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In Touch


News, views and information for people who are blind or visually impaired. Presented by Peter White every Tuesday evening from 20:40.

News, views and information for people who are blind or visually impaired. Presented by Peter White every Tuesday evening from 20:40.
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London, United Kingdom




News, views and information for people who are blind or visually impaired. Presented by Peter White every Tuesday evening from 20:40.




Blind Veterans Remember

On the centenary of Armistice Day, over 100 blind veterans assembled at Horse Guards Parade in London. Some were blinded in action. However, most started to lose their sight well after their service had ended. Reporter Dave Williams went to talk to them as they assembled for this historic event - we hear just some of their stories. Also, Peter White visits 97-year-old blind veteran Peter Van Zeller. He is a resident at a Blind Veteran’s UK care home, and shares the story of when he first...


The Future of Navigating Our Streets

Over the next 12 months, In Touch is planning a series of stories and interviews looking at the changing landscape of our streets, and the ways in which councils, rehabilitation trainers and technology can help visually impaired people cope with this fast-changing picture. Professors Anna Lawson and Rich Romano are both leading on different projects looking at the future of towns and cities. Prof Lawson’s is focusing on the elements that cause people to feel excluded from the streets, while...


Rubbish Recycling

What help can you get if you struggle to recycle your rubbish? Listeners talk about the problems they have with recycling their rubbish: from knowing which bin to put the right rubbish in, to finding it again once it has been collected. We talk to Wayne Priestly from the Association for Public Service Excellence about what help visually impaired-residents can expect to receive from their local council. Professor Christopher Tyler from London City University believes he has found evidence...


Are Your Eyes Priceless?

Following the independence referendum in 2014, Scotland was granted new devolution powers including taking control of a selection of welfare benefits. One of the changes will be the way in which people whose vision is never going to improve, are assessed for Personal Independence Payment or PIP. Reporter Ian Hamilton finds out what these changes will mean for blind people living in Scotland. The well-known international company Specsavers recently launched an advertising campaign in...


Novartis appeal, Shane Warne

A new twist in the ongoing tale of two treatments. Lucentis and Avastin have both been found to be effective in treating Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration, which costs the sight of tens of thousands of people each year. Avastin is vastly cheaper than Lucentis, but is not licensed for use in the eye. The High Court has found against drug companies which brought a legal action to prevent NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups from using the cheaper drug Avastin in people's eyes - and now there...


School closure - the parents view, How to wow an audience with your public speaking

Last week the Royal National Institute for the Blind announced the closure of the Pears Centre, a children's home and school, run by the charity. The Pears Centre will shut in November after Ofsted raised significant concerns about the management of the Specialist Learning Centre. The children at the centre will need to find new placements. We get reaction from Hardeep Rai, a parent, whose son is a resident at the Pears Centre, in Coventry. And we'll find out how best to wow the audience if...


The RNIB announces it's closing a school after accusations it failed to safeguard pupils.

A school for visually impaired children with additional disabilities is being closed.


Partially Sighted Society and Lighting

Tom Walker talks to visually-impaired attendees of the first conference of the Partially-Sighted Society. Anita Plant, CEO of the PSS talks to Peter White about the charity's relaunch. RNIB Optometrist Louise Gaw talks to Cheryl Gabriel about the way lighting can help someone with low vision, make the most of their residual sight. Louise stresses the importance of getting professional help from a rehab worker or local blind society, to advise on the best lighting options, depending on the...


Inaccessible white goods

News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted. Jackie Brown wants better access to domestic white goods, which don't require sighted help to set up. Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet, suggests smart options which use apps, speech and wifi to enable a blind person to take control of their domestic appliances. Jackie is concerned however, that not everyone is comfortable using smartphone technology and the demise of the button and tactile switches will leave some...


Does it matter if your partner can see or not?

A question often-asked of blind and visually impaired people, by both sighted and other blind people, is "is your partner blind or sighted?" Peter White explores the reasons behind this question, and blind and visually impaired peoples' reaction to it. Guests: Amie Slavin, Jonathan Mosen and Rob Murthwaite. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Lee Kumutat.


