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Focus Newsletter Winter 2022

Welcome to the Focus Newsletter Winter 2022!


  • Introduction from Matt Cliff
  • Fundraising
  • Margaret Guppy’s Gardening Corner
  • Introducing David Parfett
  • Margaret Guppy’s Things You Need to Know
  • Helen Fisher – Liverpool Community Advice
  • Margaret Guppy’s Cookery Corner
  • Introducing Jane Litherland
  • Health and Wellbeing Activities
  • Short Story by Margaret Guppy
  • Children’s Activities – Henshaws
  • A Little Poem!

Of course, those you care about come first! But a gift in your Will to Bradbury Fields would make a real difference to the blind and partially sighted people in your local area.

Matt Cliff – Head of Bradbury Fields 

Matt Cliff, our newish Head of Bradbury Fields has now been here since February, welcomed everyone to the latest Newsletter.

We’ve been really busy at Bradbury Fields with lots going on.  Since the last edition we’ve had our Red White and Blue Party, our ABBA Night, various different events, people walking on fire raising money, people riding bikes raising money for us and an awful lot of activities going on with Bocca sessions, new yoga sessions, Lets Talk Counselling Sessions going well, lots of wonderful activities and things are getting back to a nice ‘normal’.  So something to look forward to.

In this edition of the Newsletter we’ve got a number of people coming to speak to us, a couple of new colleagues – David our new Sports and Physical Activities Co-ordinator will talk a little bit about himself and what he hopes to do with his role; Jane is one of our new ECLO’s will be talking about her role as an ECLO; we’ve got Darren talking about everything health and wellbeing and volunteer related, so something good to look forward to.  

We’ve welcome back Louise fairly recently from maternity leave.  She’ll be talking about all things fundraising and what’s going on and how people can support Bradbury Fields.  

We’ve also got the wonderful Margaret Guppy speaking about her cooking, gardening and anything and everything else she can think about!

We’ve also got a couple of guest speakers.  Marie from Henshaws will be talk about their children and young people family services.  

Also we have Helen talking about all things energy.  Such a crisis for everyone at the moment, with the cost of living going up, so Helen will share advice and information.  

Hope you enjoy the Newsletter.  

As always, if you’ve got any questions, queries, or we can help at all, just give us a call at the Bradbury Centre, pop in, come and say “hello”.  

The phone number, as you should know but just in case, 0151 221 0888.

Enjoy the Newsletter!


Louise Miller has returned after her maternity leave, and is getting some events in the calendar and would like to let you know about these events and campaigns.

Would you like to be in with a chance to win £25,000?  Yes!   I can hear you all shouting!  Well what you need to do is join up for our Weather Lottery today!  

The Weather Lottery is drawn every Monday at around 10am, the result is based on the last digit in Fahrenheit of the temperature of the following cities:-

Corfu, Athens, Tenerife, Vienna, Amsterdam & Stockholm

It’s just £1 to enter, you’ll be signing up via direct debit to take part every week.  You can sign up direct from our website, you could scan the QR code on the leaflet that comes with this newsletter, or you can ask a member of our team for some help, but remember what they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it!

This is one that I’m really looking forward to – it’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to do this and this is one of Louise’s favourite events – the Bradbury Fields Christmas Market which will be held on Sunday 27th November 2022, 1pm until 4pm.  There’ll be lots of stalls, Karen in the Bistro will be providing some tasty festive foods, and of course there’ll be great company.  Feel free to pop in if you are around, it’s free entry and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible.

Do you fancy dashing, running or walking the Santa Dash this year?  It’s going to be held on Sunday 4th December 2022 at the Pier Head in Liverpool City Centre.  Louise plans to get a big team of people together to take part, so if you’re interested, either give Louise a call at Bradbury’s reception, 0151 221 0888, or drop her an email on 

If this is not for you but you think you may have a relative or friend who would be interested, ask them to get in touch.

Enclosed with this newsletter are our Christmas draw tickets for this year’s Grand Christmas Draw.  We’ve got some great prizes!  Good luck to everybody who enters!

