Durham 2024 Dates for Your Diary

Durham City Coffee Mornings

VENUE: The Methodist Church Hall, North Road, DURHAM DH1 4SG
DAY:    2nd Tuesday of the month
TIME:  10:00am – 12 noon
Speakers on these dates will be:









Stanley Social Group
VENUE: Masonic Hall Scott Street Stanley DH9 8AD

Day: 4th Tuesday of the month Time 1.00-3.00

23rd April S&CDRSB Counsellor Jackie Kent


County Durham Living with Sight Loss Courses 2024

The Society is running free Living with Sight Loss Courses for people living with sight loss who reside in County Durham.  The course includes sessions on a variety of topics relating to sight loss. It also gives the individual the opportunity to meet with others in a similar situation to share experiences and handy hints and tips. A family member or friend are welcome to come along.

The Society is running this two-day course on the following dates and in these locations.

Chester-Le-Street on 16th and 17th April 2024 and at Peterlee on 3rd and 4th September

If you are interested or would like to learn more, please get in touch with Julie Anderson on 07393645974.

Sunderland 2024 Dates for Your Diary


(Booking Essential)

53 St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland SR4 6NF

We are holding a two day course providing information and advice about living with sight loss, here at our Sunderland office, from 10am – 3pm, on the following dates.

Tuesday 16th & Wednesday 17th July

Tuesday 15th & Wednesday 16th October

For more information and to book your place please call Julie on 0191 5673939

53 St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion. Sunderland SR4 6NF



Please contact Julie Stormont on 0191 5673939 for more information on the following events or turn up on the day


AFTERNOON TEA – Every 1st Thursday of the month – BOOKING ESSENTIAL

1pm – 3pm

THURSDAY                    6TH JUNE


MEN’S GROUP – Every 2nd Monday of the month

1.30pm – 2.30pm

MONDAY                13TH MAY

MONDAY                10TH JUNE


COFFEE MORNING – Every 2nd Wednesday of the month

10am – 12.30pm

WEDNESDAY                12TH JUNE


11am – 12.30

TUESDAY                      14TH & 28TH MAY

TUESDAY                      4TH & 18TH JUNE

TUESDAY                      30TH JANUARY


MACULAR – Every 4th Wednesday of the month

1.30pm – 2.30pm

WEDNESDAY                22ND MAY – The Green Doctor

WEDNESDAY                26TH JUNE



10am – 12 noon

THURSDAY                    16TH MAY

THURSDAY                    20TH JUNE

Taxi Card Update

The Taxi card Scheme which runs in Sunderland in conjunction with Station Taxis is very popular. For any new applications you need to apply the beginning of July please call Nexus direct on 0191 2020747.

LATEST UPDATE FROM NEXUS – Nexus will be taking new applications for the Taxi Card from mid July 2024. For more information or an application form please call Nexus on 0191 20 20 747

Pallion Action Group (PAG)

Volunteers available Mon – Fri 10am – 2pm

Can help with collecting prescriptions, shopping, benefit/welfare advice

Please contact, Karen Wood on either 07534 983971 or 0191 5142011

Full details of all their activities are on their website at



How can pets reduce loneliness

How can pets reduce loneliness?

Bringing a pet into your home can provide a whole range of different benefits to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Not only can they help to keep you active and get out and about, but a pet of any description can also provide companionship, especially for people living independently.

As reported in this guide to the impact of pets on health and wellbeing, 84% of pet owners reported that their animal companions helped them to feel less lonely. But what is it in particular about our furry friends that helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness?

Pets provide their owners with companionship, love, and loyal support. They are always happy to see us, no matter what kind of day we’ve had. They provide us with an outlet for play and affection, and they offer us unconditional love. In return, they ask only for our care and attention. For many people, pets fulfil a need for connectedness that might otherwise go unmet.

Pets can help reduce loneliness and isolation in seniors, promote bonding in families, and provide children with a sense of responsibility. In this post, we delve deeper into some of the ways in which pets can help to reduce loneliness in their owners, to help improve mental wellbeing and their general quality of life.

Companionship and independence

Partially sighted and blind people have long known the benefits of owning a pet. At the most basic level, having a creature to spend time with can offer a level of companionship when they don’t have anyone else to talk to on a daily basis. In addition to providing companionship, pets can offer much-needed assistance with everyday tasks and can help to build confidence and independence. For example, a guide dog can provide critical support when navigating busy streets or unfamiliar terrain, while a cat or dog can offer comfort and companionship when living alone.

