“I can even read the telephone directory with the magnifier, which is magic! How many people can read the telephone directory?”

Frank has attended Henshaws' Living with Sight Loss course and is a regular at our Tuesday group. He explains how these groups, along with support with new technology has helped him stay in contact with old friends, and make new ones!


“I met Gail at Henshaws Patient Support, and I got to know her quite well. At the time, my sight was deteriorating a lot, but since I’ve had cataract surgery things have improved. I still can’t go outside with my dark glasses, but otherwise everything went really well.

I got a letter telling me about the Living with Sight Loss course. I thought as I’d been in the blind world all my life, because my wife was totally blind, I could go and even if I don’t learn much myself, I can help others. I learnt a little bit and I passed on quite a bit from my own experiences.

Then Henshaws informed me about the Tuesday Group and I started coming there. I’ve enjoyed it – we’ve had some good times!

What I gained from the Living with Sight Loss course was learning how to get about, because at the time I was struggling because of my vision as it had gotten so bad.

I’ve got a phone and a magnifier. I can even read the telephone directory with the magnifier, which is magic! How many people can read the telephone directory? I can find the number and read it, and I can press the button to hold it, and dial the number whilst it holds it. It’s magic to me. Carrie took me through how to use the magnifier in our sessions. It’s been a big help to me.

With my phone now, the main thing is I can text by speaking, so I don’t have to write it out. When I get texts it gets spoken as well which is brilliant for me. I didn’t really know how it worked – Carrie showed me about it, it was very helpful. I use it quite a bit to get in touch with my sister in Hull, and my friend in Lancaster by text.

The main thing I get from Henshaws is the friendship and companionship. Everybody’s friendly, you can have a chat with people. You have the afternoon session and then you can chat with people afterwards with a cup of tea, we all mix very well. I enjoy the quizzes we have at the Tuesday Group – especially music!”

Carrie Sant, Specialist Occupational Therapist:

“We first supported Frank to find a digital device that worked best for him. Synapptic was perfect as Frank could access it using his residual sight and through audio. Through our training sessions, it’s been great seeing how it’s enabled him to make calls, texts, emails take photos.

Frank’s story demonstrates how Henshaws’ Pathway can help people in a number of different ways, and have an ongoing impact in their lives.”


Henshaws Community Services supports visually impaired people to make informed choices about their future and take the next step in life; whether that’s towards employment, accessing new technology, or meeting new people in our social groups. We are here throughout people’s sight loss journey offering expert support, guidance and skills helping people to fulfil their potential.

Our hubs in the North of England offer a range of services to provide visually impaired people an improved quality of life; from learning braille, to discovering new movies at our film group, or learning healthy kitchen skills.

If you, or anyone you know, could benefit from Henshaws groups, sessions or services call 0300 222 5555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk

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