Yearly Archives: 2015

Wayfindr guides VI through Euston Tube St

wayfindr guides participants through Euston Tube station

What if vision impaired people could navigate independently using their smartphones?

Original article on RLSB website

Our latest trial guides participants through Euston Tube station, giving audio directions from a prototype smartphone app that interacts with beacons installed throughout the station.

To tackle the challenge of independent travel for vision impaired people, Wayfindr is setting the standard for audio navigation using your smartphone. We are working so that wherever you are in the world, indoors or outdoors, you can navigate independently.

Watch the video

The Wayfindr Story

In March 2014 the RLSB Youth Forum released England’s first ever manifesto for vision impaired young people. It represents the views of vision impaired young people, to bring the community together and make changes that will improve life for future generations. One of the key issues highlighted in the manifesto is transport:

“Just like many young people our age, particularly in London, we rely on public transport to get around, to see our friends, get to college and to work. Unlike our sighted peers we cannot learn to drive; we have no choice but to rely on public transport and other people to get around.”

Watch RLSB’s Youth Forum’s video on transport

ustwo worked with members of the Youth Forum to imagine technology-enabled ways to make independent travel more feasible. Following journeys by the ustwo team on the London Underground under conditions of simulated limited sight, and the rapid prototyping and testing of potential solutions with Youth Forum members, a working prototype of Wayfindr was created.

The Wayfindr Standard

The more we explored the world of navigation apps, the more it became clear that what was needed was a consistent standard to be implemented across wayfinding systems. This will open up a world where vision impaired people are no longer held back by their sight loss. To make this a reality, in September 2015 we launched Wayfindr, a new nonprofit venture alongside the ustwo to create the first Open Standard for Audio-based Wayfinding.

The Wayfindr Standard consists of guidelines on how to best integrate Wayfindr in your built environment or digital navigation service, built on a foundation of rigorous user research. Wayfindr creates an experience for vision impaired people that is consistent, seamless and reliable, empowering them to move independently through their environment. Read more on www.wayfindr.net.

Wayfindr began trialling a complex installation in London’s Euston Station in November 2015, investigating how the system could work across a large station both for vision impaired people and the station operators. Read more about the London Underground trial.

Wayfindr: The Next Steps

In December 2015 Google.org supported Wayfindr through the Global Impact Challenge: Disabilities. RLSB recieved a $1m grant towards the Wayfindr project, which will allow Wayfindr to set the open standard. The first release of the Wayfindr Standard, for underground and rail stations, is set to launch early 2016.

Want to get in touch about this? Contact Wayfindr’s Katherine Payne at katherine@wayfindr.net or call 020 7808 6178.‬‬

 

Blind Sailing Week 2015 by Stephen Pat

Above: Photo looking back the stern with the helms woman steering the yacht at an angle on the sea

A week of Sailing for the visually impaired, where VI are treated as very important people, not visually impaired passengers.The whole experience was so well organised and planned, I felt informed at every stage, from the initial communication which was clear and thorough. I did have some problems with the email application and medical forms, however this was just a program compatibility issue, which I have addressed with the organisers.

All the essential itinerary information was supplied and comprehensive such as arrival times, where to go on arrival and who to speak to. I felt at ease with all the administration stages and the Blind sailing week organisers are very thorough, ensuring all your dietary and medical needs are met or to the best of their ability. This was all done sensitively and in an empathetic manner and I felt if I had a specific need, I could talk to the organiser in confidence.

Saturday
Following the itinerary sent in an email. I travelled by train to Southampton Central and I took a taxi to Ocean Village, alternative forms of transport are available but a cab was the quickest and convenient. On arrival at Ocean Village. I presented myself to the volunteer organisers who contacted my crew for the week, I met Grant Morris our skipper and his first mate Dave Morgan. Grant had contacted me prior to the sailing week to introduce himself and forward useful information such as essential kit. And the plan for the week. We didn’t set sail on the Saturday as the focus was on settling everyone in, which was nice and easy start to the week,

Grant and Dave took me and my fellow VI crew member to our Yacht which is a Sweden 39Ft named Outreach. We were informed she was an excellent sailing boat and she looked and felt the part. Grant and Dave re-affirmed to us that we could do as much or as little as we wanted. However I was not going to waste an opportunity like this to pass me by. We settled in and went through the do and don’t s over tea and coffee. After our refreshments we got to explore and get familiar with the boat, all done in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.

