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Christian resources and activities for blind
and partially sighted people worldwide.

News and What's On

Torch eNews - to receive occasional news updates via email please contact us using info@torchtrust.org

 

Learning to cope with sight loss

Posted: 9th October 2014 by Debra Chand

Learning to cope with sight loss Picture

If you are experiencing sight loss or know someone who is, a Moving Forward break may be just the thing - book now for the next 31 October - 3 November.

These short residential breaks provide information, skills training and pastoral support for people who are adjusting to life with sight loss.

There’s just time to book for the next event, which will take place from Friday 31 October – Monday 3 November, at Torch’s Holiday and Retreat Centre in Sussex. The centre has been beautifully refurbished to create a relaxing, fully accessible venue.

Headed by Torch’s holidays leader and centre manager, Gail Millar, a qualified Eye Clinic Liaison Officer, the Moving Forward team are all Christian professionals in the field. Practical sessions will include coping with everyday life, helpful equipment and services, managing finances, and staying well connected, along with opportunities for reflection, prayer and relaxation. Feedback from clients has been so encouraging that Torch plan to run more events in 2015.

‘Before I went to the Torch weekend I wasn’t coping – I put on a brave face, but thought I was a failure and that life as I knew it was pretty much over... Being there has given me a hope that I never knew possible.’

Places are limited and booking is essential. To find out more and to book, contact us on 01273 832282 or holidays@torchtrust.org

 


The Sower

Posted: 6th October 2014 by David Palmer

A Harvest-themed telephone Group for blind and partially sighted people.parable-of-the-sower.jpg

Whether we like it or not all the signs of autumn are now fast approaching! The nights are drawing in, the mornings feel more chilly, the trees are changing colour and churches up and down the country start to celebrate and give thanks to God for all his bounty and provision.

In line with this theme TorchTalk, our telephone friendship service, is running a six week harvest themed Group entitled ‘The Sower’, reflecting God’s creative activity in the world and our lives. The Group commences Monday October 6 at 3.30pm and will run for six weeks until November 10. Each of TorchTalk Groups holds between six to nine people so if you are interested please hurry and call one of our Client Services team on 01858 438260.

 

 

 


Product Roadshow

Posted: 3rd October 2014 by Debra Chand

Product Roadshow Picture

Find out more about the latest technology to help people with sight loss, at a product roadshow in London this week.

The roadshow, run by Action for Blind People, is free for anyone who is blind and partially sighted and living in the London Boroughs. It will showcase state-of-the-art gadgets to help manage sight loss.

There will be opportunity to try out devices such as vibrating bank note detectors, talking microwaves and electric magnifiers to help with reading. There will also be iPhones, iPads, and computers adapted with accessible features, such as talking screen readers, and screen magnifiers, and opportunity to chat with manufacturers and experts.

The event will take place on Monday, 6 October and Friday, 10 October between 10:30am-3:30pm, at RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE, near Kings Cross in London. For further information contact 01733 375249 or email leslie.franklin@rnib.org.uk


Torch Thanksgiving and Open Day - 20 September

Posted: 9th September 2014 by David Shepherd

Our annual Thanksgiving Day will also be an Open Day at Torch House in Market IMG_6768e.JPGHarborough on Saturday 20 September - and you are warmly invited to come and join us.

From 2pm to 4pm there will be an opportunity to visit displays around the building and to meet staff and volunteers.

As well as celebrating 55 years of Torch we will also be marking 10 years in the present Torch House.

The doors will be open from 1pm so if you would like to to come earlier you are very welcome.

Strawberry cream teas and drinks will be served throughout the afternoon.

From 4.30pm to approximately 5pm there will be a time of worship and celebration and a short message from our guest Rev Jonathan Edwards, former General Secretary of Baptist Union. If you are bringing a group, it would be helpful to know numbers in advance - please email Carol Nokes at caroln@torchtrust.org or telephone 01858 438260.

We look forward to meeting you on the the 20th!


Discovering Torch in the West Midlands

Posted: 4th September 2014 by David Palmer

If you live in the West Midlands and would like to find out about the impact of sight loss and how Christians can support people affected, you are warmly invited to a free event being held near you this autumn.

The events, run by Torch Trust, will take place on Saturday at:DSC_0906.jpg

Hanley Baptist Church, Stoke on Trent (4 Oct);

Baptist Church Central, Shrewsbury (25 Oct),

and The Crossing at St Pauls, Walsall (1 Nov).

