• Useful Vision
  • Friday 19th August 2022


Summer Fest ’22 Round Up

Exclusively for teens, Summer Fest ’22 was a brand-new addition to our program of activities for visually impaired young people, taking place over 3 Fridays from the 29th July to 12th August. Summer Fest ’22 was designed to empower Useful Vision’s community of 12 – 18-year-olds to develop independence, confidence and learn new skills. Our young people had the chance to try new activities and form friendships in a social and supportive environment.

Create-A-Plate: Design & Dine with Nourish Food School

Summer Fest ’22 launched with Create-A-Plate, a creative cooking class in collaboration with Nourish Food School. This hands-on session focused on intuitive eating and making the most of ingredients you might already have in the fridge. We used fresh, seasonal produce to create a delicious three-course meal of butternut squash rolls, chicken, spinach and cheese filled flatbreads, and berry cheesecake.

After cooking, we sat around the dining table together, sampling our culinary creations and chatting about our favourite recipes. One attendee said: ‘I loved the cooking experience and eating the savoury dishes especially’ while another commented that it was ‘great meeting new people and learning new skills’

Nourish Food School did a fantastic job of supporting our young people by adapting the class to incorporate aids such as talking scales and iPads with screen readers. Nourish Food School attended visual impairment awareness training at the Useful Vision offices, facilitated by Vision & Hearing Support. The Chronicle Sunshine Fund provides funding for specialist equipment to children aged 0-18 living in the North East of England and can be used to purchase equipment such as the talking scales used in the Create-a-Plate cookery session.

Find more about the scales used here: Cobolt Systems Ltd :: Home

Following the event, we received some wonderful feedback from parents: ‘Thank you to everyone who helped my son to settle into his first teenage activity, so proud that he managed to attend this independently as well that was such a big achievement for him & it wouldn’t have been possible without all of the amazing staff/volunteers and the incredible work you all do to help encourage & support!’

Seas The Day: Paddleboarding at Cullercoats Bay

Our second activity was an afternoon of stand-up paddleboarding at Cullercoats bay in partnership with CBK Adventures. We spent two hours exploring the water, followed by fish & chips on the beach. For many of our participants, it was their first time trying their hand at paddleboarding and it was fantastic to see them filled with confidence and enthusiasm at taking on a new challenge. It certainly helped that knowledgeable and supportive staff at CBK Adventures were on hand to ensure the activity was both fun and fully accessible.

CBK Adventures were proactive in adapting their coaching style to meet the needs of visually impaired children. Instead of visually demonstrating paddleboarding techniques, CBK staff had thought carefully about verbal descriptions and tactile markers to orientate participants. They offered 1-to-1 support throughout and utilised sighted guiding techniques.

Our feedback reflected the hard work of the CBK staff. One parent commented: ‘This activity was well thought out and CBK were excellent!’ another said: ‘It was a great afternoon and gave my daughter the chance to do something out of her comfort zone.  Thank you very much.”

To find out more about CBK or to book your own SUP lesson, visit their website: CBK Adventures | Kayak and SUP School in North East England

AchieVIng Success: Exclusive Q&A with Visually Impaired Stars

Summer Fest ‘22 concluded with AchieVIng Success, a speakers day featuring visually impaired role models, including entrepreneur and Paralympian Souleyman Bah, Team GB long jumper and DJ Zak Skinner, Useful Vision Alumni Darren Tambin, and blogger & radio presenter Holly Tuke aka Life of A Blind Girl. Hosted at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, an art gallery and premier meeting & conference venue, the day consisted of motivational presentations, a live Q&A, an exclusive pre-recorded video from Life of A Blind Girl and a luxury buffet including chicken and cheese focaccias, beetroot and feta salad, baked ricotta cheesecake, broccoli with toasted almonds and chili oil, cheese & onion quiche, and mini sausage rolls. Yum!

Each presentation encouraged important conversations about navigating life as a young person with a visual impairment. Our first speaker, Souleyman Bah, is an entrepreneur, who featured on season 15 of BBC’s The Apprentice and a Paralympian competing in Athletics for Team GB. Souleyman’s virtual presentation focused on top tips for staying motivated and how to prioritise and improve mental health. Following Souleyman was a live Q&A our very own Darren Tambin, who attended Useful Vision activities as a child and recently graduated with a degree in Drama. Darren discussed accessing higher education, travel, and the importance of unapologetically being yourself. Due to work commitments, Life of a Blind Girl blogger Holly Tuke, could not attend in person but she filmed an exclusive video presentation for Useful Vision about embracing visual impairment, being proud of yourself, and finding a supportive community. Holly hosts a radio show which is a mix of chat and music, with a focus on sight loss, mental health, mindfulness, and overall wellbeing. Holly’s radio show, Happy Hour, is on RNIB Connect Radio on Mondays at 1pm, Thursdays at 6pm and Sundays at 10am, or you can catch up on any podcast provider. Finally up-and-coming DJ and paralympic long jumper Zak Sinner rounded off the afternoon with a motivation speech about setting goals, attending university, running his own events company and his Paralympic journey.

Summer Fest ’22 was a huge success, thanks to the fantastic facilitators, staff, volunteers, and our community of 12 – 18 year olds. It was wonderful to see everyone taking part, forming new friendships, and growing in confidence. We can’t wait for our next exclusive teen event on Friday 29th October where we’ll go and see a film & grab some food. Click here to book now!