That evening we had a welcoming Dinner at the Yacht club, which was a good opportunity to meet other crews and VI, I meet a lot of people that night, I found out that many crews and VI have been participating in Blind sailing week for many years and there was also a lot of new crew and VI. All the people I met were positive, encouraging, enthusiastic, kind and generous, the meal was excellent and atmosphere even better. It was a lovely easy start to the week. We got back to the Boat and settled in for the night.

Sunday
We had a leisurely start and went through some essential safety information. At this point I could talk extensively about the sailing however I don’t want to bombard the reader with Nautical terms and I could never truly articulate the sailing experience, as being there with the wind in your face, smell of the sea and excitement of sailing is something you need to experience for yourself.

We set sail to Chichester Harbour, there were 5 other boats in our fleet but every boat took their own way to Chichester. Our boat had a leisurely sail to Chichester and we got to develop our sailing knowledge such as Boat parts, knots, vocabulary and how things worked. During the sail we were offered refreshment at set intervals and lunched at appropriate times which usually meant calm seas. We arrived at Chichester harbour were we moored up along a pontoon, next to the early arrivals from our fleet, other members of our fleet arrived later. We had a lovely gathering on the pontoon with the other members of the fleet, this is also known as a pontoon party. Each boat takes it in turn to host a party, the hosts usual provide drinks and snacks. It is a great way to meet other crews and exchange stories/experiences of the day’s sail. After the party we headed back to our boat were we had dinner on board, after dinner we relaxed and settled in for the night some crews took the opportunity to go ashore but we settled in for the night, resting ourselves for the next day sail.

Monday
We sailed west to Beaulieu, it was good day of sailing and we took turns helming (steering) the boat. At appropriate times we stopped for breaks and lunch, usual anchoring or mooring up at a buoy.
After a good day of sailing we moored up at Gin’s Farm which is part of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club.
When all 6 boats moored up we had a pontoon party and we chatted and exchanged stories of the day. All the crews were booked in for a curry dinner at the Yacht club, were we had a good dinner and drinks, after dinner we explored the beautiful Gin’s farm, which has a variety of wildlife including Oyster catchers. Afterwards we headed back to the boat and settled in ready for the next day of sailing.

Tuesday
We had a long sail heading west, out of the Solent towards Poole harbour. As our sailing knowledge and experience developed we were given more opportunity to take control. We used an audio compass to steer the boat. The audio compass is a device which emits 2 different sounds, one is high pitched and the other is low pitched. Left or Port is high and right or starboard Low. There are several versions of this device and we used the one with an earpiece. It is easy use but total concentration is required. We anchored south of Brownsea Island and met up with other crews. There was no pontoon this evening so the boats moored up to each other.

Wednesday
We set sail, back to the Solent and headed towards Lymington for an overnight stop.

Thursday
We sailed around the Solent and moored up in Yarmouth. We went ashore and had a pub meal afterwards we wandered around the town.

Friday
The return sail to Southampton was leisurely and we arrived back early in anticipations of the final night’s dinner. The dinner was a happy yet sad evening. It was a celebration of all the weeks sailing, we had speeches from the organisers, reports from spokespeople from each fleet, who reported on their experiences and commemorative plaques were handed to the skippers of each boat. The food was excellent and everyone mingled about, chatting and laughing,
The only sad part is that another Blind sailing week was over and we would have to wait another year. Friendships were made and lives are changed.

Saturday
This was a slightly sad day, a lot of farewells to new friends and the long journey home. The day was made easier by volunteers who organised lifts to the train station. I really didn’t want to go home.
It would be too easy and cliché to say my experience was life changing, however I can honestly say this has been an extremely positive experience and I would encourage all VI to give Blind sailing week a try. The sailing is the focal point but it is the people that make Blind sailing week a success. If someone asked me if I would attend another sailing week the answer would be a resounding yes. So bring on Cornwall 2016 and I hope to get a place and meet old friends make new ones and hopefully meet Metro Blind sports members there.

Many thanks to the following people and organisations for making Blind Sailing week happen

Metro Blind Sports, Amanda Green, Will Bridge, Grant Morris, Dave Morgan, Royal Southampton Yacht Club,UKSA

And to all the volunteers: Skippers, crew and helpers. VI and everyone else involved with Blind sailing week.

