Emergency NOISE       Corona Virus Update: 30th July 2021

We aim to update our website at least every fortnight, so please check back here for the latest news.

Something very special to celebrate!!

We have been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service!

This is a credit to ALL our volunteers, both before and during the pandemic. Thank you all!!!

Click here to find out more.

Andrea (Governor) and Julie (Chief Officer)

A fond farewell and good luck to Susan!

Susan is retiring after six years, mainly co-ordinating our volunteers, and leading on several successful community events.

Susan says: “After thinking I would never work again with my brain injury and sight loss, NCBA took me on and gave me a job I loved. I will find it incredibly difficult to walk away but after 6 wonderful, memorable years, I retire with friends for life.”

flower | Definition, Anatomy, Physiology, & Facts | Britannica

Latest edition of in-Sight, our new Client Newsletter

The 2020/2021 Lockdown Newsletters - VMCC Dorset Section

We've changed the name from Noise to in-Sight to better reflect our focus.

Click on the link below to download a printed version of our latest edition.

Click here for latest in-Sight

Click here to access other newsletter

And if you'd prefer an audio version of in-Sight, our new Client Newsletter, click on the link below to download this!

Audio Recording, Available Online | Library of Congress

Click on the link below to download our latest audio file.

Click here for an audio version of our latest in-Sight

Can you sponsor a member of our team, who is running the 2021 London Marathon for NCBA?

Our Projects Co-ordinator, Barry, is running the 26 mile course in London on October 3rd, 2021 to raise funds to help us continue our important work. 

If you'd like to know more. please click on the image of Barry to contact him. Thank you!

Virgin Money London Marathon Logo
flower | Definition, Anatomy, Physiology, & Facts | Britannica

Why you should get out of your comfort zone! According to Alpha Gamma  Solutions - Alpha Gamma

View from our garden, which will shortly be going through something of a transformation!

We look forward to meeting together again soon.

We will let you know when we feel it is safe to do so.

We look forward to sharing a cuppa and a chat.

Thank you for your patience!

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 service development to help prepare for future re-opening and a new-look NCBA! 

Lockdown easing

As lockdown measures ease, please continue to take care and keep safe

The government announced lifting of some restrictions from 17th May.

Click here to find out more

Vacancy at NCBA: Energy Project Team

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with relevant experience of providing advice and information. Full training will be given to deliver the sensory equipment element.

We are still looking for the right person for this important post.

Click here to find out more

Some useful apps to explore:

 Click on the image or text to find out more

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is a free app that can connect low sighted or blind with sighted volunteers! They offer visual assistance through a live video call, whenever they may need assistance.


TapTapSee is an app that helps people with a VI. It uses your camera and voice over functions to take a picture or video of anything and identify it and read out loud.

Envision AI

Envision AI offers a range of visual aid for the blind and partially sighted users. It helps read out loud many items such as handwritten notes, a cereal box or a book you’ve always wanted to read. It also comes with 60 languages!

Replacing Guide Dogs with Robots????

Click on the top image to the right to access Guide Dogs UK

Click on the lower image to see some unusual research at the University of California into robot Guide Dogs (including a visually impaired lady who has trained her own) 

A brand new Eye Hospital in the North East!

New £36m Sunderland eye hospital set to bring 'world class' treatment to  North East patients - Chronicle Live

An exciting new development is happening in Sunderland that will serve the whole North East

Click on the image here to find out more!

After reading the plans, please click here to take part in a short survey to give your views

Coronavirus: Always check latest Government Advice

Click on the image to the right for the latest advice

A full schedule of vaccinations is available at the following link:

Priority Groups for Vaccination

Click here for some useful advice from Healthwatch Northumberland :

Government News and Advice - COVID-19
Healthwatch Northumberland

When will our offices re-open for normal activities?

Keeping Safe Week begins | St Edmund's Catholic Primary School

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.

We understand the extra difficulties during the current times.

Safety is our main concern. As all of our support is for people who are vulnerable, including some who are particularly so, we need to take more care than many organisations.

Our phone lines (01670 514316) are open part-time. Please leave a short message and your number and we will call you back.

Our new Facebook and Twitter pages are up and running!

If you have any ideas about what you would like to be added to our pages please contact:


Both sites will get weekly updates (if we can!)

Click the images to the left to be taken straight to our pages.

Could you help as a Sports and Activities co-ordinator?

Garscadden Burn Medical Practice - Feel Good Get Active

Guide - Runner Bibs & Tethers – Metro Blind Sport

Last year we started a new venture designed to support people with a Visual Impairment who wished to take part in a range of activities.

After several months planning for country walks, tennis, boccia, etc., our first events were due to take place last Spring... in fact, the very week lockdown started! 

We're really keen to re-kindle our programme, but need a new co-ordinator as our previous one is busy on other tasks! If you think you can help, please email:



NCBA can provide resources such as magnifiers, readers, radios and even technology like smart speakers.

For other items, for example canes and tips (e.g. white balls) please contact one of our sister organisations. 

