Tesco Community Grants: vote for us!

We are delighted to be part of this month’s Tesco Community Grants Scheme. The scheme gives SSW the chance to secure valuable funds, in this case to support our mental health walk and talk sessions.

Voting starts in stores from the first week of July 2022 and continues until 30th September 2022. 

If you find yourself in a Tesco (our local participating stores are listed below), make sure that when you pay you ask for a token, and then place it in the relevant box.

Here are Worthing’s participating Tesco stores:

Findon Express BN14 0EL Dolphin Express Dominion Road BN14 8LBBroadwater Express BN14 9DADurrington Express BN13 1QYRectory Road Express BN14 7PE Goring Way Express BN12 4TY  South Farm Road Express BN14 7GA  Chapel Road Express BN11 1EG   West Durrington Extra BN13 3PB Goring Road Express BN12 4AJ  

You can check the locations here:

Thank you!


Work experience at SSW: a report by Ella

SSW recently welcomed a work experience student to the team: Ella, from Davison High School. Here’s her account of her time spent at SSW:

Hi, I’m Ella and I am a Year 10 student from Davison High School. I had my work experience placement at Sight Support Worthing, and I’ve written this to tell you all about my experience during the week. I arrived on Monday and got stuck in straight away, picking up different members on the SSW bus and taking them to Steyne Gardens to have a look at the renovation work the charity had been doing there (which looked great by the way!).

We then came back to the Centre for tea, coffee and cakes and then took everyone back home again. It was great to see everyone having a great time and catching up with each other and you could tell the services and activities that the charity holds benefit people greatly. 

Also, during the week I learnt about and tested out some equipment designed to help visually impaired people with daily activities, such as the OrCam which magnets to the side of a pair of glasses and will photograph text and then read it out to the user. There were also the liquid level indicators that would make noises when the hot water going into a mug reached the right level, and the long cane that could sense when a hazard was approaching in front of the user. It was interesting to learn about these things and how technology is advancing to help visually impaired people in our society. 

photo of Ella and friend sitting on a train and looking at a phone

I also completed training so that I could become a qualified Level 1 Sighted Guide, which was a useful thing to complete as it means I am now able to lead a blind or severely visually impaired person confidently and accurately. 

I learnt more about the different activities SSW offers, which seem varied and fun, such as the Cycall event I went to which is inclusive cycling that takes visually impaired people into consideration with their bike designs and allows them to have a easier cycling experience. It was great fun, and I was surprised at the speeds some of the members could cycle at – they were zooming past!  Other events held by the charity include regular art classes, shooting, woodwork, water activities and even skydiving! They challenge peoples’ initial perceptions that visually impaired people may not be able to do certain activities, as members regularly partake in fun and unique events. I’ve learnt that there are a lot of different ways one can be visually impaired, and I’ve got to speak to different people with different capabilities and experiences, which was very eye-opening.

Overall, I had a great experience and got a good insight on what life is like for the visually impaired which was useful as it allows me to be more understanding of different people in the community. I was getting involved in different activities and talking to a range of people, volunteers and members alike, which showed me a different side to having a job. The staff and volunteers at SSW were very friendly and welcoming and made the experience a pleasant one. It was a great taster into life in the workplace and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get involved in some fun activities and learn about the charity and how it helps people.


Thanks Ella; we’re glad you enjoyed your work experience with us!


Wonderful woodwork by members, for members

As part of our Art Class, members have been making quoits to be used by other members when they come to our Boccia days. The group also made a planter for members Sandra and Carl.

Safety measures are in place to ensure that this activity is accessible to our VI members. So far all fingers are intact..! 


News Our aims

SSW EGM April 2022 outcome

The SSW Board set up an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 5th April to propose a change to the Constitution aimed at enabling SSW to respond to requests for help from those who live outside the Borough of Worthing.

Currently, the Constitution is worded as follows:

3. The Charity’s objects (“the Objects”) are the relief of persons who are blind or partially sighted living within the boundaries of the Borough of Worthing.

The Board’s Resolution was designed to enable SSW to respond to requests for advice and support from those living outside the Borough of Worthing.

The proposed new wording was as follows – bold indicates the changes:

3. The Charity’s primary objects (“the Objects”) are the relief of persons who are blind or partially sighted living within the boundaries of the Borough of Worthing. For those living outside the Borough of Worthing, the Charity will respond to and endeavour to address all requests for advice and support including access to the Charity’s Worthing Centre where that is practical.

At the EGM, the SSW Chairman outlined the rationale behind the SSW Board’s proposal which was to enable SSW to legitimately support anyone with a visual impairment, regardless of their place of residence. Currently, such support was limited to residents of the Borough of Worthing.

