The forums activity bank is a resource for forum members and staff. It gives examples of just a few of the fun and informative activities that forums can offer, so you can try them in your own local group.
Activities led by forum members
Lynda Jones demonstrated her RNIB PenFriend audio labeller at her local Wigston forum in Leicesterhsire, and has also visited forums in Peterborough and East Anglia to give talks about the device.
Leicestershire forums have hosted visitors from the Nottingham, East Anglia and Birmingham forums. Sue Dunnett from Suffolk describes how her visit to Leicestershire affected her: “I have met Lynda and Malcolm and it was so lovely to meet them and they are lovely friendly, kind people. I have found that Leicester forum is completely different from my forum. I am hoping to see Lynda and Malcolm again and I love their company…also I am still in contact with them by email.”
John Holland, from Nettleham forum, has shared tips on gardening. He explains: “Another forum member and I both garden and we share what we know and it goes down very well and we enjoy doing it.”
Jennifer McKay from Boston forum gave a talk on the re-enactment of medieval battles: “I took a lot of my re-enactment gear with me. Everyone was able to handle the stuff and one lady was particularly interested. She said every time she’d seen a film on television, she’d never understood what was going on with all the swords clanging and banging or what the armour would be like. I was only supposed to talk about it for about 20 minutes and I talked about it for over an hour …because they kept asking me questions!”.
Equipment and technology
Activities focusing on equipment and technology have included demonstrating the use of red and white canes, and advice on and demonstration of hearing loss equipment.
There was also a talk and demonstration by local fire services on sensors and alarms at Wigston forum.
Malcolm Blake from the forum said “…the fire service took my details and managed to come and install the vibrating smoke alarm for me and my wife. That was a big help.”
Communication activities have included a demonstration of haptic communication and creating a personalised forum diary.
Forum meetings also include regular communication checks.
A member of the Birmingham forum explains:
"In our forum we check right at the start whether everyone can hear, then keep checking at different points during the meeting.
"It’s so important, to make sure every person there can keep up with what’s being said, and for people to say their name before they speak so people know who is talking".
- Hand massage – a Northern Ireland forum member: said “It’s just so relaxing to come and have a chat and be pampered for a wee while”.
- Didgeridoo therapy session. George Walker said: “It was an odd sensation, the vibrations on the floor and through your body from the instrument. I can’t say for sure that it was the didgeridoo, but the next day I felt like I had less pain in my body. Whatever it was, I just enjoyed having a go!”
Trip to an aircraft museum.
Christmas tree display (left): For the last two years, members of the Charnwood forum in Leicesterhsire have created a beautiful Christmas tree display at a local church and shared information about Sense. Joe Coffin from the Citizen’s Forum in Birmingham visited the display and said “I felt the different trees, they were all decorated. I’d love to go back to Charnwood again and to visit other groups.”
Boat trip: In summer 2012, Charnwood forum members went on a boat trip. They were again joined by Joe Coffin from Birmingham. He said: “We had a pie lunch in the pub and the weather was nice. I enjoyed meeting people. I didn’t know anybody before I went but it was okay, I wasn’t nervous. They were all nice.”
Telling Sense what we want
Launch of the Birmingham Deafblind people’s forum, 2012: At the launch event potential forum members were asked to tell Sense and Deafblind UK when and where they wanted a forum, what activities they would like to and what support they would need in order to attend. A member of the Birmingham forum said: “Attending the Launch Day back in March/April was one of the best things I have done.... to at long last, have the opportunity to be able to talk about "deafblindness" and the all that goes with it is so refreshing for me”.
- In 2013 the facilitator of the Northern Ireland forums organised a Health Awareness Day. Forum members attended and gained information on breast checks, hearing and eye care, personal safety and befriending services that can help reduce isolation.
Fun and relaxation
- Afternoon tea
Consultations / campaigns
This picture shows a campaign planning meeting at the Kent Empowerment Forum.
First published: Friday 5 April 2013
Updated: Tuesday 1 December 2015