Meet Gill, the “voice” of SSW

Hello – I’m Gill! It’s always nice to put a face to a voice – and for those of you who listen to the newsletter on CD, it’s high time I introduced myself.

I’m Gill Medway, a local actor and writer – and it’s my great privilege to record your monthly newsletter.

I’ve been a primary school teacher, a magazine editor and – believe it or not – a puppeteer in Saudi Arabia. My glove puppet theatre, Magic Forest, featured the adventures of Horace the Hedgehog and was a real hit with the under-fives – both for Saudi children and British expats.

I’m now the resident writer with a local theatre company, Hurly-burly Theatre. We’ve been performing regularly at the Ardington Hotel in Worthing – and I’m lucky to be writing for a great bunch of actors.

Our work there has been seriously curtailed, due to you-know-what but with the easing of restrictions, we’re now back on track and planning our next performance. As we return slowly to normal, there’s plenty going on at Sight Support, too. I look forward to telling you all about it very soon…


Introducing Jackie, a new face at SSW

Hi, I’m Jackie! I have lived in Worthing for 30 years. I have a 14 year old daughter who was born with congenital cataracts and had seven eye operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital to correct her vision. My daughter still attends GOSH every 3 to 6 months to complete Low Visual assessment, pressure and eye monitoring and development.

When my daughter was little my midwife introduced me to Look Sussex, Blatchington Court Trust, VICTA and RNIB; all of these charities have really helped and supported us through DLA claims and EHCP paperwork. I went on to become a trustee for Look Sussex and I’m now the secretary for the organisation.

I have just started work for Sight Support Worthing and look forward to growing my role. I previously volunteered at Ferring Country Centre and I work part time in a supported living house with six disabled adults. I have helped parents prepare DLA and PIP paperwork and would be delighted to assist any Sight Support Worthing members with their paperwork.

My new role involves fundraising for the charity so if any members are interested in helping to riase funds, please let me know. I have already met the Tai Chi (Qigong) class clients and look forward to meeting many more of you.


Living Well with Sight Loss group

Sight Support Worthing is pleased to be partnering with the RNIB to offer a Living Well with Sight Loss group, starting Friday 29th September.


This is a FREE group for West Sussex residents. It is suitable for adults of all ages, including friends, family members or anyone affected by vision loss. 

These free one-hour group phone sessions will be held every Friday morning for 6 weeks, from 10.30am – 12.00 noon. Members need to sign up for the whole course and the last session will be on the 3rd December 2021.


Each session covers a range of topics including:

  • understanding welfare rights
  • staying independent
  • tips and gadgets for everyday living
  • eye health
  • hobbies and interests.

Participants will also learn about other organisations and services that can provide support.

To access the group you can dial in by telephone or use your smartphone to join by video (link will be provided).

To book your free place, please contact us either by email ( or call 01903 235782

Local info

Bus Back Better engagement survey

A bus service improvement plan is being developed by West Sussex County Council, together with bus companies and other partners, to explore ways to help sustain and improve bus travel in West Sussex. The initiative is in line with the Government’s new National Bus Strategy – Bus Back Better – which has pledged £3billion in funding across the country (outside London) to help deliver these plans.


As part of this, West Sussex County Council want to hear opinions on what would improve local bus services and what would make people use buses more. The Council is keen to hear from people of all ages who already use buses and those who do not.


The survey is available online at

Paper copies are available from local libraries or by calling 01243 642105

The closing date for the survey is 14 September 2021.


SSW help give Steyne Gardens a facelift

SSW recently joined forces with Adur & Worthing Councils to give parts of Steyne Gardens in Worthing a summer facelift.

a newly planted flower bed at Steyne Gardens in Worthing

Cherry Ward, trustee of SSW, reported that the team planted numerous Salvia in the small bed with pink verbena. Similar plants were put in either side of the small bed along wth some ground covering. It is hoped that the beds will provide a fanastic scent throughout the coming months.


A second planting session is also planned. If you are in the town centre, do take a walk down to Steyne Gardens to admire the team’s work and enjoy the improved setting.




Support us when you shop with Amazon

Want to help make a difference while you shop in the Amazon app, at no extra cost to you? Simply follow the instructions below to select Sight Support Worthing as your charity and activate AmazonSmile in the app. Amazon will donate a portion of your eligible mobile app purchases to us.

How it works:

  1. Open the Amazon app on your phone
  2. Select the main menu (=) & tap on “AmazonSmile” within Programmes & Features
  3. Select Sight Support Worthing as your charity
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app

Thank you! You can also select us as your charity when shopping via your laptop or PC, or just using your phone or tablet’s browser (rather than an app). These are the instructions:

  1. Sign in to on your desktop or mobile phone browser.
  2. From your desktop, go to Your account and select the option to Change your charity. Or, from your mobile browser, select Change your charity from the options at the bottom of the page.
  3. Select Sight Support Worthing from the list to support.

    Note: You can also hover over the supporting notice in the navigation at the top of any page and then select the Change link next to the name of the charity that you’re currently supporting if you wish to change it to us.


Talk with a trustee: Barry Ward

Although the feature is called a Talk with a Trustee, this one could be retitled Chat with the Chairman as Barry is actually the chairman of the board of trustees here at SSW. Here’s a little insight into Barry’s world…

Name: Barry Ward

Lives: I have lived in Worthing since 1969.

How long have you been involved with SSW? 

I joined SSW as a volunteer minibus driver in April 2010 – so my involvement goes back 11 years..

What’s your role at SSW? 

I have been a Trustee since July 2012 and I have been Chairman of the Board of Trustees since October 2012.

I am also an active volunteer, driving the SSW minibus (and car) and helping out on some internal member activities at the Centre in Rowlands Road.