The Chairman assured the EGM that Approval of this Resolution would not impact the level of support and service provided to SSW members as priority would always be given to SSW members – and formal Membership of SSW would continue to be limited to residents of the Borough of Worthing.

However, being able to use the skills and experience developed within SSW to help a wider community, together with the feedback we get from that community, will ultimately benefit everyone and help sustain SSW as a viable local charity for the future.

Given that much of what SSW does is published and made available via the Internet, this attracts the attention of a much wider audience than just Worthing residents. When enquires for advice and/or help come from the visually impaired (or their family member/guardian) living outside the Borough of Worthing, SSW wants to be able to provide a constructive response. It does not seem fair that we should be restricted in offering such help just because someone does not live in the Borough of Worthing.

The following questions were raised by Members at the EGM:

1. Could the existing staff levels cope with the likely increase in requests for information and help without impacting the support currently given to SSW Members?

The Chairman assured Members that as set out in the new wording of SSW’s scope, SSW Members (by definition, Worthing residents) would be the charity’s “primary” commitment. If the increased demand for information from those living outside Worthing started to impact the available support for SSW Members, then the Board would look to increase the level of resource available to SSW.

2. Does SSW have the funds to increase the level of support that would potentially be required to meet the additional demand from people who would not be SSW Members?

The Chairman assured the Meeting that there were sufficient funds available to support an increase in resource should that prove necessary.

3. Is it possible to recruit the right numbers/calibre of staff?

The Chairman believed that based on recent experience (where a number of new staff members had been recruited) there is evidence to suggest that recruitment is not a significant problem.

The EGM then voted unanimously in favour of the Board’s Resolution.

Moving forward, SSW can establish itself as a charity fully supporting the visually impaired, wherever they may live.


Visual stress: what is it?

Have you ever heard of a condition called visual stress? It might sound like it’s to do with tired eyes from too much screen time, but actually it’s not related to eye function at all.

SSW Manager Sonia became aware of differences in her vision in her late thirties. But, as everyone’s eyesight is unique to them, it was difficult for her to ascertain if everyone’s sight was like hers

It was years before Sonia began to investigate as, fortunately for her, it wasn’t (and doesn’t now) interfering significantly with her ability to read. She said: “I’ve always struggled with glare and needed sunglasses throughout the year but since my late 30’s I’ve noticed that my field of vision fluctuates with blotchy or grainy interference. Depending on how bad it is, I can forget about it, but sometimes it can be a real nuisance and distraction.”

photo of a selection of coloured glasses in a storage rack
The coloured filters used to test someone who may have visual stress

Sonia made an appointment to have a Colorimetry test and, following this, the Optometrist confirmed she suffers from visual stress. The test involves reading a paragraph of repetitive words with different coloured lenses and timing the reading speed. There are so many different colour variations, so the process involves narrowing down by choosing between types of colour and then shades.

So what is visual stress?

Visual stress, sometimes referred to as Meares-Irlen or Irlen syndrome, is a neurological perceptual processing disorder. Lines of text are rather like a striped pattern. When some people look at black and white stripes of specific width and spacing, it causes visual distortions and illusions. Thes edistortions are due to hyper-excitability in the part of the brain known as the visual cortex. It is thought that when some people try to read, the ‘stripy’ effect of the lines of print cause symptoms affecting their ability to read the text. There appears to be a link between visual stress and Dyslexia, though you can have either without the other.

photo shows two examples of distorted text
Examples of how text can look for someone with visual stress / Irlen syndrome

What are the symptoms of visual stress?

  • Headaches, eyestrain
  • Blurring of print
  • Words moving and appearing to jump out of the page
  • Colours in the text
  • Glare, page too bright
  • Losing place, skipping words or lines
  • Poor understanding of text being read

How can I get tested?

Unfortunately, Colorimetry testing at this time is not available on the NHS and specialist optometrists are not widely found. For West Sussex residents, Sonia recommends Forbes Eyecare Ltd in Chichester. If you live further afield, try the Cerium Visual Technologies website where you can search for a specialist in your area.

Feel free to get in touch with SSW if you’d like to chat with Sonia or any of the team about your visual condition.


SSW awarded grant for Platinum Jubilee Community Art Project

SSW has been awarded £600 from the Adur and Worthing Trust, as part of Creative Commissions 2022, for its Platinum Jubilee Community Art Project.

The aim of the project is to, as we emerge from the effects of the pandemic, find new ways to engage and connect with both our members and our local community. This project will achieve this objective by collaborating with local talented artists to produce art that will be on show to the public, enhance our neighbourhood, and also foster a good community spirit by celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee together.

