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RNIB NI Community Connection

Meet or connect with others who are blind or partially sighted to share interests, experiences and support for each other.

Our friendly, helpful and knowledgeable team can link you up with opportunities to suit you both within RNIB and the wider world.

Our community-led groups can provide a safe environment for you to talk openly.  We also have a variety of ways to connect you with others by phone and online - see the list of local groups below that are currently running in your area.

Our Community Access team provide person-centred practical and emotional support to blind and partially sighted people within their local community to build confidence and independence. Enabling those with sight loss to live a full and independent life.

RNIB's Facebook groups are a welcoming and supportive space for people affected by sight loss. Become part a community united by shared experiences by joining your local group today at facebook.com/groups/RNIBConnectNI.

Get in touch to find out more!

February 2024 NI Community Connection Programme

Mondays

  • ‘Insight’ Social support Group (Mid-Ulster, Cookstown) - Usually first Monday of each month. Monday 5th February, 3pm to 4.30pm, Cookstown Community Centre, 42 Fairhill Road, Cookstown, BT80 8AG. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07710066251.
  • VI (Visual Impairment) tennis Belfast - from 11.30pm to 1pm at CIYMS tennis club, 91 Circular Road, Belfast. Facilitated by CIYMS. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Greenisland Social support group - Greenisland Football Club, Glenkeen Avenue. Usually every first Monday of the month. Monday 5th February from 2pm to 4pm, Air fryer demonstration. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07951746093.
  • Boccia – (in partnership with Greenisland Football Club and Community Sports Network) - Monday 19th February, from 2pm to 4pm and every third Monday in month in Greenisland Football Club, Glenkeen Avenue, Greenisland. Come along for a bit of fun, craic, exercise, and company. Open to all. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07951746093.
  • Belfast International Arts Festival project ‘Touch, Feel, Move’ - Monday 12th, 19th, and 26th February from 2pm to 4pm at An Culturlann centre, Falls Road. A series of three workshops with visually impaired dance artist Helen Hall. These workshops will explore the various themes and will influence the final piece of work for the Belfast International art festival next October and a fantastic opportunity to help make work accessible for Blind and partially sighted people. Open to anyone who would like to join the project. To register contact [email protected]. The same workshops will be held in east Belfast.

Tuesdays

  • Belfast International Arts Festival project ‘Touch, Feel, Move’ - Tuesday 30th January 6th and 13th February from 10.30am to 12.30pm at Eastside Visitor centre, Newtownards Road. A series of three workshops with visually impaired dance artist Helen Hall. These workshops will explore the various themes and will influence the final piece of work for the Belfast International art festival next October and a fantastic opportunity to help make work accessible for Blind and partially sighted people. Open to anyone who would like to join the project. The same workshops will be held in west Belfast. To register contact [email protected].
  • Limavady brunch monthly meet up - Tuesday 6th February at Rosmar Café Bistro from 11am. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07702 140 761.
  • VI Judo Causeway - 1pm to 2:30pm at North Coast Grappling, 17 Victoria St, Ballymoney. £3 per session. Open to new interest. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07711190440.
  • VI Bowls - 10.30am to 1pm at Grove Bowling Club, York Road, Belfast. Open to new interest. Facilitated by Irish Bowls Federation. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Ulster Museum – Botanic, Belfast - Tuesday 13th February from 2pm to 3pm, talk and handling session. Facilitated by NMNI. Restricted numbers. Booking required. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • HAM radio group - Tuesday 13th February (second Tuesday of the month) from 8pm to approx. 9.15pm. Facilitated by Lynette Elliott. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07702 140 761.
  • Tea, Story & Chat (Monthly) - Tuesday 20th February from 2 to 3pm (Third Tuesday of every month) at Cookstown Library, 13 Burn Road, Cookstown, BT80 8DJ. Facilitated by: Kendra Reynolds (Branch Library Manager) Tel: 028 8676 3702. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07710066251.