The last campaign of the year is our Christmas Campaign which is called Glow Text To Donate.  Basically what we are asking people to do, if you’ve got £5 to spare, please text the word ‘glow’ to 70450 to donate just £5.  Texts will cost the £5 donation plus one standard message rate and you’ll be opting in to hear about our work at Bradbury.  If you’d like to give £5 but do not wish to receive any communications, please text ‘glow no info’ to 70450.

Your support is vital in order for us to continue with most of our voluntary services here at the Bradbury Centre so anything you can do to help with any of our campaigns or events, we would be eternally grateful.

Stay safe everyone and keep warm.  Hope to see you soon!

Margaret Guppy’s Gardening Corner

This is the time of year when we plant bulbs.  If you are buying bulbs at a garden centre or somewhere else, be very careful when you are buying them.  Feel to see how firm they are.  If they are a bit squidgy don’t buy them because they’ll never grow, they’ll whither in the ground.

When you are planting bulbs, plant them three times the depth of the bulb you have, whether it’s a tulip, a narcissus or a snowdrop, plant them really deep or they won’t come up.

When you are planting, whether in a pot or in the ground, don’t have them touching.  If they touch, they probably won’t come up.  In the spring when the daffodils, narcissus and tulips have finished, make sure you dead head them.  Don’t just chop the whole plant down, leaves and all.  You have to wait for the leaves to die down because that is the energy that goes back into the bulb and makes sure you have a flower for next year.  Just dead head things when they’ve died and you’ll have a nice display for next year.

Planting in a pot is okey but there again make sure they are not touching.  You can do a nice little display in a pot if you haven’t got a garden, with some little narcissus in the middle and little tulips and around the outside some little crocuses or snowdrops.  You’ll have a nice little display.

Snowdrops are the first plants to come up and there are people who collect snowdrops because there’s not just one variety, there’s hundreds of different varieties even though to use they all look the same.

Tender plants – make sure you look after them in the winter if they don’t like the frost very much.  You can buy horticultural fleece to put over them to protect them in the winter and that does them good.

Remember that water is a commodity we have to be careful of these days, so be very careful with the hosepipe.  You don’t necessarily have to use a hosepipe – use a watering can but only water the things that really need it.  If you’ve got well established and shrubs, they don’t really need watering.   I didn’t use a hosepipe one in my large garden during the very hot weather we had.  Just a watering can to water things that were only planted recently or last year, and of course pots which dry out very quickly – they need to be watered every day.  Water from the base not the top because the leaves will wilt.  Be sparing with the water!

Happy gardening!

David Parfett Sports and Physical Activities Co-ordinator

David Parfett has recently been appointed at Bradbury Fields as the Sports and Physical Activities Co-ordinator.

This role entails covering the whole of the whole of the Bradbury reach, Liverpool and Knowsley and surrounding areas with the current sports groups and physical activities.  He will mainly be focussing on looking at how many people are doing sport with a visual impairment, and how David can improve this whilst also looking at getting more people into sports and advertising sports groups with the interest of getting groups to engage with each other to expand the current offer.

In Bradbury Fields at the moment we are offering a gym session which is going to be located at Wavertree Lifestyles Gym, we are offering transport to and from the event.  This happens every Wednesday.

On Thursdays we have a swimming group.  This can consist of free learning to swim sessions or if you can swim yourself, you can come along and partake.  As well as this at the same time there is a females sauna and steam session on a Thursday morning/afternoon.  

On Friday afternoons in the Sight Loss Learning Hub there is Bocca group.

We are looking into introducing additional sports and physical activity sessions.

If you would like more in depth information on these such as dates, times, locations and prices, please contact me on 

Margaret Guppy’s Things You Need to Know

Things that are going on not just in the Bradbury Centre, but out and about in Liverpool for people with sight loss.

Liverpool has a Talking Newspaper which goes out every week on a memory stick in a yellow wallet.  You listen to it and send it back.  It doesn’t cost anything and you get one every week.  If you haven’t got a machine to play it on, they will provide you with a machine.  If you ring Margaret on 0151 726 0161, and you think you would like the Talking Newspaper every week, Margaret will ensure you get one.

