Calendar of events

Text Alerts

Would you like to be reminded by text of the activities you have signed up for? If so, please contact the office and ask about our new text alert scheme.

Active 60 Narrowboat trip

On Thursday 23 May. Come along and join us on the Trebalisa fully accessible narrowboat for a leisurely cruise along the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal to Wightwick and Smestow Valley nature reserve with a fish and chip lunch on board. Find out more about our Active 60 trip here.

Aqua Fit sessions at the Portway Lifestyle Centre – Mondays from 10.30am to 11.30am 

Working in partnership with Sense, we are pleased to tell you about SVI’s new and exciting Aqua Fit sessions.  Water-based exercise can help keep you fit and active without putting too much strain on your body.  We held Aqua Fit sessions some years ago which were very popular, so don’t delay, call us now if you want a place – there is a fee of £2.50 per session to help keep this programme running beyond the Sense funding.

Fitness Yoga – Mondays 12.15pm to 1pm

After limbering up with Aqua Fit, you could finish off your exercise session with some yoga. Portway deliver a fully inclusive yoga class on Monday afternoons from 12.15pm to 1.00pm and these classes will be free for those holding a Portway Pass. If you live outside of Sandwell and purchase a concessionary pass the class is discounted by 50%.

Tone up Tuesday and Thursday gym sessions

Spring’s a great time to get fitter. Why not join us at the Portway Lifestyle Centre for ‘Tone up Tuesdays’ and take part in spin, gym, body pump and VI archery sessions – all with the help and support of our great buddies.

  • Spin ‑ Coach by Colour, work out as you peddle your exercise bike to the beat of the music as you are prompted by the coach to change resistance and speed. The session is timetabled at Portway - 9.30am to 10.15am
  • Gym – 10am to12noon buddy support will be on hand to help you safely get the best out of Portway’s gym equipment like the treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machines and weights.
  • Body pump ‑ a dumbbell weighted workout to music.  Session starts at 12.15 pm for a 45 minute class and these classes will be free for those holding a Portway Pass. If you live outside of Sandwell and purchase a concessionary pass the class is discounted by 50%.
  • VI archery ‑ bring out the Robin Hood in your soul as you test your skills with a bow and arrow. Join us from 1.00pm to 2.00 pm. There is a £2.50 fee per session for this activity to help cover costs of our archery instructor.

Can’t do a Tuesday morning or want to work out on Thursdays as well, then join our sessions at Portway on Thursday afternoons from 2.00pm to 4.00pm in the gym and spin from 2.00pm to 2.45pm (subject to availability)

Many of our activities at Portway are free at certain times of the day for visually impaired Sandwell residents who are Fair Access to Care eligible, are in receipt of a disability benefit such as DLA, PIP or Attendance Allowance or if you wish to attend the gym out of these periods then concessionary cards can be purchased to give a discount on classes.  If you live outside of Sandwell you are very welcome to join us but fees will apply.

Swimming and water confidence

Fancy a dip?  Absolute beginners and confident swimmers can come along to SVI’s swim buddy supported sessions at the West Bromwich Leisure Centre every Wednesday from 3pm to 4pm.  We have free use of the teaching pool, which we use at a depth of 1.2 metres so is good for swimming as well as learning and relaxation.  During this disabled swimming period you can enjoy the pool with complete confidence and you can use the large pool if you feel happy to swim alongside the general public.

Note: swimming is free for visually impaired residents of Sandwell in all pools across the Borough but SVI are only able to offer buddy support at the West Bromwich Leisure Centre pool at this time on a Wednesday.

If you are a visually impaired SVI member living outside of Sandwell, you are welcome to join us for our swimming sessions but charges will apply.

Weigh to Go - Wednesdays

Drop in or come to one of our Wednesday activities at West Bromwich Town Hall and take part in ‘Weigh in Wednesdays’.  Any time between 10.30am and 2.30pm. We have ‘Weigh to Go’ scales and standard talking scales.  We hope to be running a healthy living course in the near future, so keep a look out for more details coming soon.    

Living with sight loss two-day course, Wednesday 10 and 17 April 10.30am to 3.30pm

If you are recently visually impaired, your sight has changed over the years or you just feel there might be more support for you than you know about, then this could be the course for you. The programme is run by RNIB and hosted at the SVI Office in West Bromwich. Please contact us to find out more.

Tea and Toast drop in sessions

Pop in to our base at West Bromwich Town Hall on the first Wednesday morning of each month from 10.30am to 12 noon to enjoy a slice of toast, other tasties and a cuppa over a chat with your SVI friends.  Help is on hand from our staff who can offer support with anything you need to get sorted. We have guests from other organisations who will tell you about their services and how they can help you.  For example, recent guests have included:  Mytime, to tell us about their health and wellbeing programmes; NHS staff talking with us about services at your GP’s and walk in centres; LEAP offering free home insulation services; Trading Standards and more.

There is usually someone from the Sensory Service Team too to talk to you about help you might need to live more independently and get around more confidently.  

Active 60

Are you aged over 50 and want to do more activities to keep you active for longer?  Statistics show that people who are active in body and mind as they approach their 60s stay healthier and happier for longer.
 
SVI’s Active 60 group meet once monthly to either go out for a meal or trip or meet at the SVI base for a chat and other fun things like quizzes, themed events and more.  Active 60 members pay for their trips and events which are subsidised from SVI A60 funds.  Contact the SVI office to be added to the Active 60 mailing list.