Each ‘Discover Torch’ event will run from 10am-12.30pm, starting with coffee / registration at 9.45am.

At these events we will think about how Torch can support and enable you and your church to reach out to people who are blind and partially sighted. Sessions will include:

  • recognising the need in the West Midlands;
  • looking at how we can holistically support people with sight loss in our communities - especially through the new Groups we are looking to launch;
  • introducing Torch’s new befriending service (Journeying With);
  • presenting details of our sight loss awareness training, accessible literature, and other useful information and resources.

For more information or to book, contact David Palmer on 01858 438260 or email: davidp@torchtrust.org


Training opportunity in the south west

Posted: 27th August 2014 by Lin Ball

Training opportunity in the south west Picture

If you live within reach of Bristol and would like to find out about the impact of sight loss and hear about how Christians can support people affected, you are warmly invited to a training afternoon being held in November.

The event runs from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 8 November at Fishponds Baptist Church, Downend Road, Bristol BS16 5AS.

‘Blindness is the disability the majority of people say they most fear,’ says Debra Chand of Torch Trust. ‘Every day in the UK, 100 people learn that they are losing their sight. As our population ages, the numbers will increase. Almost one in four of us will know what it is to live with a disabling level of sight loss.’

The trauma of a sight loss diagnosis has been compared to a bereavement in terms of its impact. ‘Despite this, only one in five people has someone with them at diagnosis,’ says Debra.

‘People often find themselves with no way to adapt their normal routines. Acute loneliness and clinical depression are not uncommon. We would like to support churches in setting up a befriending scheme to bring Christian volunteers alongside those adjusting to the challenging news of sight loss.

November’s training session will include an introduction to blindness and partial sight - including definitions and different eye conditions, advice on guiding blind and partially sighted people and an overview of the biblical perspective on disability. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. The session will be particularly valuable to anyone involved in pastoral work in their communities.  

To book (which is essential), follow the links for the Posterprogramme and booking form. For more information please contact Janet Eardley (Janete@torchtrust.org /  07870 909779). The cost of the afternoon is just £5 and will include refreshments.

Torch is looking for welcoming churches across the country willing to set up befriending groups. To find out more about the Journeying With befriending project click here or phone Torch’s Client Services team on 01858 438260.


The value of a good friend

Posted: 28th July 2014 by Lin Ball

The value of a good friend Picture

A good friend is a good listener. And feedback from the Torch Journeying With initiative suggests that people losing their sight find a trained volunteer befriender is – quite literally – a Godsend.

The befriending service has initially been made available in Northern Ireland. Following training, which includes learning about sight loss and its impact, a befriender gets alongside someone newly diagnosed for up to six months. He or she helps as someone deals with the emotional, social and physical impact of sight loss on their everyday life, supporting them as they make adjustments. As well as being a listening ear at home, they may accompany them to eye clinic appointments, help them venture into new social settings, suggest ways in which gadgets and technology can assist with everyday activities and generally encourage them to see that life can still be good.

Clients who have been befriended through the project have given very positive feedback about the whole experience. They particularly valued having someone to confide in about their concerns.

One said, ‘My befriender was a good listener. That’s what you need, because you don’t like … other people … thinking you are moaning and groaning. I can’t see people’s faces, for example. You’re walking past them and you can’t see them properly. People wave out of their cars and you don’t know who they are.’

And other comments suggested that having the befriender helped them cope with the loneliness they were experiencing.

‘Her … just coming to the door … that means a lot because I don’t have many people coming … I’m so lonely, very lonely. I have other friends, yes. But they are in different parts of the town and they have their own families. I don’t have anybody … Life is so quiet,’ said one person, who felt that sight loss had put an end to many of the activities of her life.

Positive responses were also given about how befrienders were a help on their faith journey.

‘It helps to be able to talk about your faith. It comes back to you when you are talking about it.’

‘Blindness is the disability the majority of people say they most fear,’ says Debra Chand, who heads up the Torch Trust Journeying With project. ‘But every day in the UK, 100 people learn that they are losing their sight. As our population ages, the numbers will increase. Almost one in four of us will know what it is to live with a disabling level of sight loss.’

The trauma of a sight loss diagnosis has been compared to a bereavement in terms of its impact.

‘Despite this, only one in five people has someone with them at diagnosis,’ says Debra.

‘People often find themselves with no way to adapt their normal routines. Acute loneliness and clinical depression are not uncommon. Our new church-based befriending scheme brings Christian volunteers alongside those adjusting to the challenging news of sight loss.’

