Dark City compiled VI resources and Activites



  • Support Groups + Organisations


  • Tools and Resources


  • Social and Activity Groups


  • Arts and Cultural Venues + Organisations



Prepared by PECo Theatre as part of the Dark City project, this document provides a list of resources, support, activities and opportunities available for visually impaired (VI) people in Bristol. The information presented has been gathered from the Dark City devising team, as well as a number of local VI meetup groups; it serves as a representation of rather than a full, comprehensive list of services and opportunities available.


Support Groups + Organisations

Vision West of England [VWoE]

VWoE support blind and partially sighted people across Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Vision West of England exists to reduce the impact of sight loss, providing local services to enable Blind and Partially-Sighted People to lead fulfilling, independent lives.

Find out what’s going on in your area, from Sight Loss information and advice sessions, to social groups and sporting events.

Contact: Marc Gulwell, Senior Sight Loss Advisor,

Vision West of England, The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Bristol BS16 2QQ

landline: 0117 322 4885 mobile: 07849833050

email: marc.gulwell@visionwofe.org.uk

website: https://www.visionwofe.org.uk

Bristol Sight Loss Council (BSLC)

The Thomas Pocklington Trust have launched Bristol Sight Loss Council (BSLC) following the success of other Sight Loss Councils across the country.  Sight Loss Councils are made up of volunteers who themselves are blind or partially sighted. Members work to tackle local issues, working with public, private and voluntary organisations to improve and support their services and make them more accessible.

The Trust believe blind and partially sighted people are best suited to work with organisations to enable them to better understand the needs and improve the lives of people with sight loss.

If you have questions or have anything you would like to raise with the Sightloss Council, please contact:

Contact: Alun Davies (Engagement Manager)

Tel: 07779 169019

Email: alun.davies@pocklington-trust.org.uk

Website: www.sightlosscouncil.org.uk

Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF)

An organisation of Disabled people who live, work or study in Bristol

  • Materials in preferred format for events (in advance where possible)
  • Audio description for presentation slides or images
  • Accessibility functions of any software used to create documents (especially alternative text for images)
  • Large print versions of any documents (agendas, membership forms, flyers, leaflets etc) for use at events
  • Shared PA support for larger meetings/events
  • Water bowls for assistance dogs

Website: http://bristoldef.org.uk/



support young people and families living with a visual impairment.

Tel: +44 (0) 7464 351 958

Email: info@look-uk.org


Sensory Support Drop-in Service

Bristol City Council Advice drop-in sessions for independent living every Thursday 11:30 – 13:30 at two different locations.



Bristol Community Links South, Langhill Avenue, Inns Court, Knowle, BS4 1TN.

Bedminster Library, Bedminster Parade, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 4AQ.


Tel: 0117 377 2720

Email: bcl@bristol.gov.uk

Website: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/social-care-health/day-centres-and-services


Guide dogs for the blind


Services include:

  • Family and education support
  • Mobility training
  • Family events
  • Assistive technology and grants
  • Sighted guiding service
  • CustomEye Books
  • Guide dogs for children, young people and adults
  • Buddy dogs


Website: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/

Pauls Place


Paul’s Place support individuals living with a disability through providing a safe, social environment, support plans and a programme of individual and group activities.


Where: Paul’s Place Charity, Serridge Lane, Coalpit Heath, Bristol, BS36 2TT


Tel: 01454 777236
Email: info@paulsplace.org.uk

Website: http://www.paulsplace.org.uk/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PaulsPlaceCharity/




Sense offer personalised and flexible services that are built around the specific needs of each individual. They support people in their home and in the community, in their education and transition to adulthood, and through holidays, arts, sports and wellbeing programmes. They also offer practical support to families, including information, advice, short breaks and family events.


Tel: 0300 330 9250

Email: info@sense.org.uk

Website: https://www.sense.org.uk/

Deafblind UK


Deafblind UK is a national charity supporting people with sight and hearing loss. If you or someone you know is affected by reduced sight and hearing, they can help.


Services include:

  • Awareness talks
  • Befriending
  • Care and support
  • Casework
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Social Groups + Holidays
  • Information and Advice Line


Tel: 0800 132 320

Email: info@deafblind.org.uk

Website: https://deafblind.org.uk/














Tools and Resources

Seeing AI App


A free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.


Download the app for free from itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seeing-ai/id999062298?mt=8

SoundScape App


Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance your awareness of what is around you, and thereby help you get around and explore your surroundings.

Download the app for free from itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/microsoft-soundscape/id1240320677?mt=8



Provide opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience the arts at UK’s theatres, museums, galleries and heritage sites.



Visit their website for information about upcoming audio-described events and productions.


Website: https://vocaleyes.co.uk/



A community-powered website for blind and low-vision users of Apple’s range of Mac computers, the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.