Women’s group

With help from a Healthy Sandwell Micro Grant, SVI started our Women’s Group last year. Women meet up monthly at our base at West Bromwich Town Hall to chat, learn from each other and listen to guest speakers who will give them information and support on women’s health and wellbeing matters. Over the last few months, women have had the chance to book a beauty treatment, have a demonstration from an Avon consultant, try out their hula-hoop skills and learn about local weight management programmes. Every few months, women choose a ‘treat’ event and recently they have enjoyed afternoon tea at Jonathon’s in the Park and a supported shopping trip to Merry Hill.      

  • Evening Women’s Group – meets the first Monday evening of each month from 5pm to 7.30pm at our base at the Town Hall.
  • Daytime Women’s Group – meets the third Monday of each month from 11.00am to 1.30pm at our base at the Town Hall.

Note: for special trips and events, such as afternoon tea, dates and times are likely to change and fees are made for some activities and pamper treatments.

Men’s group

SVI have now received funding from a Healthy Sandwell Micro Grant for a men’s group.  Sessions have recently begun and take place on the first Monday of every month from 2pm to 3.30pm at our base at West Bromwich Town Hall. The men have lots of ideas about what they would like to do, including walking, football, fishing and cooking tips. 

SocialEyes

Are you visually impaired, a family member, friend or helper of a person living with sight loss and want to do more adventurous or social activities? Then sign up to be a member of our new SocialEyes group. Our first activities have just taken place and members have enjoyed a beer and skittles evening, a visit to the Black Country Museum and for the more adventurous of our members a day at the Ackers Adventure Centre is planned.  Future activities include a ‘curryoke’ night, a visit to the zoo and a trip to a theme park.  SocialEyes wants to try new things, so all ideas are welcomed.

Read our SocialEyes Events Bulletin to get the details.

Arts, crafts and music

Some of our members have said they want a music and reminiscence afternoon, so we are holding an informal ‘songs of my life’ session on Wednesday 24 April from 12.30pm to 2pm at our base at West Bromwich Town Hall. Bring along a CD of your favourite tunes and get ready to share memories of times past but not forgotten.  This is a taster session and if it is popular we will hold more.  

Barber Institute – Thursday 2 May

We have arranged another of our audio-described visits to the Barber Art Gallery, where we will view a range of works which are excellently described by their friendly guides.  Leaving West Bromwich at 10am for a morning visit, returning at 2pm – there is a £5 cost for transport to cover this visit.  

Touchy Feely Arts and Crafts Project

Hot off the press, we have just heard that we have been successful in our grant to the Harry Payne Trust to run these arts and crafts sessions.  Our crafts course last year was very popular, so look out for more details on this Project coming soon.

Appy Hour

Want to be part of a peer support group that helps each other to get the most out of smart devices like mobile phones and tablets.  Find out more about apps, specialist equipment and mainstream devices like Alexa that can make life so much easier for people living with sight loss.

Appy Hour has two monthly support groups.

  • Apple and Iphone Group ‑ Meets the first Wednesday of each month at our base at West Bromwich Town Hall from 12.30pm to 2pm. 
  • Android and iPhone Group ‑ Meets the third Wednesday of each month at our base at West Bromwich Town Hall from 12.30pm to 2pm.  This is predominantly for Android users but due to the numbers of Apple iPhone users in the first week of the month, we have places available for both platforms in this session.

There are limited numbers for these groups so please book in advance to ensure a place.  The Appy Hour groups are designed for people of all levels and utilise peer support ‑ if you are an expert using your mobile device, why not come along and share your knowledge.

Sandwell Talking News ‑ Becoming a Listener

Have you signed up to receive the weekly STN yet?  There are exciting new developments with lots of new ways to listen. 

  • STN USB sticks home postal service.  If you live in Sandwell, you can sign up for our weekly delivery service.  You will get a free ‘boombox’ player which is a special piece of equipment that plays USB sticks and talking books.  Once registered for this service, every week you will receive your STN straight to your letterbox.  If you don’t live in Sandwell but would like to receive this postal option, please contact the SVI office and one of our team will tell you how you can sign up.
  • STN on the web – listen to the latest and back copies of the STN by visiting http://sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk/sandwelltalkingnewspaper.php
  • STN on the phone – which is new to the range of listening platforms is now available, simply call 0330 22 33 452, and choose option 6.  Note: please check with your telephone service provider for any charges that may apply.  If you have a tariff that includes up to 1 hour of free calls, there will be no charge made to you and the clever thing about this service is that it will prompt you to hang up at 59 minutes and when you ring back you can pick up where you left off.
  • STN on Alexa - You can now listen to the STN on your Amazon Echo device too - simply ask Alexa to enable the My Talking Newspaper and follow the instructions on how to receive and operate the skill.

Information and Support

Help at the end of a phone – want to talk to one of our team about something that you need information and/or support to access? Then give us a ring or drop us an email – we can often help you ourselves but if not, we can offer you guidance on who can and make a referral on your behalf if you want us to.

If you have any ideas for things you would like to see SVI doing, please let us know – we can’t promise we can do these straight away, but we do listen to members and try to seek funding to help us to offer the activities and support you want from us.

Please contact the SVI office on 0121 525 4810 or email info@sandwellvisuallyimpaired.org.uk  to book a place on any of the above activities or to  find out more about the work done by SVI.