A new service has been launched at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust providing emotional and practical support to people newly diagnosed with sight loss.
Funded by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Tracey Meddle has started work as a new Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO). Employed by local charity, Southend in Sight, she works five days a week alongside health professionals at the hospital to offer support and advice to blind and partially sighted people on a range of areas. These include independent living, returning to work, benefit entitlements, emotional support, and coping at home.
Tracey said: “The staff here are wonderful and are very supportive, it’s fantastic to have an opportunity to help patients within the Eye Unit with emotional and practical support straight away.
“I’ve got a dedicated room to listen to patients and give them that private time to talk about their diagnosis and about how perhaps they are struggling to come to terms with it or cope with their treatment. I’m there to listen, reassure and help give them the best guidance.”
Karen Looker, RNIB ECLO Service Manager for the East of England, said: “It can be an overwhelming experience being told you are going to lose your sight. That feeling is compounded if people have to deal with it alone.
“ECLOs provide much needed information, advice and guidance. We are extremely pleased to be working with our partners to bring this support and advice to patients attending Southend University Hospital.”
Lucy Martin, CEO of Southend in Sight, said: “I am delighted that we can offer this much-needed service in Southend. Support in those early days is vital and Tracey will be on hand to ensure that people are not alone.”
Niral Karia, Clinical Lead for Ophthalmology across Southend, Basildon and Mid Essex Trusts, said: “Being told that you’re losing your sight can be a traumatic experience. The appointment of an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer will make a huge difference to these patients by providing them with essential support, information and advice when they need it most.
“It’s great for our patients that we are now able to offer this service to them over and above the excellent clinical care that they already receive, thanks to our partnership with RNIB and Southend in Sight.”
To find out more about ECLOs, visit www.rnib.org.uk/ecloinformation
Things are moving forward quickly at Age Concern Southend as we have completed building work on the first floor of The Haven Older People's Community Hub having raised £120,000 so far which enabled us to move our community club, Club 50+, into their new home having lost their previous venue to redevelopment.
However we need another £100,000 to complete the next phase of the project that will help us to create a community cafe, dementia day care centre and rooms for services such as dementia support, bereavement counselling, podiatry and hairdressing.
We are now fighting tooth and nail to raise another £100,000 to help us complete the next phase of the project that will enable us to open a community cafe, dementia day care centre and podiatrists at the hub as well as set up offices and meeting rooms to house bereavement counselling, dementia support, public health, social services and care co-ordination and we need you help to make this dream happen!
We launched a brand new Crowdfunder on Monday the 20th of May to help us get to the £100,000 and need you to help us by sharing our campaign with friends and family and hopefully watch the donations roll in as word spreads about our campaign.
A report into the health and wellbeing of local people is set to be discussed by the council’s Cabinet next week (25th June).
The Director of Public Health’s annual report sets out key priorities for the forthcoming year, whilst also highlighting key findings from the past year.
The report covers all areas of public health in Southend-on-Sea, including smoking, drinking, obesity levels, sexual health, mental health, how local planning of housing impacts public health, and much more, in supporting health improvement and tackling local inequalities.
Over the past year or so, the council has undertaken various joint strategic needs assessments with partners, including Southend CCG, to ascertain the areas of public health in Southend that need improvement, and which areas are currently excelling or improving. This has led to the interim director of public health, Krishna Ramkhelawon, setting out 23 public health outcomes to achieve, linked to the Southend 2050 ambition.
The main focus for public health in 2019/20 in Southend will be:
• Reducing the impact of cardiovascular conditions and diabetes and improving related prevention work
• Improving community safety and building resilience, with a particular focus on our children and young people, and;
• Ensuring that spatial planning incorporates health and wellbeing impacts, and delivers what residents will need to promote their health and wellbeing
These items of focus also feed into two of the four sustainability and transformation partnership’s priorities for 2019 onwards.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The report makes for interesting reading as it allows us to properly evaluate public health within the borough through thorough research and community engagement.
“There are, of course, areas to improve, and that is why this report is vital in deciding the next steps for the forthcoming year. Public health and the needs of local residents has changed drastically over the past few years, however we are confident we are taking the right steps to provide a broad service that caters to the wide-ranging needs of residents keeping them safe and well within the borough, through continued work in the sustainability and transformation partnership.
“Through excellent partnership work with a variety of partners, we have been able to pinpoint the key areas of focus for the next 12 months. The Southend 2050 engagement has led to the creation of specific outcomes and themes that relate to public health, such as ensuring Southenders are remaining well enough to enjoy fulfilling lives, throughout their lives and we are committed to achieving that.”