Article by Stephen Pat

Blind and Vision Impaired Regional Tennis Series 2016

Tennis Foundation
Venue:
Multiple: Birmingham.Cambridge,London, Northumberland, York
Time:
Contact Regional Organiser - TBC
Phone:
0208 487 7068
Date:
20th March 2016
Cost:
£18


Regional Tournament Information

I am pleased to provide you more information regarding the Blind & Vision Impaired Tennis regional tournaments that are taking place this year. Here is a reminder of the details for each tournament:

Date
Location
Organiser
Tournament Code
20 Mar
London
Luke Mulvihill
07734 468 660
SUR15W6885
10 Apr
Birmingham
Simon Lancaster
07946 469 506
WAR16S1159
14 -15 May
Northumberland
Steve Trewick
07889762580
NTB16S1160
16 July
Cambridge
Alex Wheen
07745343948
CAM16S1161
7 Aug
York
Andy Crockett
07926172939
YOR16S1162

The first one to kick off the year is being held at Sutton Tennis Academy on the 20 March.  If you would like to enter please follow the steps below.  If you have already entered on-line please contact Sutton Tennis Academy reception team on 0208 641 6611 to make payment (£18) by debit or credit card.  Please note this payment needs to be made before the entry deadline.

1)  On-line entry via the Competitions Search Tool –

http://www3.lta.org.uk/Competitions/Search/
You will need to be a British Tennis Member in order to enter on-line. If you have any problems or would like further information please email disabilitytennis@tennisfoundation.org.uk or phone myself on 0208 487 7068.

Please follow these steps in order to enter:

  • Go to www.lta.org.uk
  • Click on Members – Log in or sign up today
  • Sign up to BTM membership if you are not already a member
  • Log in to your profile
  • Go to COMPETE – Find a competition
  • At the bottom of the screen there is a box where you can enter the tournament code or name.  You will find each tournament code in the tournament information above.
  • Click on the event(s) you wish to enter, click on add to basket & then checkout.
  • Please enter the category you wish to play in (players can enter one category above their sight classification)
  • Please pay the entry fee as stated for each tournament.

Please note all B5 players should enter the B4 category as the on-line entry system doesn’t have a B5 category option.

2) If you are unable to complete the online entry please use these short links below of the entry form for the Sutton tournament in word format: http://bit.ly/1SnG07Q or in a editable PDF format: http://bit.ly/20jadJm

For other tournaments please contact the tournament organiser for each tournament & they will send you a paper entry form.

An internal prioritisation system will be in place for each tournament & players from within the region that the tournament is taking place will be accepted first.  This should allow all players to be able to participate in at least one regional tournament.

Classification

All players participating in a regional tournament will need to have a BBS classification.  After the entry deadline all entries will be checked by the tournament organiser with BBS.  Players are permitted to enter one category above their classification but they must play to the rules of that classification.  If you don’t currently have a sight classification through BBS you can find out more information by clicking here

Format and Rules

Please click here  for a document outlining the rules & format that will be in place for each tournament.  This document should answer all your questions but if it doesn’t please phone or email me & I will try to answer your questions as best as I can!

If you have any queries about the specific events please contact the relevant tournament organiser or if you have any other general queries please contact the Tennis Foundation.  At the end of the series I would really value constructive feedback from players, tournament organisers & referees so please keep a note of what you feel is good & what could maybe be improved for next year.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news at www.tennisfoundation.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @TennisFndation

Good luck!
Kind regards
Kirsty Thomson
Disability Tournament Director

Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Tournament Series 2016

Tennis Foundation

I am excited to announce the introduction of the Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Tournament Series.  This series consists of 5 regional tournaments in London, Birmingham, Northumberland, York & Cambridge.  There will also be the National Blind and Visually Impaired Tennis Championships at the end of the year which we are again hoping to hold at the NTC in Roehampton (date TBC but at the moment is pencilled in 22 – 23 Oct 2016).

In order to enter the Nationals, all players will need to compete in one or more regional tournament in 2016.  The results for each regional tournament will be taken into account when doing the seeding’s for the nationals.

Entries

You can enter each of the tournaments by two different methods.  Please note the entry deadline for each tournament is 4 weeks before the tournament.  The withdrawal deadline is 1 week before the start of the tournament.  If you pay on-line & withdraw after the withdrawal deadline your entry fee will not be refunded.

An internal prioritisation system will be in place for each tournament & players from within the region that the tournament is taking place will be accepted first.  This should allow all players to be able to participate in at least one regional tournament.

1)  On-line entry via the Competitions Search Tool – http://www3.lta.org.uk/Competitions/Search/

The first two tournaments in London & Birmingham will open for entries as soon as possible but definitely by the second week of January.  I will let you know when they are open.  Please note that tournaments are only published until the end of May at present.