Margaret runs the Merseyside Partially Sighted and Macular Society.  They haven’t been meeting very much because of the pandemic and used to meet in Radio Merseyside’s building but not any more.  They have a new meeting place, 84 Church Street.  Anybody who knows Liverpool will know Church Street, its’s just before you get to Primark and the left hand side.  

If you happen to come down Hanover Street, it’s just on the left.  It’s at a bookshop which has a room above which they have kindly said we can use.  There is a lift and we usually have a cup of tea and a biscuit and a speaker, with time to have a chat, discuss how we are, how things are going and if we’ve got any problems you’ll usually find somebody in the room who’ve had a similar problem which has maybe been resolved.  

It’s a nice way to get to learn to live with sight loss, particularly if you are new to any specific eye condition.  They do have quite a few totally blind people with them, they go on outings and meet every first Thursday in the month at 2pm.  If you want more information, its 0151 726 0161.

If you listen to the messages on the Bradbury Fields phone, there’s a lot of things that go on at the Bradbury Centre which you might be interested in.  They don’t only have clubs during the day, they have a Bistro and also evening social events.  We all have to learn to get out and about again!

If you have a problem with benefits or anything to do with that sort of thing, there is somebody who works at the Bradbury Centre who will give you advice.

Hope you find this information interesting and useful!

Helen Fisher Liverpool Community Advice

Helen Fisher works for Liverpool Community Advice.  Today she’s talking about the cost of living crisis and to try to explain a few things about what is going on at the moment, especially regarding energy prices.

The main worry in the cost of living crisis is the soaring price of gas and electricity bills.  The Government has offered to help to pay these bills, paying money into people’s electricity accounts and put more in their bank accounts to help them pay.

The main one that’s coming into force on 1st October 2022 is the price cap.  Historically, Ofgem sets a price cap every six months and until the Government intervened, bills will going to soar to £7,000 to £8,000.  Now the price cap has been set at £2,500 as from 1st October but that doesn’t mean that nobody will pay more than £2,500.  

It’s worth noting that the energy price cap in October 2021 was £1,277, so even with this intervention, costs will actually still have doubled.

To explain what is meant by the price cap, this is the cap on the amount which can be charged for the standing charge and the unit rate of gas and electricity.  For example, if you think of a cap on petrol prices, the price per litre can’t go any higher but the more petrol you use the more you will pay.  So some people will find themselves paying more than £2,500 and some will pay less, it just depends on how much gas and electricity you use.

If you are on a fixed rate, which is higher than a price cap, your bills will automatically be reduced to the level of the price cap.  If your fixed rate’s coming to an end, then you should automatically be put on the standard variable tariff.  There is no point in changing supplier to save money because the energy companies are not taking new customers so there’s no point on looking on switching websites for a cheaper deal, because sadly you won’t be able to.

The Government is also offering help in other ways.  If you are in a property A to D for your Council Tax, you should have received £150 which was either paid to your Council Tax or paid into your bank account if you pay by direct debit.  

The Government has also issued a Household Support Fund.  This is issued money to Liverpool City Council, Knowsley, Sefton Councils, etc., to help people on low incomes and need help with everyday living costs, so it doesn’t have to be energy, it could be to do with food, white goods, school uniforms, etc.  

This fund is due to run until March 2023.  You need to apply on line and from somewhere like LCA, Citizens Advice, social workers, etc., possibly your GP’s surgeries can help you apply, but it has to be done on line, there is no paper form, you can’t do it over the phone.

From October 2022 there will be a £400 discount on everybody’s energy bills.  How that will be worked out is that £66 will be deducted from your bills each month from October until March 2023.  You won’t have to apply for it, it will be done automatically and it will come off your electricity bills so if your electricity and gas suppliers are different, you will get it off your electricity rather than your gas.