Torch is looking for welcoming churches across the UK willing to run the initiative in their areas. To find out more about the Journeying With project click here or email Torch’s Client Services or call 01858 438260.


First guests love our new-look holiday centre!

Posted: 3rd July 2014 by Lin Ball

First guests love our new-look holiday centre! Picture

The first holiday guests with sight loss have been bowled over by the renovations at Torch Holiday & Retreat Centre.

‘I love the lounge with the new bright blue carpet…’

‘I like the fact that there are dado rails everywhere to follow, everything is tactile so you don’t get lost…’

‘The bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms are lovely, very easy to get into, especially for wheelchair users…’

‘The new mattresses are amazing…’

‘You get an even warmer welcome than before…’

Gaill Millar, Holidays Leader, says, ‘Our first holiday in the renovated centre – our annual 10-day activities holiday – has been very exciting. I have so many stories to tell of this first phase of renovation work – and I believe I will be telling them for years to come! Every chapter of this story abounds with miracles and answers to prayer.’

With a great deal of hard work by the contractors, the Torch staff and volunteers, this first phase of the work was complete in time for the holiday to begin for the 24 guests.

‘God gave us a Bible verse back in October 2013 as we stood and prayed this project into being,’ said Gail. ‘It was Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain (Psalm 127:1). God has provided the finance, has blessed all those who have done the work and will bless those who come here in the days and years ahead. It all looks amazing, from the new carpets and curtains to the built-in wardrobes and the specially embroidered pillows on every bed.’

So the full summer programme of all-inclusive holidays for guests with sight loss is under way. Do contact us if you’d like details. With the increased accommodation now at the Centre, there are still a few vacancies.


Calling the north east!

Posted: 17th June 2014 by Lin Ball

Calling the north east! Picture

If you live within reach of Hull and want to make a difference for the blind and partially sighted people in your community, the insights and information you need are coming your way soon!

Faith-based organisations, community groups and churches are invited to send teams along to Discover Torch – a free morning conference and workshop being held on Saturday 5 July.

James Seager, newly appointed to grow Torch impact in the north of England, says, ‘In Hull and the East Riding, 12,000 people are living with sight loss – and every two days another person is diagnosed as visually impaired. Most of these people are disengaged from church life. This event will help you discover more about their needs and what we can do to involve them in our church communities.’

James was previously a local church minister for 15 years. ‘During that time,’ he says, ‘I developed a great desire to see people cared for, especially at the lowest points of their lives. The Church is in a powerful position to offer support to people, as we have something to give that is unique – hope in Jesus.’

The conference runs from 10am to 12noon at New Life Church, Bridlington Avenue, Hull, HU2 0DU. Though brief, the event will present an overview of the local needs, give information on sight loss and introduce Torch Trust’s new outreach and befriending project, Journeying With. There will also be an opportunity to talk to a Christian with sight loss and take part in a practical workshop.

To know more, contact James direct (jamess@torchtrust.org / 07446 898149).


Free resource pack to support your Disability Sunday

Posted: 4th June 2014 by Lin Ball

Free resource pack to support your Disability Sunday Picture

Does your church mark Disability Sunday? If not, why not ask the leadership to consider it? And there’s a free resource pack to help you make it a very special day.

This year Disability Sunday is Sunday 6 July – though if that date doesn’t work for your church calendar, any other Sunday could be chosen.

The purpose of Disability Sunday is for churches to focus on disability and think about how welcoming they are to the disabled people in their communities. How can your church enable disabled people to come along, join in and be part of all that’s going on?

Churches for All – the network of Christian disability organisations of which Torch Trust is part – is offering a free resource pack for Disability Sunday. It will take you step by step through the planning and offers plenty of ideas for the content of the day. There are two sermon outlines, ideas for drama, quizzes, children’s activities, tips for involving disabled people in the event, and links to videos you might add into the programme. There are even templates for invitations and publicity. This year’s pack has been prepared by the Christian disability organisation Through the Roof.

Click here to access the free Disability Sunday pack: Resource pack . If you would like braille or large print versions, contact Torch Trust: email info@torchtrust.org

Discover Torch conference

And, talking of learning about disability, if you live in Hull or the East Riding you are warmly invited to a ‘Discover Torch’ morning conference and workshop. This takes place on Saturday 5 July from 10am to 12 noon at New Life Church in Bridlington Avenue, Hull. To find out more and register, you can contact James Seager ( jamess@torchtrust.org / 07446 898149).


 
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