They can also help their owners to lead more active lifestyles, which is important for both physical and mental health. Guide dogs are especially beneficial for those who are blind, as they can help their owners to navigate their surroundings and live relatively independent lives.

Just being in a social setting outside of the home can be challenging for partially sighted and blind people. In this way, guide dogs can be an invaluable resource that can enable these people to enjoy the social interactions to help reduce feelings of loneliness.

Improving social interactions

Besides being able to provide physical support when out in a social setting, pets can also serve as a great communication tool. Whether you’re telling someone about what your pet’s been up to, or meet a fellow owner out and about, talking about your furry friend is a great way to instigate conversations and even meet new people.

Studies have shown that people who own pets experience stronger ties with their neighbours. They are more likely to strike up conversations with strangers, with pets being a natural ice breaker. So, if you’re looking to improve your social life, consider getting a pet. Not only will you gain a loyal friend, but you might just make some new ones along the way.

Providing a routine

Another key benefit of pet ownership is, whether subconsciously or not, animals can instil a greater sense of routine and responsibility that can help to structure your days. This added sense of purpose could be particularly valuable to senior pet owners, who may otherwise lack an excuse to get out of the house on a daily basis. Whether it’s preparing their meals, taking them out for a walk, or simply spending some time in their company, the mere presence of an animal in the household can instantly improve your lifestyle and go a long way to preventing loneliness affecting your wellbeing.

Could a pet help you?

As we’ve explored, it’s clear that owning a pet can make an enormous difference to an individual’s quality of life, with pets being a great companion which ultimately helps to reduce loneliness. If you are considering getting a pet, do your research first to find the right fit for you and your lifestyle. There are many benefits to owning a pet, but it’s important to make sure you are ready for the responsibility before taking the plunge.

Houghton Blind Club Update 2023

We are delighted to have joined with Houghton Blind Club in order to provide another outreach centre on the Sunderland/Durham border.  We are always looking for new members to join us and spend a wonderful afternoon in the warm and welcoming atmosphere in the company of others.

Houghton Blind Club meet up at Houghton-le-Spring Hall DH4 5AF each week at 12:30pm on Tuesdays. Anyone is welcome to drop in and enjoy a cup of tea, and to take part in our fun activities and have a chat.

News from the Chief Executive

The exciting news is that we have reached our target of £14,900 to pay for a training kitchen to be installed here at Pallion for use by our Rehab Workers to teach kitchen skills. It will also be used for healthy cooking demonstrations, etc.
This was the first time we have used “Crowdfunding” which is a way of attracting project funding via the internet.
The pledges include £9,000 from Sunderland City Council and £5,000 from the Integrated Care Partnership. The remainder is from individual supporters.

Thank you to all those who made a pledge and please continue to donate to the Society so that we can continue to serve the residents of Sunderland and County Durham.
Following on from the article in the winter newsletter, I am delighted to be able to confirm that we held a very special Coronation Party on Thursday 4th May 2023 to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. The event included music, a quiz, lots of bunting and balloons, a special Coronation cake and a buffet tea. Everyone had a great time and we would like to thank everyone for attending and especially our volunteers who helped out on the day.

We will be holding a Sensory Exhibition here at 53, St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion, Sunderland on Wednesday 4th October between 10am and 2:30pm.

The Exhibition will be open to anyone interested in learning more about specialist equipment and assistive technology. We expect around 15 companies to attend which will give everyone a chance to see and experience equipment without the need to purchase it before ensuring it is right for them. Admission will be free. John Walls, our IT Officer, will also be on hand to offer advice and support.

Work will soon commence on a new exhibition area within our building here at Pallion. We will be able to exhibit members artwork and photography together with craft work. We received funding from the Screwfix Foundation and both Pallion and Millfield Community Chests. We will have an official opening as soon as the work is completed.

Please remember that the Society is still here to support you. If you require any help or advice do please leave a message on the answer machine and we will contact you. Telephone 0191 5673939

Richard Wood

Bowling is Back

Sunderland Visually Impaired 10 Pin Bowling Team are now meeting every week at The Sunderland Bowl, 141 High St West, Sunderland at 11AM. New members welcome. Please call Julie Stormont at the Society on 0191 5673939 for more info.

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