Thursday, 28 February 2019

Last Christmas at SRSB - Amy

Christmas at SRSB is always fun, with lots of things to do for clients, supporters and volunteers. I bet the staff have a bit of a party too! 
Last year was a pretty rubbish year for me health wise so I had to take quite a long time off from the blog. By Christmas I was just about ready to come back and see everyone again. So I decided to go to the volunteers party and to one of the Christmas lunches. I was really nervous before the volunteers party. It sounds a bit silly but it had been three months since I had last been to SRSB or seen anybody from SRSB.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go, but I knew I would enjoy it when I got there. It was just my brain confusing me with negative thoughts as usual. I always used to follow these thoughts because they say you should always go with your gut instinct. I have learnt over the years that my gut instinct seems to be faulty. So I do the opposite! I am better off for doing it that way. As I expected, my gut instinct was wrong. I did enjoy myself. There were friends, food, music, coffee and Christmas sparkle. What else could I possibly want? I got lots of hugs and people saying they were glad to see me back. That always means a great deal to me, feeling loved and wanted and missed if I’m not around. So I left the party feeling very happy and excited to start work again in the new year. SRSB is such a lovely, friendly place. I always leave feeling warm and happy. It is just one of those places that you walk in to and instantly you feel the love, you feel welcome and you feel at home. There aren’t many places where you get that feeling. Especially when you are visually impaired. You are never made to feel awkward or different. Sight loss is our way of living here, it’s how we function, it’s how we work, it’s what we are respected for and we are always made to feel normal. As if there is no different, as if the outside world doesn’t exist. 

When I came for Christmas lunch I arranged it well so that I could go in the same day as some of my friends. There is always a Christmas tree in reception and they have Gerry Kersey from BBC Radio Sheffield to come and switch on the lights. They make it an event every year and have a few songs and a bit of a get together. When you go through into the dining area the room looks huge with a very long table. It’s a bit noisy and scary at first but I got used to it. The table was set with Christmas table cloths and crackers and napkins. All very festive. The arts and crafts group had made some decorations for the walls. The meal was cooked and served by mostly volunteers. They will have had so much hard work to do even just on one day. There is a Christmas lunch every say for five days so they must have been exhausted. They did a brilliant job though.  They have a raffle on each day and I won so many prizes I felt really guilty about it. I offered some of my prizes to people but nobody would take them! I thought about sharing them with everyone in the office but the only one I could really share was the selection box and that was mine!  Sorry :-) I heard that the day before I went, some of the Sheffield Wednesday players visited SRSB, so you never know who you might bump in to. 

Being in such a friendly and festive environment really cheered me up. It felt like I hadn’t been away and I was really looking forward to starting volunteering again in the new year. 

Now I am back and can’t wait to hear from you and all about what you have been up to recently.  Please share it with us so we can use it on the blog.  Email us at  Alternatively you can speak to Jane or me, Amy, in the Mappin Street Centre. 

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Looking Forward to Summer! - Graham

A few years ago I invented a completely new ice cream treat and have been having it ever since from Mr Ronksley our local ice cream van man...

Based on the fact that the 99 cornet is an intrinsically flawed design, fantastic at first but turns into a bit of an anti-climax at the end with just a bit of dry cornet that usually gets fed to the dog....


I started asking Mr Ronksley to slot the flake down the inside of the cornet BEFORE topping it with the ice cream and sauce etc.

It is a winner. No more anti-climax. Instead, a 'hidden surprise'.

I have been having this now for a few years and have at least 2 other converts (the grandchildren) but other than that, the world has carried on as if this amazing invention doesn't exist...

Then... My daughter dropped me round a small bag of the new lower sugar Cocoa Pops to try and I had an even better idea than the 'Hidden Surprise'.

I dipped my chocolate ice cream 'Hidden Surprise' into the cocoa crispies and they stuck to the ice cream. It looked good, so I dipped it again and rolled the edge in them as well.
Amazing doesn't even cover the result... The 'Cocoa Pop Chocolate Hidden Surprise' knocks everything else out of the ball park...


