Our popular Afternoon Tea event returns to Forth Valley Sensory Centre this July with the promise of tea, cakes, coffee and sandwiches a plenty. This year, there will also be an added ingredient – a Bake Off style competition with staff, volunteers, Centre Users and members of the public if they wish, all putting their creations up for judging before our ‘panel’
The event takes place on Thursday 19th July, from 1pm. Tickets are just £8 which entitles the holder to Afternoon Tea and the chance to help judge the Bake Off winner.
There will also be a small raffle on the day. Bake Off entries will be made available for sale with all proceeds to the Centre.
Afternoon Tea tickets are available from reception, get your place booked quickly! It’s a great event to come along to with friends and family.
All the food will be provided by our Cafe team who have really been testing out the baking on our customers in recent weeks with a range of summer based goodies so competition is expected to be fierce. There will be a prize for the overall Bake Off winner although the overall aim is help raise funds and the profile of Forth Valley Sensory Centre in the local community so if you haven’t been along before, this is a great way to get to know us and our work!
If you can help with raffle prizes, that would also be appreciated We are always in need of items for things like this and your gifts make a difference. We are always happy to give credit to businesses where possible too through our social media channels and on our website. For more information follow us on Facebook and Twitter search @FVSensoryCentre or email email@example.com to reserve your Afternoon Tea seat or register for the Bake Off!
Forth Valley Sensory Centre said ‘thank you’ for volunteering to all our volunteers yesterday with a special garden party. MSP Alison Harris presented long service badges and certificates to a large number of volunteers who went on to enjoy sandwiches and cake as well as garden games.
The event marked the start of Volunteer’s Week (1st to the 8th June) which celebrates volunteering of all kinds across the country. To celebrate the role volunteers play at Forth Valley Sensory Centre, all 50 were invited to a ‘garden party’ thank you event.
Volunteer Co-ordinator Caroline Storey said:
“Forth Valley Sensory Centre is a lifeline for many people, described as a ‘second home’ by people who come along to the groups and classes or receive support and guidance from peers and professionals alike.
“We couldn’t perform this vital role without our volunteers who drive our bus, work in our café, assist with events, fundraise and maintain our garden. Not to mention acting as sighted guides for away days and visits or providing BSL support to make sure we are as inclusive and accessible as possible.
“Thank you all for your hard work and dedication!”
The event was attended by Alison Harris MSP who was delighted to be asked to pass on the certificates of thanks and pin badges recognising some volunteer’s exceptionally long service.
“I was proud to be able to pass on my personal thanks to all these wonderful volunteers for all they do. To give up your personal time is something precious but being involved with a charity like Forth Valley Sensory Centre is extremely rewarding and it was clear that all the volunteers get so much from the experience.
“Thank you once again, from myself, and everyone at the Centre for volunteering and making a difference to people with sensory loss in our local community.”
Ten year service badges were given to; David Black, Gordon McNeil, Christine Moroney, John Ormsby, Gillian Orr, John Preston and Peter Wilson. Five year badges were given to; Rita Balloch, Catherine Carmichael and Lee Russell. The event was supported by Asda who donated cakes and treats and Falkirk Delivers with the loan of candy stripe stalls.
Forth Valley Sensory Centre has active volunteer roles open at the moment, especially for drivers and fundraisers. We are wishing to turn the Edinburgh Kiltwalk into a ‘sensory walk’ and raise £4000 to keep our services running. If you could help and are willing to raise a minimum of £60 then the Centre will pay your entry fee and give you a Forth Valley Sensory Centre t-shirt.
The outstanding efforts of John Ormsby, a Forth Valley Sensory Centre-based volunteer supporting local people with hearing loss has been recognised by a national charity.
John Ormsby from Polmont was presented with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s national ‘Passion in Action’ award for the time and care he takes when explaining to people with hearing loss how assistive equipment, such as amplified telephones, door bells and personal listeners, can improve their everyday lives.
On receiving his award, John, a former engineer who has hearing loss himself, said: “I am delighted to have received this award as I enjoy volunteering for Action on Hearing Loss Scotland and supporting other people with hearing loss to make informed decisions about using assistive equipment that best meets their individual needs.
“As a hearing aid user myself, I know it can sometimes still be a struggle to hear everything that is going on around you, but there is a wide range of technology available these days and it’s very satisfying speaking with people about which equipment can help them to hear their television, telephone or conversations more clearly.”
Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “John Ormsby has shown a great aptitude for patiently presenting details about equipment in a simple and easy to understand way for people who have hearing loss visiting Forth Valley Sensory Centre.
“John truly thoroughly deserves to have his dedicated volunteering and life-changing support for hundreds of people across Forth Valley recognised by this award. We hope John enjoys his celebrations and reflects on how his wonderful volunteering has had such positive impacts on the everyday lives of so many people.”
For details about volunteering for Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, email: Volunteering.Scotland@hearingloss.org.uk
John was recently awarded a ‘Hero of Falkirk’ medal by Provost Buchanan following his completion of 4000 hours volunteer service here at the Centre.
You can read more about John’s volunteering, including what got him started and what he gets from it on the Volunteer Scotland website as part of Volunteer’s Week 2018.
How’s your sensory CSR? Are you a company looking to engage more with people with sensory loss? Perhaps you are wanting to make sure you keep up with equality legislation or maybe you are looking for a new charity to support? Then consider Forth Valley Sensory Centre!
Forth Valley Sensory Centre has been supporting people in Forth Valley with sensory loss and their families for over 12 years. The Centre is a Community Hub, offering support, advice, practical help and social opportunities.
We are unique in Scotland and possibly the UK. We know of no other Centre which brings together so many resources and support opportunities in once place.
The numbers of people affected by sensory loss are startling. In the UK 1.7m people have sight loss. In Scotland this figure is 188,000 and in Forth Valley, 1600 people are registered blind or partially sighted. However, many people don’t ask for help until it is too late or simply refuse to accept they may have a sensory condition. RNIB believes the true number could be many times higher in our local area.
It is the same with hearing loss. 1 in 6 people in the UK have hearing loss. 600 people in Forth Valley have profound hearing loss or are Deaf without speech. Many more have lost their hearing as they age and it is estimated that the number of people with vision and hearing loss will double in the next 15 years due to our aging population.
We will all know someone affected by sensory loss and the support the Centre provides to people affected as well as friends and family is vital. For service or retail focused businesses too it also means a huge potential market.
There is no beating around a bush, as a charity, Forth Valley Sensory Centre needs to bring in around £4000 each month in fundraising in order to operate. A donation to the Centre, perhaps through ad hoc events, like a bake sale, is always welcome. Or, how about encouraging your staff to get involved with an event such as The Kiltwalk and choose Forth Valley Sensory Centre as the beneficiary. Get in touch beforehand and we’ll be sure to promote your event! These events are great for team building so CSR can have many benefits to your business.
Perhaps it would be better to put things on a more formal footing though? Why not make us your charity of the year? We worked very closely with TSB Bank in Falkirk when we were their charity partner through 2016/2017 regularly photographing fundraising events in the branch and inviting staff into the Centre.
Volunteering is a great way to support our Centre, either through access to knowledge and skills which we might otherwise prove to be cost prohibitive or through days out to help with our garden or at one of our events, for example the charity shop. Volunteering is very rewarding for all involved and we have some great feedback, it’s also a great way to develop your CSR with staff appreciating the time spent on a good cause. It gives staff a chance to get to know each other better and work as a team without the pressure of the usual work environment.
CSR doesn’t have to be cash or time. We are always happy to accept raffle prizes, tombola and other gifts that will help our Centre. Perhaps you have some excess stock we could use in our annual charity shop? Are you looking to promote a new service or make your company stand out? Perhaps we could help with a promotion on our webpage or Centre users might enjoy a discount on your services? Whatever it is, we can usually find a benefit or a way to work with you. Just get in touch!
We are not backwards in showing our gratitude. In the past 12 months Forth Valley Sensory Centre has featured on BBC Online, BBC Radio 4, BBC Ouch, Insight Radio, STV and featured in The Sun, Falkirk Herald, Alloa Advertiser and Stirling Observer as well as numerous trade titles.
All of this has led to a big uptake in our social media presence and our Facebook page now reaches around 10,000 people in the local area each month. We would be happy to work with you on joint activities and mention you on all our media releases where possible.
We’d also add you to our webpage under a specific supporter’s page. This would link to your website and show people with sensory loss that yours is an organisation which understands their needs and takes them seriously. A recent training event with First Bus resulted in coverage in local and trade media valued at £2500 alongside support on Twitter with our endorsement for good customer service.
