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In Touch

Podcast In Touch

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  • Wine and Architecture Courses
    Who doesn't love a good glass of wine? Well, when we found out that the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London have their first blind teacher Richard Lane, we thought we ought to go sit in on a class and get educated about the world of wine. We hear from Richard about his journey from being a student at WSET to becoming a wine educator there and we caught up with Harry Meade, who is himself blind, and one of Richard's pupils. We asked Harry how it fared having a visually impaired teacher. We rightly hear a lot about how we live in a highly visual world and part of that encompasses architecture and the built environment. Our reporter Fern Lulham paid a visit to a course called Architecture Beyond Sight at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. The aim of the course is to include visually impaired people within the design and making of architecture from the very beginning. Fern even tried her hand at using some of the large power tools available in the classroom... Presenter: Peter White Producer: Beth Hemmings Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme Website image description: Peter White sits smiling in the centre of the image. He is wearing a dark green jumper with the collar of a cheque shirt peeking at the top. Above Peter's head is the BBC logo, across Peter's chest reads 'In Touch' and beneath that is the Radio 4 logo. The background is a series of squares that are different shades of blue.
  • A Gap in the Market, Para-cyclist Libby Clegg
    We often report on how well sight loss services are operating, but its not often we talk about services that just do not exist - but should. Listener Alex Scott contacted us after he attended London's Pride Festival a few weeks ago, expressing his dismay at the lack of LGBTQ+ community groups for people who are also blind or partially sighted. Indeed, very few do exist. We found one UK-wide group run by The RNIB in Northern Ireland. We invited Alex to tell us about this missing link and what he'd like to see happen for future. We also speak to Una Mulgrew, who is a Community Facilitator at RNIB Connect in Northern Ireland. She tells us more about her group and whether the RNIB has plans to fill this gap. The Commonwealth Games 2022 have drawn to a close, but these games were unique. They were integrated, with both para- and able-bodied athletes competing alongside each other and included a series of new visually impaired events. We give a final round-up of last week's performances, and we speak to Libby Clegg. Libby was once a highly decorated sprinter, achieving two gold medals at the Rio Paralympics, but she has since switched to para-cycling and this year's Commonwealth Games was her first track cycling competition. She explains why she decided to make the switch and her opinion on the integration of the Games. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Beth Hemmings Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme Website image description: pictured is an archway of rainbow coloured balloons at a Pride Parade in Brighton. The balloons are all the colours of the original Pride flag: red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet. The image was taken from street view and behind the balloons are a series of architecturally grand buildings.
  • Diabetic macular oedema treatment, The Commonwealth Games
    Diabetic macular oedema is a condition that can develop when having type one or type two diabetes. It can impact sight progressively in the form of retinopathy or maculopathy. We hear about a new treatment for the condition, which The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has estimated to benefit around 22,000 people. Bernie Warren has the condition and she tells us about the benefits this drug could have to her life. We also get more information about the condition and the new treatment from Robin Hamilton, who is an Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. The Commonwealth Games are underway in Birmingham. They are an integrated games, with both para and able-bodied athletes competing alongside each other. Some visually impaired athletes are included in the mix and so we get a round-up of the medal winners from BBC Sports reporter, Delyth Lloyd. We speak to visually impaired Para-Triathlon gold medallist, Dave Ellis about his win and to Jonny Riall, who is the leader of Team England and also Head of Sport at the British Paralympic Association on the integration of athletes at the Commonwealth Games. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Beth Hemmings Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme Website image description: pictured is a Team England swimmer diving into a pool at the Commonwealth Games. The image is taken using an underwater camera. The swimmer is wearing a red swimsuit and red swimming cap. Yellow and pink bunting hangs in the air over the pool.
  • Covid and Sight Loss; Retinitis Pigmentosa Research
    Previously on In Touch, Dr Peter Hampson, clinical Director of the Association of Optometrists warned of a possible link between Covid-19 and sight loss. We talk to Criminal Lawyer Paul Bacon and former children's Laureate Michael Rosen about their personal experience of this. We also get an update from Dr Hampson on what the latest data tells us. Retinitis Pigmentosa is the most common inherited eye condition, affecting around one in four thousand people in the UK. Currently, there is no known cure or effective treatments that can stop it's progression. Do the latest scientific advances give those affected grounds for optimism or would that be misplaced? The charity Fight for Sight is funding research to try and uncover new treatment strategies. We talk to their CEO, Keith Valentine and researcher Mike Cheetham to get their thoughts. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Fern Lulham Production Coordinator: William Wolstenholme Website image description: Covid test kit unboxed.
  • The Cost of Living Crisis; Cornea Transplant Delays
    Prior to the current cost of living crisis, the Royal National Institute of Blind People found that one in five blind and partially sighted people had difficulty in making ends meet. People with sight loss already have extra living costs and are more reliant on benefits than others as a result of low employment rates. Recently, the government have introduced financial aid and have increased benefits, but the RNIB say that these measures don't go far enough. We hear the story of Alex Ramzan, who has been struggling with the cost of living crisis and we speak to David Aldwinkle, who is the Director of Insight and Customer Voice at the RNIB, about the problems they are hearing and their campaign. The cornea is a very delicate part of the eye. It is essentially the surface through which you see, so if it becomes scarred or damaged in any way, what you see can become increasingly impaired. The cornea can be replaced though, and the effects can be dramatic. But the supply of donated corneas has not kept up with demand. Currently, one in 10 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register have indicated that they do not wish to donate their corneas, making donations low and waiting times for replacements high. We hear about the causes behind this and the implications for people waiting from Kyle Bennett, who is the Assistant Director of Tissue & Eye Services at NHS Blood and Transplant. We also hear from Shelly Hague, who recently had her corneas replaced. She tells us about the impact this has had on her life. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Beth Hemmings Production Coordinator: Liz Poole Website image description: pictured is an extreme close up of a brown eye on a black background.

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