RNIB can be contacted on 0303 123 9999. Alternatively, here is a link to the

RNIB online shop

(For canes, tips, etc. click on the Health and Mobility tab)

Legally blind: What does it mean?

When will our face to face activities re-start?

We share the desire of our clients to re-start activities. Our social groups and other activities have been bustling hubs and we look forward to when we can once again enjoying your company!

With all of our support being for people who are vulnerable, we must take extra care and therefore most face to face activities are on hold. 

However, many of our people are finding creative solutions! Please see the article below about Ponteland social group

Finding Social Clubs and Groups in Later Life: The Beginner's Guide | Mirthy

We are here for all of our clients, and will do our best to support you in anyway we can during and beyond this difficult time. If you need us, or know someone who does, please contact us.


These provide a crucial lifeline to us. Click on the image to go to our  Donations page.

Alternatively, please just use our bank details below, and include 'Donation' in your reference. Thank you. 


Sort Code 77-20-37

Account 03625260

Leaving money to charity in your will - Saga

Census 2021

The Census Support Service at NCBA is now closed.

However, support is still available via the ONS Contact Centre until the end of June on 0800 141 2021

Thank you to everyone who helped provide support to clients in completing their online survey. 

Jo Farrow: Condor Counselling | Bark Profile and Reviews

Courses and groups with Northumbria Healthcare

Please click on the NHS logo (right) to access the new catalogue of courses being held in 2021/22.

This free training is delivered by the Integrated Wellbeing Service to those who live or work in Northumberland 

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Have you tried these Northumberland Libraries services?

A pile of books

Borrow Box gives access lots of library resources, including audio books, E-books, journals, etc.. If you are already a member of a local library and know your PIN: Click on the BorrowBox image (left) to join.

If you are already a member, but don't know your PIN: Telephone any Northumberland library, or email:


If you are not already a member: You can join online and get access straight away using a temporary membership number and PIN at:


For 'Select and Collect' Service, click on the books image (left).

Lockdown Entertainment from Livewires Theatre

Drama Films

You can access audio recordings of sketches, monologues, poems and short stories through Zoom. Simply...


Winter Food and Fuel Support

Are you a client struggling with the cost of living and require support and assistance over the winter months? If so, we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help. Please contact us on 01670 514316 and mention "Winter food and fuel support". 

7 strategies to fight winter breathing problems - Harvard Health

Calling all counsellors

RNIB accredits counsellors who have completed a RNIB training course and have committed to a developmental plan that enables blind and partially sight people to access their counselling services.

Contact Maria Bulgakova (Accreditation Officer) for more info 

Jo Farrow: Condor Counselling | Bark Profile and Reviews

The new Northumberland Recovery College

A Recovery College provides opportunities and support to help you better manage your own wellbeing.

Click on the image here to find learning, mutual support, and activities, at a pace that is right for you.

Northumberland Communities Together: 01670 620015

NCT are here to help keep you safe and well, if you or anyone you know need a bit of extra support...

  • Perhaps your financial circumstances have changed with reduced hours, redundancy or benefit

  • Worried about winter bills or financial pressures? We work with Citizens Advice Northumberland to connect and support families

  • Feeling lonely, overwhelmed or struggling with mental health

  • If you do need food or medicine, please order it online or by phone or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home.

  • Worried about someone experiencing domestic abuse or concerned about a neighbour.

Technology Project

Smart Speakers Grow As A Pandemic-Era Staple. | Story | insideradio.com

We have secured funding for smart speakers, tablets and over-the-phone technical training and support for our clients who already have internet access and a smart phone.

Please contact Ruth Speirs (ruth.speirs@ncba.org.uk)

RNIB Connect Radio: Online and Freeview Channel 730

Radio Stock Photos And Images - 123RF

This is a fantastic radio station aimed at people with a visual impairment.

You can listen to it by tuning in to Freeview Channel 730 or online at: 


Fuel Project

We can provide information to clients about reducing fuel costs and managing energy use, as well as on low vision equipment and technology to assist you when using energy.

Please contact Caroline Armstrong (caroline.armstrong@ncba.org.uk)

3 Expert Ways to Improve Fuel Savings

TV Licence Concession

Many clients have asked how they can get their registration number to apply for their discount. Please be aware that we do not have copies of your CVI or BD8 certificate. Your registration number will be issued by Northumberland County Council and you should have been issued with a card. Information about your CVI is usually held on your GP records, so you could request a copy of this.

Turn off the TV, Mom and Dad! - ChildrensMD

Tynedale Beer Festival, 3rd-5th September 2021

We're so pleased to hear that this year's festival has been confirmed! Details can be found at: 


Last year we received a cheque for £500 raised through the online festival. Thank you to Lions, and to everyone who contributed or took part in this year's festival. We are pleased to know we have been chosen as a charity for the 2021 festival :)


An appeal for used low-vision equipment! 

Do you have any equipment which is no longer needed? This includes devices which assist people with low-vision, such as talking scales, big button phones and clocks, etc.. We can find a home for all these, and are particularly in need of magnifiers. Please contact Helen on 01670 514316. Thank you!  