Website: www.applevis.com



A U.K. based company specialising in the design, manufacture and supply of innovative aids for the blind and partially sighted. They have a printed catalogue with photographs of their complete range of products which can be mailed to you on request.


Website: https://www.cobolt.co.uk/

Sight and Sound

Provide assistive technology and advice.


Tel: 01604 798070


Email: support@sightandsound.co.uk


Website: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/



An indoor navigation app designed for you to independently visit arts venues with confidence.


Download the app for free from itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ucan-go/id923938591?mt=8


Website: https://calvium.com/projects/ucan-go/


Avon Talking Magazine


Free monthly audio newspaper and magazine delivered to your door for listeners in the greater Bath, Bristol and Western area.

Tel: 0117 9525121 / 0788 979 8582


Website: http://www.avontm.co.uk






Social and Activity Groups

Vision West of England (VWoE)


Organise a wide range of sports and social activities including football and coffee mornings. Details of events can be found on their Facebook page and are shared in a regular e-newsletter.


Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VisionWofE/


For more information and/or to subscribe to VWoE newsletter, contact:


Marc Gulwell (Outreach Officer)

Tel: 0117 322 4885

Email: marc.gulwell@visionwofe.org.uk


Guitar Lessons


Jeff Daniels

Tel: 07963 200973

Email: tljdaniels@icloud.com


Macular Monthly Meet-Ups


The Macular Society’s network of over 400 macular support groups across the UK. Each one offers practical and emotional support for people living with macular disease.


For more information about your closest meet up contact:


Judy Pride (Regional Manager)

Tel: 07947373244

Email: judy.pride@macularsociety.org


Macular Society Advice and Information Service

Tel: 0300 3030 111

VI Talk


Sharing ideas, information and support within the visually impaired community.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vitalk/

Arts and Crafts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2165955643442252/

Book Club: www.facebook.com/thevitalkbookclub

Sport: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1190844591043685


Email: info@vitalk.co.uk

Website: www.vitalk.co.uk

Bristol Coffee and Convo


If you like to relax with a good slice of cake and steaming cup of coffee whilst chatting to likeminded people, then the Coffee and Convo meets are for you. It is a very relaxed way to meet new people, discuss things related to eye conditions in non-clinical place whilst enjoying a good cup of coffee (other hot drinks are available) at the same time.


When: Monthly meeting on a Saturday from 11:00 – 13:00

Where: Boswell’s Café, The Galleries, Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3XB


Visit the Vision West of England facebook page for details about their next meet up.


Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VisionWofE/events/?ref=page_internal


Clear Sound Choir


When: Every Monday from 19:00 – 21:00


Website: http://www.clearsoundschoir.org.uk/


Tel: 0117 9870872

Email: contact@clearsoundschoir.org.uk

VI Reading Group


When: Fourth Thursday of every month at 10:30.

Where: Bristol Central Library, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TL.


For more information contact:


Liz Illingworth (Group Chair)

Email: lizillingworth@blueyonder.co.uk


Polly Ho-Yen (Central Library)

Tel: 0117 903 6198

Email: Polly.Ho-Yen@bristol.gov.uk




A performance and creative arts co-operative for blind and partially-sighted children, young people and their friends.


Website: https://www.ucanproductions.org/


Tel: 02920870554 / 07812 051815

Email: info@ucanproductions.org



Avon Sports and Leisure Club


Social games, outings and holidays.


When: Third Wednesday of every month from 19:30 – 23:00

Where: Bristol County Sports Club, 40 Colston street, BS1 5AE


For more information contact:


John Vickery

Tel: 07717009655

Email: vickeryjohn@sky.com

Flat Green Bowling Club for the Blind


Flat green bowls for the visually impaired. They also accept people with no visual impairment, both to play and/or assist players.


When: Every Friday afternoon

Where: Arrow Bowling Club, Redland Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6QX


For more information contact:


John Vickery

Tel: 07717009655 / 0117 979 2611

Email: vickeryjohn@sky.com

West of England Centre for Inclusive Living (WECIL) Peer Support Projects


Assistance with transport and peer support at a range of free, creative events across Bristol.


Curiosity Club: An experimental club run by We The Curious. Science-based but no need to be a scientist, turn your questions into a research project.
Creative Challenge (Last Thursday of month 12:30 – 14:30): Run by Trinity Arts. Art, writing, discussing, making, tea drinking and creating. Short creative tasks that help everyone become more creative.
Tel: 0117 947 9942

Email: peersupport@wecil.co.uk


RNIB Southwest Connect


This group is a supportive, safe environment where you can share your story, ask questions, get advice and talk about the issues that matter to you.


Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RNIBConnectSouthWest/



Community art class. All are welcome at this friendly group and no experience is necessary, just an interest in art. Held in the lovely light, bright and accessible education room at the Greenway Community Practice.