You can view the report in full by visiting the council’s website.
134 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 7LN
Tel: 01702 345373 www.acsos.co.uk
TALK TO US ABOUT BECOMING A VOLUNTEER
On the 18th of July and the 10th of August 2019, Spinning Yarns Theatre will be running two events, The Recycled Tales, at Club 50+, part of The Haven Community Hub in Hamlet Court Road.
The two events will form part of a local creative project to explore the stories of the communities living in the Southend area, both real and imagined, past and present.
The events will feature the opportunity to listen to Essex folk tales from some of the Spinning Yarns Theatre collective of professional storytellers and then the chance to engage in an informal sharing of memories of growing up and living in the area. Refreshments will be provided and the session will be recorded to help form a memory soundscape for the performance piece.
The project will also engage with local schools and other community groups, and the stories will be collected to become part of and help inform a new performance piece to be showcased at The Dixon Studio in October.
The power of storytelling is to transcend boundaries and build unity and the aims of the project are to connect across generations and communities through shared storytelling.
The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by Southend on Sea Borough Council and has been put together by local professional storyteller and Spinning Yarns founder, Hannah Brailsford.
Part of Spinning Yarns Theatre’s aims is to promote oral storytelling to the region and as Hannah Brailsford says; “the projects aim is to introduce and connect new audiences with performance storytelling, by directly engaging with the communities along the South Essex region and having their voice inform our work.”
Age Concern Southend’s development manager, Claire Slack, said, “We are really excited to be involved in Spinning Yarn Theatre’s project and to be helping connect generations through storytelling. We would love anyone, over 50 or not, to join in these great free events and share their stories of Southend and the surrounding areas!”
The first of the events is being run on the 18th July between 3.15pm and 5.15pm and refreshments will be included. The second event will be part of the Open Day at The Haven Community Hub on the 10th of August. Both events will be held at The Haven Older People
Southend in Sight are delighted to announce that two of their visually impaired bowling teams have qualified for the National Blind Tenpin Bowling Association Finals in Wigan this November. Both the men’s team and the ladies placed third to qualify in their
The Kursaal Flyers have been running since 2009 with a history of success over the years. In May 2017, two teams made it through to the Finals, coming 4th and 11th. In 2014, the first team lifted the trophy and in 2013, the Flyers placed 3 rd and 5 th .
This has been a particularly difficult year for the team with the closure of the Kursaal Bowling Alley. The bowling club meets every Thursday afternoon to compete and practice for the league and has now moved venues to CJs in Hockley. The adjustment to the lanes
and lighting as well as the additional travel hasn’t knocked their confidence. They have not let these setbacks dampen their spirits and have come together determined to succeed.
Lucy Martin, Chief Executive of Southend in Sight said ‘We are tremendously proud of our bowling team. Whilst everyone has their own individual challenges, their hard work and determination has really paid off! We wish the two teams every success at the finals in Wigan – we know they will give it their all.’
The 30 strong team of visually impaired bowlers, including one wheelchair user, are helped at their practice sessions by Southend in Sight volunteers who guide the players up to the line and advise them on the pins left to be knocked down. Each partially sighted bowler has a handicap and plays to their own ability.
The bowling team is in desperate need of more volunteers to help – no bowling experience is needed and full guiding training will be given. If you are free on a Thursday afternoon and interested in
volunteering, please call 01702 342131.
The team is also looking for sponsorship of their trip to the finals to fund the cost of
volunteer guides to support them in Wigan. If any local business would like to help the
charity with these costs, please do get in touch by calling 01702 342131.
For further information about services and assistance offered by the charity, please call
Southend In Sight on 01702 342131, visit the charity at 117 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff-
on-Sea or go to www.southendinsight.org.uk.
Parents and carers of children with special educational needs are invited to have their say on Post 16 opportunities for young people in Southend living with special educational needs.
The parent and guardian event - which is being held at the Park Inn Hotel, Tuesday 17 September – gives parents and carers of children with special educational needs the chance to comment on Post 16 opportunities, find out about what services and support is available, and the chance to watch presentations from community resources centres offering day services.
The views of parents and carers will be welcomed throughout the day, with the event taking place from 9.30am – 2.30pm, and there will be opportunities to ask questions about benefits, job coaches and access to work. Attendees will also receive a free lunch.
Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Events such as this give us the opportunity to hear exactly what we are doing well, and what we can improve.
“I hope we will be able to welcome lots of parents and carers to the event, so that we can help those caring for children with special educational needs understand what support we offer as a local authority.”
Booking is necessary. To book a place, please contact Margaret Wall on 01702 215905.