel payment if you are eligible. You should receive the money automatically.
If you have not had the payment before, you will need to claim if any of the following apply:
You can claim winter fuel payment by phone or by post. Call 0800 731 0160 (+44 191 218 7777 from outside the UK) or find the claim form here. (www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-fuel-payment-claim-form)
- You do not get benefits or a state pension;
- You only get housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or universal credit;
- You get benefits or a state pension but live in Switzerland or an EEA country;
- You get an adult disability payment from the Scottish Government.
Before you call, you will need to know your:
Claims will be accepted until 31 March 2023.
- national insurance number;
- bank or building society details;
- BIC and IBAN numbers if you live in an EEA country or Switzerland;
- date you were married or entered into a civil partnership (if appropriate).
How much will I get?
The amount you will get depends on when you were born, your living situation and the type of benefits you receive. Those benefits that can affect your payment are:
When will it be paid?
- Pension credit;
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA);
- Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA);
- Income support.
When he was chancellor, Rishi Sunak promised in the House of Commons that the winter fuel payment would be with pensioners by autumn 2022.
You will get a letter telling you how much you’ll get and an estimated payment date. You should be paid by 13 January 2023 at the very latest.
Big Give Christmas Challenge
KAB is pleased to advise that we are taking part in this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge. If you donate to us through the Big Give platform from 2pm on the 29th of November to 2pm on the 6th of December, your donation will be matched by our pledge partners through the Big Give Christmas Challenge.
Co-Op Charity of the Year
And another reminder: KAB is one of the three Local Charities of the Year of the Co-Op. For us to get the highest benefit from this, all our members with Co-Op cards can select KAB as their favourite charity. You can do so by either calling 08000234708, choosing option one and asking for help in choosing your favourite charity, or doing so through the Co-op App which can be found by following this link: tinyurl.com/download-co-op-app.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year from Everybody at KAB!