Friday, 1 February 2019

My Experience at Tramlines in 2018 - Amy

In July last year I had a very special few days. If you have read my other posts you will have noticed that I love a bit of public attention. I love putting my writing out there, I love being out and about doing things for SRSB and I love being on the radio.  You could say I’m a bit of an attention seeker! 

I had the opportunity to go to the Tramlines Festival. This is a big music festival in Sheffield that has grown bigger and bigger over the years.  Being a visually impaired person, when I think Tramlines, I think scary, daunting, extremely busy and very cramped. I have never really had an interest in festivals, but SRSB had been given some tickets from Tickets for Good. The tickets were weekend passes, which is extremely generous of them. I was also told that BBC Look North were interested in talking to whoever had the tickets.  So how could I refuse?  A free visit to Tramlines and my first opportunity to be on the telly.  As Tickets for Good had given SRSB two tickets, the other ticket went to Simon, a client of SRSB and motivational speaker. We were both able to apply for carers passes, as we both needed somebody to go with us. Simon took his wife and children, and I took my friend Chloe. Jane from SRSB also came with us. 

A month before the festival we had a meeting with Sarah and Cathy Booth from Look North. This was to discuss plans for filming and to become more aware of what they wanted from us. Sarah and Cathy were both really lovely and friendly. 

The day before the festival, filming started.  I was so nervous.  More nervous than I had been on the radio. When I got to SRSB, Simon had started his filming. When it was my turn I was thinking, I don’t want to do this!  But I did really. My job was to sit and pretend to work on the blog on a computer. I just scrolled through the blog and then did some typing. They said the first word had to be Tramlines, but then I could write whatever I wanted. So I just wrote whatever was in my head. Tramlines, Chloe and how I knew Chloe.  We then did an interview.  I got to wear one of those little microphones! My first question was, “what did you have for breakfast?” Random question, but they said it was to check the sound. The next question was “what is your name, and how do you spell it?”  Everybody does struggle with that one. It’s Rollitt, the o, is pronounced like it is in “on” But because it is spelt Roll, many people think like sausage roll.  I have even been called Rowlitt, like in growl. So that question was a useful one.  Then we went on to talk about my sight, support I had at school, and how I felt about going to Tramlines. Then we were done.  It was Joanne’s turn next.  Joanne is the Deputy General Manager of SRSB. 

After we had done the filming I felt very excited and very pleased with how it went. I felt a lot more relaxed about the filming we would be doing at Tramlines the next day. 

On the big day we all got a ride on the SRSB minibus to Hillsborough park, where the main festival was this year. It was their first year at the park this year, before they had been at Devonshire Green and Ponderosa Park. I thought this would make it worse, so much more space to fit so many more people.  But actually everything was so spread out, there was so much space.  There was nobody awkwardly in my personal space while I was watching bands, every group of friends had their own space and freedom. Me and Chloe wandered around for a while, checking out the place and Simon and his family went to check out the family area. Shortly after Cathy came and we started talking filming again. She asked us to do whatever we would usually do at a festival and to act natural. I didn’t know how to act natural, I hadn’t been to one before!  So we decided to sit on the grass and watch a band. They filmed us walking and then sitting down. When we were sat, Cathy then came to ask me a few questions about how I was feeling and what I was thinking. One of the questions was, “what would you say to a visually impaired person who was thinking about coming here for the first time?”  I didn’t sound very convincing at all, the end of my answer was “you’ll probably enjoy it”. Then I realised I should sound more enthusiastic than that so I said “I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.” Let’s just say a certain person found my answer hilarious. We had a big laugh about it afterwards. 

Then we had finished. Cathy went off to talk to the famous people, not as famous as me obviously ha ha! Then it started raining, a lot. Me, Chloe and Jane all went and found shelter under an umbrella. We were all cold, soaked and covered in grass. The rain wasn’t giving in so we decided to leave. 

I went back to Chloe’s house where we sat with Chloe’s husband and son and watched ourselves on the telly.  I didn’t sound as good as I did on the radio, they definitely chose the funniest bits. We had such a laugh. 

So I would like to say a massive, MASSIVE thank you to SRSB, Tramlines, Tickets for Good, Cathy Booth and BBC Look North for giving me a truly amazing experience. And you know where I am if you want me for anything else!