NCBA    In-Sight on the Web       Update: 23rd November 2021

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

Too much scrolling? Please read on...

All our clients have a visual impairment. There are many conditions which lead to this, and while it often affects ability to access information on screen, many of our clients use technology to access websites and other electronic media.

We have found that it can be easier to present our home screen as largely a series of small items to scroll through, rather than have lots of things to click on scattered around the screen. We understand that there is not a 'one-size fits all', and welcome feedback. Please contact our homepage manager:

Something very special to celebrate!!

At a wonderful award ceremony at Alnwick Castle on 27th October, Her Grace The Duchess of Northumberland awarded us the Queens Award for Voluntary Service with Special Recognition for our work during Covid

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

Click on either photo to find out more about QAVS

Andrea (Governor) and Julie (Chief Officer)

And some more photos from the presentation...


We were limited to a handful of volunteers and Board members to represent us on the evening, but we are organising a special celebration event for all our wonderful volunteers.Watch this space!

We'll be at Hexham Christmas Market on Saturday, 11th December 2021, 9am-3pm

We will be selling homemade goods and would love to hear from you if you can donate something!

Click here to email Caroline who is co-ordinating our stall

... or click on the image to download a copy of the flyer

We are always looking for new volunteers to join our team

Application Form | Tipco Punch Inc.

How to Switch Email Services Easily & Keep All Your Mails, Contacts -  SiliconANGLE

We have a wide range of volunteering opportunities including Driving, Administration, Social Clubs, Telephone Befriending, Mailing, Reception, Activities, Cafe, Fundraising, events ... and more!  

To download an application form or to email a query to our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Michael, please click on the relevant image here, or call 01670 514316 

When will our social groups and other face to face activities re-start?

We share the desire of our clients to re-start our social groups and other activities which have been bustling hubs.

With all of our support being for people who are vulnerable, we must take extra care. Please keep checking the next article.

We have recently re-started our transport service. For more information, please phone us or click below to email:


Finding Social Clubs and Groups in Later Life: The Beginner's Guide | Mirthy
Sell Your Car The Motorway Way | Get Your Highest Offer

Latest re-start information for social groups

Bedlington Sensory Allotment Group: (Lucy Manning, 01670 512789). Have now re-started.

Ashington Blind Group: (Joyce Simm, 01670 855686). Starting in September. Awaiting to hear when access to hut is open

Ashington SocialEyes: (Margaret Waterston, 01670 515529). Up and running!

Craft Club, Morpeth: Joyce Simm (01670 855686). September. Date tbc

Hexham Luncheon Club: Existing members please contact the group leader for information

Women's Group (June, 01670 812053): No re-start date yet

Cramlington SocialEyes (Andrea, 07412 707575): Re-start 10th August

Alnwick SocialEyes (Margaret, 01665 714583): Hoping to have first club lunch on Friday, 12th November. Please call for details.

Insight Blyth  (Norma, 01670 734877): Renovations to centre underway. Re-start to be advised. 

Blyth SocialEyes (Jacqui, 01670 353944): Re-start date will be announced soon

Activities Group (June, 01670 862554): Re-started 25th August. New group members welcome.

Bedlington Sensory Group (Lucy Manning, 01670 512789): Re-start date to be advised

Ponteland SocialEyes (Please contact NCBA on 01670 514316 for the latest situation)

Prudhoe SocialEyes (Please contact NCBA on 01670 514316 for the latest situation)

Please keep checking here for updated information on these and other groups

A big 'Thank you' to Tynedale Lions!

It was great to see the Tynedale Beer Festival returning in full this year. We hope everyone enjoyed it and are already getting our glasses ready for next year! 

We are very grateful to the Lions who kindly chose us as one of the beneficiary charities. Here's Barry receiving a cheque for £2500 from Lions President Stephen Prandle. Thank you!

Click here to find out more about Tynedale Lions

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

And 'how about that?' with the marathon medal...?

Did you hear? Global's Make Some Noise Day is back!

We were so pleased to see that the obverse side of the marathon medal features a message in braille. It reads: "We run together"

Please click on the image to donate!

