VI Talk is a project run by Michael Allen and Jo Fishwick. It is aimed at anyone with a visual impairment, anyone who knows someone VI or anybody who has a connection with a charity, organisation or group that offers services or support to visually impaired people, regardless of age, background or experience.
You can find us in lots of different places and there is something for everyone, even if you're not technically minded, you can still join in.
Our group on Facebook has a real community feel. With lots of people sharing ideas, information and support. We are on Twitter. Our Web site www.vitalk.co.uk will grow into a great resource.
Our Audio Boo channel www.audioboo.fm/channel/vitalk has lots of audio articles and information for people to listen to. Anyone can post to the channel and join in. We are also carried by British wireless for the blind and are therefore available on the Sonata player for those who don't use computers.
We are on Skype so that we can hold group calls. This will enable people to discuss a subject and share information. We have a Skype number (0161 2988255) which means anyone can phone from a landline and doesn't need to miss out.
Finally we have our monthly podcasts covering a vast array of subjects. Sport, technology, parenting, daily living, fashion and self-presentation and holidays and travel amongst many others.
As visually impaired people finding a good place to holiday can be very difficult with accessibility a major issue. Using public transport can also be tricky. Bus drivers forget to tell you where to get off. Rail assistance forgets to turn up to help with your connection. We do however have some hotels that are specifically designed for the needs of visually impaired people and some that are equipped with everything a guide dog will need.
Sometimes, we also find wonderful mainstream hotels that are prepared to go that extra mile to make our stay easier and more enjoyable.
The Vision Hotels, in Windermere, Weston-Super-Mere and Teignmouth in South Devon are run by Action for blind people. All the staff have awareness training to enable to better understand the needs of visually impaired guests. Although the hotels are open to sighted guests, there are accessible menus, braille and large print information in all the rooms and everything that guide dogs need including dog runs, beds, and bowls available in bedrooms. A dog shower and grooming room are also on site. Dog food can be ordered in if required. For those using public transport, not having to carry extra things is definitely a help.
You can contact the hotels direct
The Cliffden in Teignmouth
By Phone: 01626 770052
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lauriston in Weston-Super-Mare
By Phone: 01934 620758
By Email: email@example.com
The Windermere Manor
By Phone: 01539 445801
Or Visit the website www.windermeremanorhotel.com
The Belmont Hotel, run by the Royal Blind Society is another specialist hotel. Again the staff are well equipped to help those with a visual impairment but can also cater for those with extra mobility needs. Situated in Llandudno, North Wales, this hotel is quite small but homely and would have great appeal to those who need that extra bit of help.
You can contact the Belmont
By Phone: 01492 877770
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit the website www.royalblindsociety.org
The Bull Hotel situated in Peterborough is a mainstream hotel that we have used for a group weekend break. A listed building, this hotel holds extra charm but add to that the fact that the staff were very prepared to go that extra mile to ensure that our group of visually impaired people, some with guide dogs thoroughly enjoyed their stay.
To contact the Bull hotel
By Phone 01733 561364
By Email email@example.com
Or visit the website www.bull-hotel-peterborough.com
For those who enjoy a seaside break but also like the freedom of a B and B. The Seaway in Teignmouth is wonderful. The couple, who own it, are more than happy to help disabled guests. They have shown guide dog owners around the town. Where to safely spend their dogs. How to reach the seafront and much more.
Contact the Seaway
By phone 01626 879024
Visit their web site www.seawayteignmouth.co.uk