Welcoming our Ukrainian friends.

Back in March, we were delighted to host a group of visually impaired, Ukrainian students and their teachers, all the way from Poland. With assistance from the RNIB and the Thomas Pocklington Trust, the group were visiting Yorkshire and spent the day with us in York.

We welcomed them to Wilberforce House in the morning, to tell them about the trust and Club Wilber. We enjoyed making Easter buns together before lunch, which was followed by wonderful performance by some of the group, who are also part of an amazing choir back at home and in Poland. As well as a rousing rendition of our national anthem we were treated to a bit of The Beatles too!

In the afternoon we took them aboard one of York’s City Cruises for a tour on The Ouse and some history of our city. We were lucky as the sun came out for us after weeks and weeks of rain! After the boat trip, it was onto the National Railway Museum to experience the new Wonderlab and its brilliant, interactive features.

We really hope the group enjoyed their time in York, and the rest of their busy schedule while they are here, and that trips like this are the beacons of light in what is a difficult time for Ukrainians. We certainly felt like we gained so much from our short time together, and it shows how the barriers of sight loss and language differences don’t have to stand in our way when it comes to wonderful and new experiences.

InSight Magazine – Spring 2024

Our latest edition of InSight is out now.

This edition includes:

Click here or the image above to read the latest edition of our InSight Magazine.

InSight is available to listen to, page by page-

Page 1, introduction and letter from the CEO-

Page 2, networking-

Page 3, Sam’s Safari and coffee morning-

Page 4, Club Wilber update-

Page 5, YorSensory and sensory awareness training-

Page 6, a thank you to a volunteer and our contact details-

Things come in 4s- putting our senses to the test!

A couple of week’s ago, on the 29th February, we gathered a room full of Club Wilber sponsors and asked them to leap in and put four of their senses to the test!

After some time spent mingling and catching up over coffee, Operations Director, Samantha Scholey, introduced Club Wilber, and gave an update on recent activities and plans for the coming year. Then the eye masks were handed out and the fun began…

Our first sense to be tested was our hearing, with a ‘guess the intro’ round and ‘guess the voice. In particular, guessing the voice of a well known person was hard without the context that your sight gives you. You knew that you knew it, but it became unfamiliar without seeing their face or surroundings.

We then moved onto testing our senses of smell and taste, with half the team sniffing and half the team tasting! Citrus aromas of grapefruit, orange and lemon merged into one and eucalyptus, tea tree and other essential oils became very similar. Some people were better at the task than others and I’m pretty sure winter colds and blocked up noses didn’t help!

At the start of the taste test, the ‘willing’ volunteers looked like they were embarking on a bush-tucker trial, nervous with the anticipation of what they would be putting into their mouths. Samantha, and Club Wilber administrator Sarah, really came up with some concoctions to test the tastebuds; Rosemary and Lime chocolate, pickle, cheese cracker and popcorn and date and honey.

Our final sense to be put to the test was touch, with two large boxes per team filled with a both a variety of dry materials, and one with wet. The task was to feel around and find pieces of an alphabet puzzle, and complete it. The wet box was first; full of rice pudding and bubble bath followed by straw, cereal and wrapped up lollies! The word disgusting was an understatement and, again, without your sight to aid you your brain went into overdrive trying to recognise what you touched.

 

We finished our afternoon with a round of applause for the winning team and a round of delicious canapes.  The experiences of the last few hours were a real conversational piece and everyone took something away, in particular, how much your sight aids you and your other senses.

A big thank you, as always, to the Delta by Marriott hotel in York for their room hire and refreshments and a thank you to our sponsors who continue to support the work we do with Club Wilber.

 

Club Wilber went on Safari!
Club Wilber had fun on Safari last week!
Helen and Ava from Sam’s Safaris came to tell us all about the animals in their care. We learnt some cool facts and enjoyed having a feel of all the animals; running our fingers along lizard scales, feeling sticky snail feet and patting the blanket soft fur of a chinchilla. We even had a noisy duck piping up to greet us. Afterwards, we had a game of hungry hippos, played with some rain sticks, had a go on the African drum, and enjoyed some safari themed refreshments!
Thank you to the Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust and LNER who helped fund this activity.
InSight Magazine – Winter 2024

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Club Wilber visits the Panto!

Finishing a fabulous, festive season at the Wilberforce Trust, we attended the pantomime at York Theatre Royal at the weekend with some of our Club Wilber families. This year’s show was Jack and the Beanstalk and it was as entertaining and funny as we have come to expect from this historic theatre. Like last year, we were also delighted to be able to experience a private ‘touch- tour’ of the set and costumes before the show.

At the start of the tour we were introduced to the stage, set and story by one of the theatre’s accredited Audio Describers, who talked us through different scenes and costumes we would expect to encounter. She explained what we might hear to tell us that something in particular was happening, such as a character entering the stage, which was really helpful to build a picture of what we were about to watch. We were then invited onto the stage to look at the props, set and costumes and more importantly to feel them. These included the ‘Cow Wash’ (like a car wash!) and the top of the huge Giant costume. We could hold some of the smaller props, like the velvet bags of beans and coins, and the team were so helpful with explaining things and allowing the children to ask loads of questions. Being able to use their sense of touch is hugely important for a lot of the children, enabling them to build a picture in their minds of what the characters and set may look like.

