Emergency NOISE Summer 2020       Corona Virus Update: 3rd September 2020

Dear Friend. We hope that you are keeping safe and well. We're aiming to update our website at least every fortnight, so please check back here for the latest news.

When will our offices re-open? We understand the extra difficulties during the current times. Safety is our main concern. All of our support is for people who are vulnerable, including some who are particularly so. Therefore, we need to take more care than many, if not most organisations. Our phone lines are now open part-time.

Our office remains closed. Please do not attend without an appointment. We have undertaken careful risk assessments and adjustments have been made. These help staff to work part-time on key tasks to ensure we can continue as much as possible of our important work now, and once we can re-open. We are finding ways to undertake some staff and volunteer development to help prepare for future re-opening and a new-look service

To keep everyone safe, we must limit the centre to staff and those with a specific appointment, and visitors should leave as soon as their appointment is completed. Thank you for your understanding.

When will our activities re-start? We share the desire of our clients to re-start activities. Many of our social groups have been a bustling hib of activities and we look forward to when we can once again enjoy sharing each other's company! As mentioned above, with all of our support being for people who are vulnerable, we must take extra care. In the meantime, many of our people are finding creative solutions! Please see the article below about Ponteland social group :)

Audio Books: We have a small selection which we can send to our clients. Most books are on CD, and there are also MP3 files and even a few on cassette. If you are interested, please contact Helen at NCBA (01670 514316). For MP3 files you will need to send her a USB stick to be copied on to. These can be obtained from Calibre, RNIB, or many shops.

Client Connect - A new name for our Telephone Contact Service 

Our fantastic team of volunteers (made up of individuals and groups, as well as volunteers from Lions, HealthWatch, Age UK, Alzheimers Society, and NCC) continues to to keep in contact with our vulnerable service users. Thank you as always to them all. Our new name reflects our desire to make our service more proactive, introducing more and better ways of keeping in touch with our clients throughout the year.

Volunteers are returning to work or other activities: About half of our phone service volunteers are not able to continue to give their time to calling our clients, though some are kindly continuing with a smaller number of clients. Please read further for an unusual impact of lockdown on just some of those volunteers! We are grateful for the valuable support of all volunteers, past and present, and wish them all well.

Would you like to be called? If you would like us to allocate a volunteer to call you, please let us know using the contact details in point 4 below and we will arrange this as soon as we can.

New volunteers:  We welcome volunteers who have recently joined our team. They are helping to ensure continuity of support for clients who have asked for this. We always need more volunteers, and would love to hear from you if you would like to join our phone service. Please use the contact details in point 4 below.

Some useful contacts are shown below:

  1. For emergency support, telephone the Local Authority on 01670 536400‚Äč

  2. For help with things like transport to your GP, essential shopping, etc., please call the Northumberland Community Response team on 01670 620015

  3. If your matter is not urgent and someone is already contacting you (e.g. as part of a group or you already have someone assigned to you) please contact them

  4. If you do not already have someone contacting you and would like us to arrange this, please phone NCBA (01670 514316) or email Barry Frost at barry.frost@ncba.org.uk. We have tried to call every single one of our clients we have a phone number for, so if you haven't heard from us it could be because we do not have your current contact details. Please do get in touch to let us know.

Please look after yourself and make sure you follow the Government Advice.

We will be back as soon as we are able to. From the Team at Northumberland County Blind Association

In the mean time, please check out the following:

Ponteland SocialEyes Group

In the summertime, Ponteland SocialEyes normally have an  outing for afternoon tea. Due to Covid 19, they decided to continue the tradition in a creative way. Ponteland Golf club kindly made afternoon teas for our volunteer to deliver. She reports that everyone was delighted, and they all looked well and in good spirits. 

Here we have Mrs Winifrede Douglas in the blue dress, and Mrs Alicia Rea receiving their food parcels. It looks like a scrummy Northumberland tea! Thanks to Ponteland Golf Club, and Ponteland SocialEyes :)

Meet Norman and Stella...

Norman is a 16-week old Retriever and Stella, a German Shepherd, is 19 months old. Both are being trained up to be Guide Dogs by a couple of our fab phone service volunteers. Normally, they'd only have one at a time, but due to the current situation are not yet able to hand over Stella. Apparently, Stella and Norman are well-behaved separately, but when they're together - well, that's a different matter! As you can imagine, our volunteers have their hands full. Good luck to them all ... and whoever is lucky enough to have them when they graduate to being Guide Dogs :) 

A very big 'Thank you' to Tynedale Lions!

 We received a cheque for £500 raised through this year's online Tynedale Beer Festival. Thank you to Lions, and to everyone who contributed or took part in this year's festival. Can't wait to meet everyone over a pint or three at next year's festival :)