The Government has also looked at how to help lower paid people, people on income related benefits, and are going to give them a cost of living payment of £650.  If you receive income related benefits such as Income Support, ESA Pension Credit, then you’ll receive £650 in two instalments to help you with your increased cost of living.  The first was paid around July 2022 into people’s bank accounts and the second payment is due some time in the autumn but the Government have not yet issued a payment date.

Anyone on DLA, PIP Attendance Allowance, will receive £150 on the disability cost of living payment to help people with disabilities who have incurred higher costs through the cost of living crisis.  It might be because you need the heating on more than normally, have had to get taxis to places, etc.  That will automatically be paid into your bank account that your benefit is credited to.

Every pensioner at the moment will be receiving their winter fuel allowance.  Depending on your age, you get more if you are over 80.  This year £300 will be a pensioner cost of living payment sub, all pension households will get £300 plus their winter fuel allowance so it could be that they get £600 in all for this.  That once again will be paid into the bank account which your pension goes into so you don’t have to apply for it or ring up about it.  It should come any time from October to November/December.  Hopefully it will come before Christmas.

Other standard benefits that are available to people are the Warm Home Discount. In the past you had to apply for that if you weren’t in the core group.  The core group are people who are on pension credit.  People on the broader group – people getting JSA, Income Support, Universal Credit, etc., used to have to apply to their energy company for the Warm Home Discount.  The Government have altered that now.  It’s gone up to £150 from £140 and that once again is applied to your energy bills automatically and should go onto your energy bill between December and March.

The Cold Weather Payment is payable to people on income related benefits and when the temperature is below zero for seven consecutive days.  That is £25 per week and once again will be credited to your bank accounts.

If you’ve got any questions or issues with your energy bills, Helen would suggest your first port of call is to get in touch with Bradbury Fields and they can email her with your details with your permission, and she can call you or come out and see you.

Helen’s also giving talks to the lunch clubs in early November and will be giving talks to various service users in Christopher Grange too.    Hope to see you at one of those.

Margaret Guppy’s Cookery Corner

We all have to be careful how we use our gas and electricity.  We have to be even more careful how many times we open the over door and it is suggested that microwaves are quicker but Margaret doesn’t particularly like microwaves but they are very handy to cook a meal quickly and cost less than cooking in an oven.  

There are also air fryers but these are probably a bit tricky for people with sight loss but are very good and if you can get somebody to show you how they work, they are very handy.

There’s also the slow cooker which you can just bung everything into all at one and leave it for a few hours and then you have a casserole.  They don’t use as much gas and electricity.

Cakes have been talked about many times by Margaret.  

Don’t be frightened about trying to cook when you have sight loss.  Margaret cooks and hasn’t got a lot of sight.  She has a guide dog who’s always telling her what she should do or not do!  Always find something that’s easy to do, a meal you can cook in a pot like a casserole or pasta are easy to do because you don’t need to see what you are doing very much.

Margaret bakes basic cakes without fussy tops as she can’t see to do this any more. 

 A Victoria Sponge is very easy to make, it’s 6oz of self raising flour, 6oz soft margarine, 6oz caster sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder and 3 large eggs.  

You put it all in a mixing bowl together – no point separating this from that, it’s not necessary, beat it for a couple of minutes, put it in two tins in the oven for half an hour.  Then you’ve got a Victoria Sponge.  Very, very easy to do.  When it’s cool, put jam on it.  

Queen Victoria would not have liked you putting jam and cream in, it was invented for Queen Victoria and she only wanted jam in her Victoria Sponges and Margaret quite agrees with her!

To vary the Victoria Sponge, you can add a bit of coffee essence to make a Coffee Sponge and put some buttercream in the middle.  

The same applies with Chocolate Sponge.  Take one ounce of flour out and put an ounce of cocoa powder in and you’ve got a Chocolate Cake.  Couldn’t be easier!

So get cooking and don’t forget mince pies.  Coventry God Cakes are better to make than mince pies.  All you need is some rolled out pastry which you can buy in the shops.  Just roll it out and put little blobs of mincemeat and cut it into little squares.  You’ve got little triangles of mincemeat cakes which are called Coventry God Cakes which were invented by the people of Coventry for New Years Day and are much better than mince pies and are very easy to do.

