The Accessible Friends Network

Post date: 
Monday, 2 October 2017
Using a tablet

Greg Hamilton is a tech support worker and member of The Accessible Friends Network, or TAFN for short. Greg explains why he first got involved in TAFN and how it benefits him.

 
“TAFN is a member-led UK charity whose mission is to allow blind and partially sighted people to communicate with each other using an audio chat system over the internet.
 
“The idea behind TAFN is to help cut down the isolation felt by many blind and partially sighted people. A large number of people are on their own at home and don’t have the opportunity to speak to others on a friendship basis. That’s why many members of TAFN find the fact they can talk to somebody who’s in the same boat stimulating and rewarding.

My experience of TAFN

“I became involved with TAFN in 2009 when I was told about the charity from an existing member I met. I thought I’d give it a go and see what it was like. I really wasn’t sure at the time, but I took to it like a duck to water.
 
“I found it very interesting that I could speak to other people in real-time audio and that they all knew where I was coming from.
Everything about the people’s lives who I spoke to was in some way fringed or tempered by the fact that we are visually impaired. 
 

“When I was younger, my sight was quite good. I had no problem reading books or getting about, but I have none at all now. I have retinitis pigmentosa, which is degenerative. My condition has given me an outlet to talk to other people about the same sort of problems I have – although we chat about all kinds of things, not just our conditions.

“As everybody on the site has a visual impairment, it frames the way we look at the world and in some ways dictates how much freedom we have. We can talk about how we have to fight and push for certain things, and we also talk about how we may have to adapt our behaviour in different ways to enjoy things that sighted people do. 

Why I like TAFN

"It’s been a great help to me because it’s allowed me to take part in the charity and it’s given me some focus in my life. As I contribute to the charity through a tech support role, I’m in touch with members on a daily basis. I get to help others out and that’s a very rewarding experience.” 
 
To find out more about The Accessible Friends Network or to become a member, visit tafn.org.uk
 
If you want to shine a light on some of the great work happening in your local area, do get in touch by emailing connect@rnib.org.uk

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