Hello my name is Sarah Leadbetter and I’m one of Sense’s Digital Champions, which is part of the Online Today project. I started to run a tech group in Leicestershire for people with sight loss and other disabilities, to discuss and support using accessible technology.
I’m partially sighted myself, and I wanted a group to discuss different types of technology, for example, what apps are good to use with voice on my smartphone.
There weren’t any groups like this in Leicestershire, so a friend and I decided to set one up, so that beginners and people more experienced in using technology could come together to talk about their tech problems and opportunities.
Members bring their smart phones, tablets and laptops to the group, and we offer friendly peer support to help each other with any problems we may be having, or share tips on any great apps that are out there.
I’m glad I’ve set up the tech group because it gives me the opportunity to pass on what I’ve learnt to others, and also learn new things from members.
One of the most rewarding things about setting up the tech group has been that we have reached people who haven’t previously had much, if any experience of using technology. We show them how to use a smartphone or tablet for the first time, teach them how to take and send a photo on WhatsApp, write a message, and send it to a friend. This was the reason the group was started.
Some of the other things discussed at the group include how to use the KNFB Reader, which is an app that allows you to scan a printed document by taking a photo of it on your phone and have it read aloud to you.
We also talk about accessible games, free screen readers, like Neva, and listening to books on your phone using apps such as Audible and OverDrive.
The Leicester tech group meets on the second Monday of each month at the Globe pub, 43 Silver Street, Leicester; in the snug. We are a friendly group and everybody is welcome!
If you would like more information about the group, you can email Sarah on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the VIPTech email group at groups.io, discussing technology that helps partially sighted and blind people.