Happy cooking!

Jane Litherland, ECLO

Jane Litherland is one of the new ECLO’s at Bradbury Fields and will be based at Aintree Hospital to be acting a liaison between patients, the clinical staff and rehabilitation staff.

Jane is sight impaired and a few years ago had a journey with an ECLO who was really supportive and helpful.  

Jane was coming up to a certain age in a lady’s night when she started falling over and was worried and concerned.  The doctors didn’t seem to know what to tell her and when she got to the Eye Clinic she was told to speak to the ECLO, Maria at St Helens, and she was lovely and positive, telling Jane not to worry, pointing her in the right direction and really changed her life.  Jane is hoping to do the same thing for people.  

She’s really enjoyed meeting the staff, there’s some really lovely dedicated people here and it’s a nice team.  

It’s Jane’s first time working with other sight impaired people in a greater number, which is a nice experience as you can share things and learn from each other.  

It’s a positive for the people who come through the doors of Bradbury Fields that we have this experience to give to people, share and learn as you go, because no two people have the same difficulties with their eyesight.

For example, just today, Jane’s partner put the kettle on.  Jane thought she’d put a teabag in the cup and then realised she’d put hot water into an empty cup of hot water!  But you have to laugh and have a sense of humour or you’d go mad.

At home Jane has her two children, dog, two gerbils and poor partner who hopes she won’t add any more animals to the petting zoo they already have!

She likes playing Dungeons and Dragons because she doesn’t have to worry about being able to see things, it’s only imagination paper!

Jane likes to read but as her sight has got worse this is harder so if you see her walking around with headphones on, chances are it’s an audio book or some music!

Jane hopes to meet you all soon.  If anyone would like to contact her she can be found at and her main extension number is 217.

Always happy to speak to people!

Darren Holloran, Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator

Darren wants to give you an overview of some of the things we have got going on at the moment.

Firstly, a lot of you will know about Darren’s weekly email with a list of all the activities taking place at Bradbury Fields.  If you are not on this mailing list and would like to be so, please get in touch, providing me with your email address, and I can add you to the distribution list.  Obviously, email is not the best way for everybody to communicate and that’s why we have things like the newsletter here.

We have our swimming club every Thursday, recent additions include opportunities for a ladies’ sauna and steam session.  Also if you are a little bit nervous about swimming, we do have instructors available to help you try to learn to swim and build that confidence and get you used to the water.

We have a gym session each week and also do inclusive yoga which is mind and body based yoga available for every ability level, so please feel free to join us.

If you fancy a bit more of a sporting feel, we play Bocca every week.  This is just for a bit of fun, a bit of a competitive edge, and you are more than welcome to join us on this.

We also have our Peer Support Groups as well as our regular Let’s Talk Group on Tuesday mornings, we have wonderful opportunities available and would love to see some of you on these Peer Support Groups sharing stories, corporate strategies and meeting for tea or coffee and getting to know new friends.

Some of the events taking place over the next few weeks include:-

Hawkseed Theatre have a production taking place in Liverpool on 27th October 2022.  This will be a drama production called A Very Old Birthday Party.  We have secured a number of tickets at a discounted rate.  Their idea for this is to trial using audio description embedded into the script of the play itself rather than as separate entity.  They’ve been working with us and some accessibility experts in the sight loss field to see how this might work.  This production is their first trial so we are going along to have a look at this and you are more than welcome to join us.  Tickets are available at £10 but you need to let us know as soon as you can so we can try to secure some of those for you.

We are also looking to have a bit of a Halloween celebration with a Halloween Sixties Party Night on 4th November 2022.  Again tickets available from reception if you fancy joining us for a bit of a spooktacular evening celebrating Halloween.

Finally, just to remind you that the Bistro is open every day, so if you just want to pop in for a coffee or lunch and a bit of social chit-chat, you are more than welcome to do so.  