Thank you

A warm welcome to Dan English, newest member of our Sensory Energy Advice team

Sport for Schools- Athlete: Dan English - St. Patrick's Catholic Primary  School

Dan comes from a background in sports performing for around 18 years. He has represented England and GB in blind football, travelling around the world and playing in some of the biggest competitions such as London 2012. 

Dan is a major Harry Potter fan and loves a good book to read. Alongside supporting NCBA clients, Dan is studying Psychology with Counselling at the university of Sunderland. 

Click here to email Dan

We are looking for two Development Officers for our "Seeing it your way" Project

Sport for Schools- Athlete: Dan English - St. Patrick's Catholic Primary  School

Successful candidates will play a key role in further developing our wide-ranging provision for visually impaired people.

Through a range of strategies and working with partners, they will enhance social opportunities; improve health, safety and wellbeing; maximise independence; and help clients to stay active within their communities

For more information, please click on the image here

We are looking for an Administrative Officer

Sport for Schools- Athlete: Dan English - St. Patrick's Catholic Primary  School

For more information, please click on the image here

NCBA Information and Equipment Day

Tuesday, 19th October

Smartphones and tablets for people with sight loss | Synapptic

Thank you to everyone who braved a wet and windy day to join us for our open day.

It was a great opportunity to get first-hand help and advice from representatives of organisations supporting Visual Impairment.

Clients were "amazed at the equipment on offer", described it as "life-changing", and one even said she "would be buying the contents of the stall"! 

Thanks to Helen Wade, and to all who helped make this a special day! 

Click on the organisation logos here to find out more about them.

go to home page
Deafblind-enablement logo
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, The | Charities | Law Gazette
Citizens Advice home
BID Services
Ponteland Ageing Well | Promoting Activities For The Elderly in Ponteland |  Find Activites in Ponteland

We'll be at Carers Northumberland's Carer's Rights Day on Thursday, 25th November 2021, 1pm-4pm

Carers Northumberland


The event is mainly aimed at unpaid carers. Most are adults caring for their relatives/friends. 

Exhibitors include Age UK, Citizen’s Advice, the Fire Service, PALS, and Alzheimer’s Society. 

The event has both morning and afternoon events. We will be there from 1pm to focus on information and equipment which might be useful for those caring for people who have a visual impairment.

For more information about Carers Northumberland, and to book for the Carers Rights Day, please click on the relevant image here.

Have you tried Tynedale Talking Newspaper?

Tynedale Talking Newspaper is a useful local audio news feature.

You can access the website by clicking on the image here:

Can you please help with a survey of museum audio descriptions?

One of our Client Connect volunteers has shared a project which aims to learn about  alternatives to the traditional audio descriptive narrations in museums

To take part, please click on the image here. It takes about twenty minutes to complete, and you will need headphones. Thank you!

Best WordPress Survey Plugins in 2020: 12 Options Compared | SurveyMonkey

Latest edition of our in-Sight newsletter

The 2020/2021 Lockdown Newsletters - VMCC Dorset Section

This is our second edition of in-Sight (we changed the name from Noise to better reflect our focus).

Click on the link below or the image here to download the latest edition.

Click here for latest in-Sight

Click here to access other newsletters

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

Audio Recording, Available Online | Library of Congress

Please note that as our transcription service is part-time, it usually takes a week or so after we publish the hard copy for the audio file to be uploaded.

Click here for the latest audio version of in-Sight

NCBA Client Connect

Our Client Connect service is one of our main ways we keep in touch with our clients.

The service depends on our volunteer phone befrienders, many of whom are visually impaired themselves. 

Please all 01670 514316 or email

Fuel Energy 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 (

3 Expert Ways to Improve Fuel Savings

Our new 'Chatterbox Cafe' is open!!

Chatterbox is now open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am to noon at Reiver House, Morpeth. All welcome!

Please telephone 01670 514316

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

Our office is now open to booked appointments. 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.

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!

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?

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

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:   

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 |

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 (

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: 


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

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

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 

    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: (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. 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: Support - Sept 2020 Lions Newssheet.pdf

For more information on Vision Support, including how to contact them, please visit their website:

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: October 2020.pdf

For more information on Healthwatch Northumberland, including how to contact them, please visit their website:

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.