You will need to be a British Tennis Member in order to enter on-line.  If you are not already a member more information about how to join can be found by clicking here  Membership is FREE if you are a member of a registered club, park or tennis centre.  If you have any problems or would like further information about how to join please email disabilitytennis@tennisfoundation.org.uk or contact the British Tennis Services Team on 0208 487 7000.

Please follow these steps in order to enter:

  • Go to www.lta.org.uk
  • Click on Members – Log in or sign up today
  • Sign up to BTM membership if you are not already a member
  • Log in to your profile
  • Go to COMPETE – Find a competition
  • At the bottom of the screen there is a box where you can enter the tournament code or name.  You will find each tournament code below:

 

Date
Location
Organiser
Code
20th March
London
TBC
SUR15W6885
10th April
Birmingham

Simon Lancaster

Email: Simon

07946 469 506

WAR16S1159
14th & 15thMay
Northumberland

Steve Trewick

Email: Steve

07889762580

NTB16S1160
16th July
Cambridge

Alex Wheen

Email: Alex

07745343948

CAM16S1161
7th August
York

Andy Crockett

Email: Andy

07926172939

YOR16S1162

 

2)  If you are unable to complete the online entry please contact the tournament organiser for each event & they will complete a paper entry for you.

 Classification

All players participating in a regional tournament will need to have a BBS classification.  After the entry deadline all entries will be checked by the tournament organiser with BBS.  Players are permitted to enter one category above their classification but they must play to the rules of that classification.  If you don’t currently have a sight classification through BBS you can find out more information by clicking here

Format

All tournaments will be run using the rules that have been agreed internationally & at the advisory board.  A copy of these rules will be published on the Tennis Foundation website & on the competitions site where you enter the tournaments in January.

If you have any queries about the specific events please contact the relevant tournament organiser or if you have any other general queries please contact the Tennis Foundation.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news at www.tennisfoundation.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @TennisFndation

article by Kirsty Thomson

ParkRun – Sat 6 Feb 2016

London Parkrun List
Venue:
Choose the nearest ParkRun from the list below
Time:
Every Saturday 9.00am - TBD
Phone:
Date:
06th February 2016
Cost:
Free
Contact:


Quick link to the London Parkrun List               Quick Link to all Parkruns in the UK 

Parkrun is the UK’s most successful provider of free physical activity, and has more than one million registered participants. There are 360 5k events across the UK and more than 70 junior parkrun events (2k for 4-14 year olds). Every week we welcome about 75,000 people and 8,000 volunteers to our events.

We have many VI participants, as runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers. However, we are keen to encourage more VI people and their families to take part.take place in the same location at the same time each week. This enables people to develop familiarity with the course and also the other participants (who generally attend most weeks) 

To take part all you need to do is register on www.parkrun.org.uk and head down to your local event.    If you would feel more comfortable contacting someone beforehand, and perhaps arranging for someone to act as a guide or helping hand.

Quick link to the London Parkrun List

please email the Event Director whose contact details are on the individual event’s website.

We believe that the events are accessible for those that are VI because they: 

  • have a strong sense of community spirit and mutual support and encouragement
  • are not races, and hence non-intimidating 
  • allow dogs (including guide dogs) 
  • do not require special equipment


We also have a large number of parkrunners who are trained and willing to be running guides.We are incredibly keen to welcome the VI community to parkrun.

London ParkRun List

  1.    Ally Pally
  2.    Barking
  3.    Beckton
  4.    Bedfont Lakes
  5.    Bexley
  6.    Brockwell
  7.    Bromley
  8.    Burgess
  9.    Bushy Park
  10.    CranePark
  11.    Crystal Palace
  12.    Dulwich
  13.    Finsbury Park
  14.    Fulham Palace
  15.    Gladstone
  16.    Greenwich
  17.    Grovelands
  18.    Gunnersbury
  19.    Gunpowder
  20.    Hackney Marshes
  21.    Hampstead Heath
  22.    Harrow
  23.    Harrow Lodge
  24.    Highbury Fields
  25.    Hilly Fields
  26.    Kingston
  27.    Lloyd
  28.    Mile End
  29.    Nonsuch
  30.    Northala Fields
  31.    Oak Hill
  32.    Old Deer Park
  33.    Orpington
  34.    Osterley
  35.    Peckham Rye
  36.    Pymmes
  37.    Raphael
  38.    Richmond Park
  39.    Riddlesdown
  40.    Roundshaw Downs
  41.    South Oxhey
  42.    Southwark
  43.    Valentines
  44.    Walthamstow
  45.    Wanstead Flats
  46.    Wimbledon Common
  47.    Wormwood Scrubs

If you find the London Parkrun List useful,  please feel free to share below.