If anybody has any other clubs or associations that they are involved with and are looking for guest speakers to talk about sight loss, please feel free to call Darren.  He’s willing to come out anywhere and spread the good word about Bradbury Fields to anybody who wants to listen!

‘The Adventure’ By Margaret Guppy

The journey was not an easy one.  The weather looked bad and I knew we should have waited a few days before setting out.

We took a vote and the younger ones, of which there were many, decided that we should not wait.

There were hundreds of miles to travel and as we headed into the open sea I could see the fierce black clouds racing towards us. I was afraid.  

Travelling into the wind sapped my energy and when the rain came it battered my body so that I felt bruised.  I thought the journey would never end.

On reaching dry land, I had to stop several times to rest and restore my energy.  Exhausted, hungry and with aching bones, I had arrived at my destination.  

I can at last feel the warm sun on my back and the promise of shelter and food gives me comfort.  Inexperience and the harsh weather took their toll.  

Some of the young ones did not survive.  I saw many broken bodies on my way and felt sorry for their passing.  But we must go on and look to the future and new life.

Now that there is a roof over my head, I can start to make a home for myself and family, search for tasty morsels to eat and so regain my strength.  

It is sometimes difficult to survive but I would not wish for a different way of life.  

It is wonderful to observe the changing seasons, to feel the closeness of many dear family and friends and to feel as free as a bird.


Marie and Ellie work for Henshaws, a local charity supporting children and young people and families across Merseyside and the North West.

Henshaws offer support for the whole family, not just the visually impaired children but their siblings and parents.

They offer information, advice and guidance, if they don’t have the answers they signpost to people who will be able to support you and never let anybody go away without their needs being fulfilled.

They organise holiday and weekend activities.  

Regularly, once a month throughout the year, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, there are weekend activities that can be attended by young people, their siblings and parents.  

During the school holiday terms, twice per week, they put on activities for the children.  If your children are on holiday you can hand them over to Henshaws to entertain them.

Elle explains about the residential and enrichment programme she delivers called ‘I Can Do It’.  This is for eight to twelve year olds or thirteen to eighteen year olds. It promotes independence and also being able to make new friends, look at the emotional side of things, learn about cooking skills.  The I Can Do It course can be a residential which will hopefully be some time next year around Easter.

The enrichment I Can Do It would usually be held in a school setting learning about different topics to promote independence.  The course if fantastic and really welcomed by both the parents and children.  

The parents often comment to us about the difference and impact from the work Elle does with the children’s self-esteem and independence.

They keep in touch with the families and children by providing regular newsletters, a social media account and a close Facebook group which is only available to people on the database so unimportant things like what you had for your tea are not shared, but giving information about services.  There are other professionals on there too and obviously the parents of the children can share their information and any advice they think could be beneficial to other parents and children.

There is also a knowledge village which is on Henshaws website and everything that Henshaws know about sight loss and living with sight loss is on there.  If you sign up for the knowledge village you will be sent an email every two weeks.  This email will tell you anything new, it could be about technology, potty training a visually impaired child, learning how to apply makeup.  Anything we know is on there for us to share and is a great asset not only to visually impaired people and their families, but also to other professionals working in the VI community.

How do you get in touch with Henshaws?  Contact on 0300 222 5555 or email 

If you get through to the switchboard you can ask for direct numbers, Marie Hansen and Ellie Thompson, who are both Children and Young People’s Enablement Officers serving the children and families in the VI community across Merseyside.

‘The Path of Peace’

Step light and look for the sunshine

Grasp gently the kindness you find

Speak softly and turn away anger

Sleep soundly at peace with mankind

Walk proudly through all your endeavours

Remember the battles you’ve won

Seek always the hope of tomorrow

Step lightly and look for the sun.


Although we make every attempt to ensure that the information contained within the newsletter is both timely and accurate, Bradbury Fields cannot be held responsible for any information that is within it.  This newsletter is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be either legally binding or contractual in nature.

If you want to receive a fuller version of this newsletter, please contact reception on 0151 221 0888 and you will be sent the audio version.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Newsletter and look forward to meeting you again when we present our next Newsletter.

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