When: Every Wednesday at 13:30 & every Thursday at 10:00 Where: Greenway Community Practice, Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol, BS10 6AF


For more information contact:


Roma Widger

Tel: 0117 924 1930 / 07896 708 031

Email: widger@blueyonder.co.uk



Tel: 0117 959 8939


Website: http://www.greenwaycommunitypractice.nhs.uk/index.php/brushstrokes/

VI Runners Bristol


A group for both VI runners and running guides in and around Bristol to connect up for training runs and races. Also to share ideas and thoughts on VI guiding. They welcome any standard from complete beginner, and offer a ‘couch to 5k’ course. Guides will often provide lifts to the location.


When: Every Wednesday at 19:00

Where: Different locations


If you are a runner who needs a guide, post on the Facebook group to see if any guides can help with your request.


Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1890506954520150/


For more information contact:


Colin Johnson

Tel: 07949 696 751

Email: colinjohnson452@btinternet.com


Royal Horticultural Society


Provide a great deal of information around opportunities and advice on gardening with a visual impairment, including a list of relevant organisations who offer support, tools and equipment and demonstration gardens.


Website: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=812




A charity offering a wealth of gardening information on their website and training opportunities for people to start or continue gardening with a wide range of disabilities.


Where: A number of different venues across Reading, London, Bristol and Birmingham.


Website: https://www.thrive.org.uk/courses-and-workshops.aspx


Tel: 0118 988 5688

Email: training@thrive.org.uk



RNIB Connect Radio


Find out what’s happening in the RNIB Connect Community in their regularly updated podcast, including weekly episodes each Monday of the The Weekly Connect.

Listen on apple podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/rnib-connect/id1171766536


Listen on Audioboom: https://audioboom.com/channel/weeklyconnect


Website: http://www.insightradio.co.uk/


In Touch Radio 4 Podcast


News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted


Listen on BBC Radio 4 website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qxww/episodes/downloads


Listen on BBC Sounds app: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/brand:b006qxww/b00jhxmm


Arts and Cultural Venues + Organisations


Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of arts and cultural organisations in Bristol, rather it details the services currently offered by a select few that completed Dark City’s ‘VI Access to the Arts’ audit.



Theatre Bristol


A website for anyone interested in live performance, promoting jobs, events and opportunities.


You can sign up to their weekly e-newletter by visiting the following website: http://www.theatrebristol.net/newsletter


Theatre Bristol hosts this site as part of its broader activity, which includes one-to-one advice and support for artists and producers, commissioning and producing new work, researching and testing new ideas


  • A ‘social story’ outlining what to expect when visiting the Theatre Bristol office
  • Provide services and information in different formats e.g. large print, telephone meetings etc

Website: https://theatrebristol.net/


Trinity Arts Centre


Live music and arts venue offering gigs, venue hire, community arts projects, free courses for young people and theatre and rehearsal space.



  • A committed accessible seating area
  • Free for companions
  • 2 staff fully trained in guiding VI members of the public
  • Queue jump system
  • Bronze level ‘Attitude is Everything’


Address: Trinity Rd, Bristol, BS2 0NW

M Shed


From prehistoric times to the present day, M Shed tells the story of the city and its unique place in the world.


  • The PLACE gallery has tactile maps and audio narrative for virtual maps
  • Level access + lifts
  • Kiosk points provide stories via audio/touch screen PC’s with keyboards
  • Accessible toilets

Address: Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol, BS1 4RN

Bristol Museums


  • Discovery Pens to access interpretation
  • Described tours for temporary exhibitions
  • Inclusive design is integral to developing their exhibitions
  • There is hands-on and audio engagement where possible
  • Visitor Assistants are trained on sighted guiding

Address: Different venues across Bristol


Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC)


An arts centre and charity in Knowle West, Bristol, supporting social action using technology, community arts and education.


  • Accessibility is a key design element of every project
  • Building is DDA compliant, with a strong palette of different colours, flooring textures to help with navigation around the building and signs in braille on the bathroom doors and in the lift
  • Job applicants can make applications in a form that suits them i.e. video.
  • Guaranteed interviews to Disabled People who fulfil the minimum requirements for the role.

Address: Leinster Ave, Bristol, BS4 1NL


Colston Hall


Bristol’s largest concert hall, presenting music concerts and entertainment.


  • Assistance/guide dogs cared for during events in a quiet space with water
  • Braille signage on lifts
  • Large print/audio of brochures available
  • Quiet space available for performances
  • Can provide a personal assistant at events
  • Informed by ‘Attitude is Everything’

Address: Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AR


Bristol Old Vic


The oldest working theatre in the English speaking world, a wedding and event hire venue, and a heritage destination.


  • Audio Described performances
  • Audio notes sent prior to the show (including details of set, costume and character)
  • Free pre-show touch tours for the set and stage
  • Guide, hearing or other working dogs are welcome.
  • Free tickets to performances for companions

Address: King St, Bristol, BS1 4ED