Magnifying glass Royalty Free Vector Image - VectorStock

NCBA Autumn Client Survey

A Big THANK YOU all clients and their helpers who completed and returned our Autumn Client Survey. Just under half of those sent have been received!!

If you haven't returned your survey and would like us to send another, please call us!

Survey Results

Audio Books

We have a small selection which we can send 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 Helen a USB stick to be copied on to. These can be obtained from Calibre, RNIB, or many shops.

Audio No You Didn't! 5 Helpful Resources for Russian Audiobooks to Dial Up  Your Learning | FluentU Russian


We received lottery funding to purchase boxes for 557 of our clients, to send some cheer to our VIP clients and friends during this difficult covid period. Many of our clients live alone, and covid has caused so much isolation and anxiety.

We have been overwhelmed by thank you cards and messages, lots of people telling us things like: 

“its glad to know someone cares”; “it brought a tear to my eye”

"I am 97 and live alone, this meant so much knowing someone is there for me.”

Our boxes took much hard work from our wonderful staff, so a BIG thank you to them!

If you can donate to help us reach more people then please see on this page how to donate. Thank you. Julie Boyack, Chief Officer

Here's Susan just before we sent the boxes out, and a small sample of some of the lovely cards and messages we've received. We are so pleased these boxes have brought some cheer to members of our community!

Client Connect - A new name for our Telephone Contact and Befriending 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.

We welcome new volunteers to our service, and are always looking for more! 

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.

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Greggs Foundation for awarding us a grant to continue to deliver our much needed Client Connect service. Thanks to them we can continue to bring some comfort to our clients through our much valued volunteers, connecting with people and making life a little easier during this pandemic and beyond. 

Some useful contacts are shown below:

  1. For emergency support, telephone the Local Authority One Call service on 01670 536400

  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.

  5. If you are blind or partially sighted and are struggling with your mental wellbeing (or you know someone who is) and would benefit from a one-off session of support to deal with difficult feelings generated, or worsened, by the current situation then please call RNIB on 0303 123 9999. For tips, advice and resources to support maintaining good mental health. Click here to visit RNIB's website 

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

Amazon Smile: Do you shop on Amazon? Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to NCBA if you click on this link first:  https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1102386-0 (type into your browser). And that’s it! Shop as normal. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know – same products, same prices, same service. You can be donating to us without it costing you a penny. Thank you!

Join our NCBA 100 Club!

for a chance every month to win:

£25 First Prize

£15 Second Prize

£10 Third Prize

Call Ruth on 01670 514316 to enter a draw to win one of these prizes* every month whilst supporting us?

*Shares can be purchased for an annual fee of £12.  Total share money received by January 31st 2021 will be split 50/50 between prize money and support for the services run by NCBA - prize money is therefore subject to total funds raised. Click below to download an application form, or call Ruth at NCBA.

http://www.ncba.org.uk/site/assets/uploads/1.100 Club Application Form.docx

We are pleased to say that we have been officially approved as a Disability Confident Employer until 2023!

A couple of really useful newsletters from two of our sister organisations

Vision Support are a charity that does many similar things to NCBA, but in the Chester and North Wales area. They've also been working with some of the amazing partner organisations like Lions, to provide services similar to our Client Connect. Vision Support published a really useful newsletter last month and have kindly let us share it with you here:

http://www.ncba.org.uk/site/assets/uploads/Vision Support - Sept 2020 Lions Newssheet.pdf

For more information on Vision Support, including how to contact them, please visit their website: http://visionsupport.org.uk/

Healthwatch Northumberland provide a wide range of services to support people who use Health and Social Care services. They've kindly been helping us out with our Client Connect service, and were particularly amazing at contacting clients we'd been unable to make contact with. Their latest newsletter is available via the following link:

http://www.ncba.org.uk/site/assets/uploads/Newsletter October 2020.pdf

For more information on Healthwatch Northumberland, including how to contact them, please visit their website: https://healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk/

Tynedale Talking Newspaper is a useful local audio news feature. You can access the website using the following link, or clicking on the image here:

 Tynedale Talking Newspaper

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 :) 

Find out about our projects

Our projects

We work closely with many partners and continue to provide many services thanks to their support. Thank you!

One example was the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund. From 2013-18, NCBA received £495,924 which helped fund our voluntary services and further develop our information service. Find out more about how we put our funding to good use, with our Key Communications project.

Access our resources

Access our resources

Our Resource Centre has a wide range of low-vision aids and other equipment for demonstration, some of which can be given out on loan.
Our facilities include a specially-adapted kitchen suitable for rehabilitation use for teaching kitchen skills to visually-impaired people. 

Get Involved

Get Involved

Volunteering for NCBA is a very rewarding experience, knowing you are making a real difference in supporting blind or partially-sighted people living in Northumberland.
You will be supported by our experienced Volunteer Co-ordinator, who will ensure that you are comfortable with your commitment.

Latest News More News

The Joiners Arms in Morpeth have named NCBA as their Charity of the Year for 2020.

Our thanks go to Grant and all his staff and customers.