Once we took our seats in the main auditorium, those that wished to could use a headset so the action on stage could be described to them to bring the action to life. The performance was amazing and everyone, grown- ups and children alike, had a really enjoyable time. A big thank you to the staff and crew at York Theatre Royal, especially Gill and Ted the Audio Describers, who helped make this a really magical event. A particular thank you to the York Theatre Royal pay- it- forward scheme, who provided some free tickets, and to The Victoria Wood Foundation for their generous grant which enables us to continue providing arts and culture activities.

 

Club Wilber’s Christmas Party

Last weekend, and for the first time, we were delighted to open the doors of Wilberforce House for the Club Wilber Christmas Party! Across the open plan Living & Learning Zone, we had craft activities, a sensory space, a disco area and a chocolate fountain.

As our families arrived late morning, they dived straight into the festive fun; making snowmen, decorating and filling their own crackers. As soon as the smell of chocolate filled the air, children, and adults, jumped to the fountain to dip festive kebabs of fruit and sweet treats. The sensory area, with lights, textures and sounds, was popular with the littlest Club Wilber members, and it was the perfect place to escape the busyness of the café area.

After a buffet lunch of sandwiches, pizza and nibbles, the children were excited when the Big Man himself, Santa Claus, walked through the door to the jingle of bells and took a seat by our huge Christmas Tree. The families took it in turns to meet Santa and say a few words and receive a present. The expressions on the children’s faces at this special moment at the party make all the hard work worth it for the team!#

We were delighted to welcome Club Wilber Ambassador and York City Knight’s player, Will Jubb to the party, along with his partner Jess. They spent time making snowmen with the children and chatting to the families, who are always really excited to see Will. We also gave him a congratulation present for his recent graduation, with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fisheries Studies from The University of Hull.

Like the Birthday Party and at Halloween, these parties are the perfect time for the families to catch up. We waved everyone off and wished them a Merry Christmas and we’re already excited for our Panto trip together in January!

InSight Magazine – Autumn 2023

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Congratulations Will Jubb!

We caught up with our Club Wilber Ambassador, and York City Knights player, Will Jubb, on his recent graduation from the University of Hull for his PHD!

 

Congratulations on your recent graduation and receiving your Doctorate of Philosophy in Fisheries Studies. How long was your course? 

Thank you very much, it took me 4 and a half years to complete my phd.

In easy language, what was the course about?  

So I was looking at a conservation fish species called river lamprey. They are protected in the river Humber so I was looking at whether a historic fishery for them was sustainable, I.e., they can catch them to sell and still leave a lot of the population in the river to continue their lifecycle, and the impacts of all the weirs and barriers throughout the Humber catchment on their spawning migration.

What was your favourite part of the course/ best day? 

I really enjoyed every part of my studies but the fieldwork was always really fun. On one day the fisherman caught over 1 tonne of lamprey and we had to process all of them! It was like lamprey Armageddon there was that many of them, they were absolutely everywhere but they are really tough and we managed to sort through them all and re-release them into the river after putting little tags in them and moving them upstream of the weirs.

Being a student with a visual impairment, did you have any challenges in your education? Can you share an example and explain how you overcame them?

I was brought up to never let my eye hold me back from anything and this was the same here during my phd. I have always treated myself the same as everyone else and I hope that everyone else does the same with me as well. I would obviously just make sure I was extra careful when doing fieldwork or working around dangerous machines on the river banks by wearing protective glasses etc but I have always been able to overcome any challenges throughout my life which I definitely believe is down to my upbringing.

If any of our club Wilber members are currently struggling at school/ college, or dislike going,  what would your advice be?  

I would say that all the hard work that you put in now at school, college or wherever you are is 100% worth it. No one can ever take that piece of paper with your grades on away from you and putting in the effort now sets you up for your future successes. It allows you to enjoy whatever you want to do in life if you work hard now and believe me, it is the best feeling in the world. I wish all the club Wilber children and families all the best with their education and hope that you are able to take enjoyment from the hard work that you put in now which will reap rewards in the years to come.

 

Thank you for chatting to us Will!

The return of Yorkshire Day’s Club Wilber Raffle!
This year saw the return of our popular Yorkshire Day Raffle, in aid of Club Wilber, the children’s arm of our charity. The raffle was drawn live on social media and one of our tenants, Lee, drew the tickets for us! We wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who bought a ticket for the draw on the 1st August. We raised over £1500 for Club Wilber, which will go towards enabling us to put on more inclusive activities and events for the children, and their families. 
 
A big thank you too to all of the people and businesses who kindly donated a Yorkshire themed prize-
John Wrights Electricals, Simon Patterson, Assetiam, Delta by Marriott Hotel York, Masons of Yorkshire Gin, The York Roast Co, Flamingoland Resort, York Dungeon, The Deep, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Pizza Express, Markinton Hall, Cross Fishmongers, Grant Young, Whittakers Gin, York Terrariums, LNER, Waste Management Co., North York Moors Railway, York City FC, Yorvik Viking Centre