The project includes a series of workshops and events using a variety of techniques and materials to produce large material banners and wire crowns that will be displayed for the public to see and enhance the local area, ready for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

photo of people creating banners as part of a workshop at SSW

Our plan is to then host an afternoon tea in late May for the artists and everyone else who has participated in the project. This will be an opportunity to celebrate working together as well as the 70 years of her Majesty’s reign. 

All events taking place as part of the Platinum Jubilee Community Art Project can be found on our calendar. Contact the Centre (01903 235782 or to book a place on any of the events.

SSW has several partners in the project including Storm, Art-ful Pottery Cafe and the West End Gallery, all of whom are based near to SSW’s Centre in Rowlands Road. We’re also working with Fiona McVey and Jude Bitton of Inclusive Arts on this project, with Fiona being familiar to SSW members as our art teacher! It is hoped that the project will forge strong relationships between the partners and generate a feeling of community spirit.

The large, decorated banners created will be hung, prior to the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend in June, on the metal posts positioned on both sides of Rowlands Road for everyone to enjoy. Large wire decorated crowns will also be made, at the organised workshops, and positioned securely on the top of the posts to add an extra dimension to the project. 

We hope you can either join us for part of the project, or take a stroll down Rowlands Road later this Spring to admire the creations made by all involved!

logo for the Adur and Worthing Trust, with the strapline Commit to Culture


Congratulations to Brian Butcher

Recipient of a Highly Commended Award in the RNIB Seeing Differently Awards 2022

We are pleased to announce that Brian Butcher, SSW member and Trustee, is the proud recipient of a Highly Commended Award in the RNIB’s annual Seeing Differently Awards. Congratulations to Brian!

Brian received the award for his campaigning to make the lives of blind and partially sighted people in Worthing and West Sussex better. Through his lobbying and awareness raising, Brian has helped change the way transport companies, business owners and local politicians consider the needs of the blind and partially sighted community.

What an achievement! We are very proud to have Brian as part of our team here.

As well as his involvement with SSW Brian is a Community Connection Lead Volunteer, with RNIB, a Campaign Volunteer for Guide Dogs as well as a NHS Vaccination champion.

News Service

Buy super sunglasses at SSW

If you’re after some new sunglasses this Spring (or, indeed, any time of the year!) check out the ranges we have available here at SSW.

There are three brands available:

Cocoons – these come in a variety of frame colours, sizes, shapes and lens tints, so there’s something for everyone. They cost £45 per pair (R.R.P. £59.99) if you buy them through us.

Cobolt – these come in one size, with a black frame and a choice of different lens tints. They are £20 per pair.

Plastic wrap arounds – these go over your existing glasses. There are different tints available and they’re just £7 per pair.

Ask in the Centre to browse and try on the choices we have. 


World Glaucoma Week 2022: Living with glaucoma

by Alison Bates, SSW Tech Advisor

It is World Glaucoma Week 2022 and it gives me the opportunity to share my own life of living in denial that I have this disease of the eye.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause blindness or vision loss by damaging the optic nerve in the back of the eye (the optic nerve carries sensory nerve impulses from the retina to the brain) so, in simple terms, if the optic nerve is damaged it means the connection with the eye and the brain is not working properly so vision can become blurry or, worse, non existent.

I have Glaucoma. Last week I had my eyes tested and part of the routine test was an eye pressure checkup during which it was discovered that the pressure in my left eye is 25 and the pressure in my right eye is 60. To put this into context, the healthy range is 10-21.

My optometrist was in absolute shock that it was so high and I had to reassure them that, while I’m surprised it is higher than what is considered healthy, a) I know I have Glaucoma so it is going to be high and b) because – shock horror! – I have not taken an eye drop since the beginning of the pandemic because I have not been to the optician or the hospital. I won’t lie to you or myself and say it is due to the pandemic: it is because I live in denial that there is anything wrong and convince myself that I am going to be fine… somehow by brain will just work it out… but you know what: IT WON’T.

I have to actually get off my in-denial bum and see a professional to get eye drops and a completely called for telling off and stop ruining any chance I have of at least having one healthy eye.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a doctor in an eye clinic and I will wear my big girl pants, accept my telling off, and start taking my eyedrops regularly (and now you all know how lax I have been you have permission to nag me)!

For more information about Glaucoma take a look at the World Glaucoma Association’s patient guide to caring for Glaucoma during a pandemic which you can access here or the more general NHS information here.


Family pancake & quiz day

This February half term saw SSW team up with Look Sussex to host a family pancake and quiz day.

Needless to say it was lots of fun, and everyone had a fantastic time flipping (or attempting to!) pancakes, and testing their knowledge of Disney films. Check out the video below!

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Play Video about Photo showing a group of people at SSW with a man tossing a pancake in the middle
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