Sensory Awareness Training is a fantastic way to show people that you take support for people with sensory loss seriously. It also demonstrates to people with a hearing or sight condition that yours is a business they should confidently engage with. The Deaf community in particular is very close knit and will regularly recommend shops, restaurants and outings that they feel welcome and safe in.
Similarly for people with sight loss, visiting new places can be very worrying. Like any new customer, first impressions count but for someone with sight loss, it only takes a few small adjustments to demonstrate you understand their specific needs and make them feel welcome. A person that feels like their custom is wanted is a customer that will come back time and again.
Training can take place at our Centre or at your place of business. We have successfully trained a number of different companies including Solicitors for Older People Scotland and First Bus (First Midland Bluebird) who both made changes to procedures as a result of the training they had received and garnered positive feedback as a result. We have also provided awareness training for staff in Next Homestore and Tesco.
We can tailor our training to your organisation, focusing on hearing or sight loss as needed. We use specialist vision simulation glasses and ear defenders to give practical advice which supplements important theoretical learning. We can also provide, if needed, basic BSL training on the day, giving staff their first go at finger spelling.
Sensory Awareness training is great for team building and staff at all levels can take part.
Staff from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recently volunteered in the Centre as part of their Community 10k challenge, to provide 10,000 hours of unpaid work in the local community. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:
“On Friday 24 November I volunteered to attend Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Camelon, Falkirk.
“Forth Valley Sensory Centre is a place where people with a visual or hearing loss, their friends, families, carers and the wider community can access quality services and advice from partner organisations. The centre is not just for people with sensory impairment and is open to the wider community. Some of the facilities on offer include a café, sensory garden and sensory room.
“Each year the centre hosts a Christmas Fayre and they rely on volunteers to decorate the centre and set up the event. The event was scheduled for Saturday 25 November.
“Myself and three other volunteers from DWP were met by Caroline who is the volunteer co-ordinator. Caroline gave us a tour of the centre and introduced us to the staff and some centre users. It was very interesting to see some of the gadgets and gizmos that the centre can supply to people with hearing and/or sight loss to assist them with everyday tasks. This included talking microwave ovens, suction coffee cups which cannot be knocked over and flashing smoke alarms.
“Most memorable person I met was David, who makes the soup each day for the café and also runs a personal safety course for centre users. David also makes intricate models of people and animals from aluminium foil, some of these models are dotted around the centre. David was a cheeky chap who had plenty to say to us when he heard we were from DWP – most of it positive, despite the fact that he has had some not so positive encounters with this organisation in the past! David is completely blind, and is one of the most positive, energetic people I have ever met. He buzzes around the centre using only his white stick to assist him and he interacts with pretty much everyone who walks through the door!
“I had lunch in the café and David’s leek and potato soup was delicious, as was the banoffee muffin I had for dessert!
“Between the four DWP volunteers we set up and decorated three Christmas trees, set up Santa’s grotto, decked the halls with lots of tinsel and set up the tables in the main hall for the fayre. A very busy but satisfying day was had by all.
“The centre really does rely on volunteers throughout the year and I would encourage my colleagues to volunteer through C10k for any future advertised events. Failing that, if you are in need of a nice bowl of soup or a cake then pop into the café and support this fabulous organisation.”
Karen Forsyth, DWP
Our Talk and Sign Group had another great trip out recently, taking in a special tour of The Kelpies in Falkirk.
The iconic structures sit in their own special ‘Kelpies Hub’ at a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The extension, officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2017 and named Queen Elizabeth II Canal in her honour links the 228 year old canal with the River Forth, improving navigation in the area and becoming a huge tourist attraction.
The 30 metre high Kelpies weigh 300 tonnes each and were actually opened to the public in October 2013. They are part of the larger £43m Helix Project which includes a large open space for families to enjoy being outdoors together.
Scottish artist Andy Scott designed The Kelpies to be, “water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth and Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians” and the result is certainly a thing to behold.
Our Talk and Sign Group took every advantage of their glimpse inside the sculptures, given a first-hand view of the construction and story of The Kelpies.
The evening continued with a trip to The Grange Manor Hotel in Grangemouth for drinks and conversation.
The next Talk and Sign Group event is a trip to Police Scotland’s training facility at Tulliallan on 18th June. Open to anyone of any age with any level of hearing loss, our Talk and Sign Group is always open to new members. For more information, see our Facebook page or contact Brenda at the Centre.
For more information on our other groups and classes, as well as the Talk and Sign Group, see our What’s On page here.