An experienced actor and a young poet talk about the impact of their visual impairment

16-year-old Grace Marsh talks of her vision loss and her poetry aspirations. Actor Karina Jones lands an iconic role as a blind character.


Hearing the Solar Eclipse?

21-year-old Allan Hennessey was born in Iraq totally blind. His parents applied to the UK for him to undergo laser surgery, which restored a minimal amount of vision in one eye. Later Allan and his family settled in the UK on a council estate in east London. While attending a mainstream school, he rejected all attempts to teach him to read braille or adapt to his visual impairment, preferring to rely on the support and safety net of the multicultural community in which he thrived. In high...


Sudden sight loss

In August 2016 it became mandatory for health and social care providers to offer patients written information in whichever format they required - whether that be via text, email, braille, audio or large print. The implementation of what is called the Accessible Information Standard has recently been reviewed with mixed results. We put some listeners' experiences of getting required information in a required format from the NHS to Olivia Butterworth from NHS England. Peter White talks to...


Specialist travel and audio-described circus

What's the best approach when it comes to holidays for blind and partially sighted people? TravelEyes is a company which takes both blind and sighted people on holiday - the visually impaired traveller pays full price, and the fully-sighted person pays up to 50% of the full cost and agrees to guide and describe the attractions for the visually impaired travellers. But what if you have an additional need like a hearing impairment? The travel company says that in some cases, customers who have...


Tech Advancements for Home and Away

A look at the range of specialist and non-specialist gadgets available for identifying objects and travelling around. Joining Peter to share their experiences of solutions offered by technology are guests Jackie Brown, the incoming chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind, and Dave Williams, a freelance trainer on technology. If you'd like to find out more about the products discussed in tonight's programme please call the Radio 4 Action Line on 0800 044 044 for the next 24...


Baking Blind and Moving house

Two listeners to In Touch talk about some of the obstacles they faced when looking to move. Danielle Burgess is looking for a new home to rent, and is discovering how separate she feels from the process because everything needs to be described to her. Ben Rendle, his visually impaired partner and their family recently bought a flat off-plan and had to find a way of envisaging it for himself. Penny Melville-Brown has baked all her life, and didn't stop when she lost her sight seventeen years...


Changing jobs, Washington State's blind governor

Cyrus Habib lost his sight when he was eight, and in January this year aged 35 took up an elected position as Lieutenant governor of Washington State in America. He talks to Peter White about walking the fine line between sympathy and empathy when campaigning, and how technology is helping him do his job. Listener Nick Adamson has been working for the same company in the same role for the last 12 years. He has no immediate plans to change jobs, but says contemplating a career move when...


Why Can't I Sleep?

Blind people with no light perception can suffer from a variety of sleep problems. Its now been proved that for the majority of blind people with no light perception, the lack of light makes it impossible for a gland situated in the brain to produce sufficient levels of a hormone called melatonin. This can lead to circadian sleep disorders which can occur when the body clock does not fall into a regular rhythm. Blind listeners tell In Touch about the impact poor sleep can have on their...


Retirement angst, Self-defence

Listener Mike Kelly lost his sight in his thirties, shortly after he'd finished his training as an architect. He underwent intensive rehabilitation and has had a successful full time career in the civil service. Now aged 65 Mike has chosen to retire. Mixed in with the excitement of starting a new chapter in his life, he has some fears and concerns as well. David Black who has Retinitis Pigmentosa was attacked three times. Despite having studied martial arts he felt unable to defend himself...


New partially sighted MP Marsha De Cordova

After a ten year career holding various roles in national blindness charities, in 2014 Marsha De Cordova entered the world of politics when she became a councillor in Lambeth, south-east London. Last Thursday evening, she unexpectedly won the seat of Battersea from the Conservative minister Jane Ellison with a 10% swing. Born with nystagmus, a condition which makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, she is planning to champion disability rights as she takes her seat in Parliament later this...