What do you especially enjoy about your role? 

The most enjoyable aspect of both roles (Trustee and volunteer) is the interaction with members at the Centre, whether that’s helping with a particular activity or responding to questions about how the charity will evolve to meet the needs of current and future members.

Specifically with the Trustee role, the most rewarding aspect is being part of a small group of Trustees who are in a position to determine what needs to be done – and to have the collective authority to implement those ideas. Whilst the Board is always accountable to the membership – through the Annual General Meetings – the Board is free to establish and implement the strategy that it feels best meets the needs of the visually impaired.

What special memories do you have of taking part in the activities or groups at SSW? 

Some of the most enjoyable have been taking a minibus full of members on a Sunday picnic out in the country or to the sea front. Memories are plentiful, including:

  • parking in the cafe at the top of Bury Hill where dozens of motor cyclists congregate and watching our members walking around the bikes chatting to the riders.
  • the really helpful response from knocking on the door of a nearby house to ask for milk – having forgotten to bring any with us.
  • eating our picnic inside the bus as it was raining outside – with everyone still enjoying themselves.

My wife and I have also taken groups on holiday (in the minibus) to Eastbourne, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight. Members paddled on the beach at Bournemouth; listened to a live concert on the sea front at Eastbourne; and all agreed that the Isle of Wight was almost like going abroad. So many happy memories.

How do you spend your free time?

My free time is divided between playing golf and time spent with my wife and family. Between us we have three children, six grandchildren and two Great Grandchildren – all live locally.

Tell us an amazing fact about yourself!

I still believe in Father Christmas – the proof being that the stocking I leave out on Christmas Eve is always full of goodies when I wake in the morning!


How lovely that Barry still gets a visit from Father Christmas every year. He’s obviously on Santa’s ‘well-behaved’ list!

If you’d like to volunteer at SSW, like Barry, please do get in touch. We’re always keen to hear from people looking to make a difference for our members.


Our aims

SSW, the year ahead: developing a volunteer/member buddy befriending scheme, to match people by shared interests

We’ve said it before and we’re very happy to say it again: our volunteers are vital to the success of SSW. Without this team of dedicated and helpful people we’d not be able to provide all that we do. And now, due to one of our objectives for the year, we’re hoping to increase our team of volunteers again.


Objective number 4 is to ‘develop a volunteer/member buddy befriending scheme, to match people by shared interests’. Over the next year or so, we’d like to build a pool of volunteers who are happy to be paired with members (and members-to-be!) based on either a practical need (say, gardening, for example), a shared hobby, or just getting together to do something fun. Volunteers and members can specify their interests, time availability, location or any other factor that might affect who they’re paired with. Some people may want a regular slot with their ‘buddy’ whereas others might like to meet as and when. Even meeting up isn’t essential; a phone call or online chat might suit the situation. We won’t have any set criteria and both parties will have a say on what their expectations and requirements are.


There are also supporting objectives related to the creation of a befriending scheme: improving our volunteer ‘experience’ and ensuring we have dedicated resourcing to grow our volunteering capabilities. In fact this second point is already underway with the appointment of Katie as our new Volunteer Coordinator (you can read more about Katie here). As well as working with our volunteers on a day-to-day basis Katie will also be working with the rest of the team to update how we communicate with our volunteers. In addition, Katie will be honing our induction processes so that all volunteers feel confident in carrying out their role.


We hope lots of you will be keen to join our buddy befriending scheme, in whatever capacity is right for you. Do get in touch with Katie if you’d like to volunteer for us, whether for our new scheme or in any other role.



Introducing our new Tech Adviser, Alison Bates

Recently joining the team at SSW is Alison Bates. Alison, who has a vision impairment herself, will be our new Tech Advisor.

Welcome to Alison! Here she introduces herself: 

I am visually impaired having been born blind (congenital cataracts). I had surgery at birth to give some sight but at 34 I had a detached retina in my right eye which could not be saved with surgery.

I am married with two daughters, both of whom have the same eye condition as me. The oldest is visually impaired and the younger one is registered blind.

I enjoy live music, festivals and theatre, and I am really into the 1950s, especially the fashion. I also enjoy travelling and exploring new places.

I am really excited about the Tech Advisor role; I’m looking forward to getting to know our members and building great working relationships so they can get the best out of their technology and feel confident using their devices.


Talk with a trustee: Frances Jacobs

In our latest interview with a member of the SSW community we meet Frances Jacobs, who is a Trustee, and was a volunteer before that. Hello Frances!

Name: Frances Jacobs

Have you always lived in Worthing? I have lived in the Worthing area since I was 10 and I now live in Angmering.

How long have you been involved with Sight Support Worthing (SSW)? I have been a volunteer since 2015 and a trustee since 2016.

What’s your role at SSW? I make teas and coffees at the music afternoon and other social events. I also help on the mini bus and on members’ outings.

What do you especially enjoy about your role? I enjoy meeting both members and other volunteers

Tell us about a time at SSW that you have particularly enjoyed? I used to help with an art group and have a special memory of holding an exhibition at Worthing Library. We took the members to see it; the pictures were amazing.

What do you love about living where you do? I love living in this area being near both the sea and the Downs

How do you spend your free time? Walking with friends and playing golf

Tell us an amazing fact about yourself! I have been very lucky to travel extensively with my husband Graham, including trips to Antartica and trekking in the Himalayas. My most memorable experiences were spending time with the street children in Delhi and visiting a township in Kampala, Uganda representing ActionAid.


Thanks for your responses Frances! The experiences overseas sound fascinating. If you’re a member of SSW and would like to feature in our interview slot, we’d love to hear from you. Just email and she will send you through the questions.

Frances and Dawn, two of SSW's volunteers, dressed up for Halloween