Wednesdays

  • Read aloud in Ards library - One of the library staff will read a short story and the group discuss the characters and the plot, good fun light entertainment. Wednesday 7th February at Ards Library, from 11am to 12pm. Facilitated by: Libraries NI.
  • Ards monthly brunch – All welcome and bring a friend. Wednesday 21st February at The Regency Cafe from 11am to 12:15 pm. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07702 140 761.
  • Causeway Boccia - Wednesdays (weekly) at Coleraine West Community Centre, The Rope Walk, Coleraine from 2pm to 3:15pm. Contact: [email protected] or Mobile: 07711190440.
  • LGBTQ+ online monthly meet up (UK wide) - Wednesday 21st February from 6:30 pm to 7:30pm. New members welcome. Contact: [email protected] or Mobile: 07702140761.
  • Gardening Club, Belfast - Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Next meeting on 14th of February from 10:15am. Facilitated by Ulster Wildlife Trust and Connswater Homes. Restricted numbers and registration required. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Craft group, Belfast - Meet every 3rd Wednesday in the month from 10:30am to 12:30pm at Royal Avenue. Next meeting is on the 21st of February. Facilitated by Robins Hobby café. Cost £10 to cover venue hire, tuition, and all materials. Restricted numbers and pre booking and payment required. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Dungannon monthly audio book club - You are welcome to bring a friend or family member with you. Wednesday 28th February from 11am to 12:30pm at Dungannon Library. For further info contact: Paul McKearney at [email protected].

Thursdays

  • Arts Care singing project - Two sessions left in this project and then finale showcase at end of March. Thursday 1st and 8th February at 10:30am to12:30pm in Carrickfergus Community Forum, 1 Lancasterian Street Carrickfergus (above Poundland). Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07951746093.
  • Foyle monthly brunch - All welcome – bring your friends if you want. Just a social together to catch up over brunch. Thursday 6th February from 12pm at the Jam Café in the Richmond Centre.
  • Archery for Everyone - Weekly on Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at Greenisland Community Centre, 15 Glassillan Grove, Greenisland, BT388TB. Coach: David Thompson. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07951746093.
  • History group, Belfast – Every third Thursday in the month. Thursday 1st February (this is January's meeting) - visit to the War Museum. Thursday 15th February – visit to The Strand Cinema. Closed group – waiting list in operation. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Online Book group – new monthly book group facilitated by Libraries NI via Zoom. Last Thursday in the month from 3pm to 4pm. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Causeway Coast VI Bowls (Indoor) - from 10.00am to 12pm at Ballybrakes indoor bowling centre, Ballymoney. In partnership with Irish Bowls Federation Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07711190440.
  • VI Judo Causeway - from 1pm to 2:30pm at North Coast Grappling, 17 Victoria St, Ballymoney. £3 per session. Open to new interest. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07711190440.
  • Newry - We're back in Newry on Thursday 8 February from 11am to 12:30pm! If you live in the Newry area or are accessible to it easily and would like to meet and connect with others who are blind or partially sighted and their friends, then join the RNIB Community Connection team for tea/coffee and a chat. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07514 623182.
  • VI Gaming – A social group for a chat about gaming via Teams. Every Thursday from 4pm to 5pm. Registration via email to [email protected] or mobile 07514 623182.
  • Walk in Hillsborough walled garden - Thursday 22nd February. Travel from Belfast and meet at the Europa bus station at 9:30am or 10:20am at the gates of Hillsborough Castle. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07514 623182.
  • RNIB Northern Ireland Technology for Life Fair - at the Europa Hotel on the 28th of February from 11am to 7pm. Do not miss Northern Ireland’s top tech event for blind and partially sighted people. RNIB invites you to the biggest showcase of assistive technology products for blind and partially sighted people all under one roof for one day only and it's completely free to attend. At RNIB, we believe in the power of technology to assist people with sight loss to be independent, access information, grasp opportunities and be creative. This event will bring together the industry’s leading suppliers of products, services, and technology with tutorials demonstrating the features of smartphones and tablets, showcasing the latest magnification and screen reading applications and making the most of the internet and online tools. If you’re affected by sight loss and have questions about technology, find your answers at the RNIB Technology for Life Fair. Become tech savvy, get online and enjoy more confidence and independence. Event listing on our website and this link takes you to an event which is live on the RNIB Northern Ireland Facebook page. Any questions, contact: [email protected].
  • Newcastle - We're back in Newcastle on Thursday 29 February from 11:30am to 1pm. If you live in the Newcastle area or are accessible to it easily and would like to meet and connect with others who are blind or partially sighted and their friends, then join the RNIB Community Connection team for tea/coffee and a chat. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07514 623182.

Fridays

  • Ukulele group, Belfast - Every Friday from 10am to 11.:15am at Divis Community Centre, Belfast. Restricted numbers. Registration required. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • West Belfast walk – 10:30am meeting at main gate of Falls Park. Organized by DSNI - Two levels, a slow walk, and a faster walk. The group usually go for coffee in the local café for a chat. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07702 140761.
  • VI tennis - 11am to 12:30pm at Belfast Indoor Tennis Centre. Facilitated by Windsor tennis club. Registration required. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 0780 2865579.
  • What’s happening in March: Facebook live audio newsletter - Una will share the Community Connection program in our Facebook group on Thursday 28th February at approx. 3pm.
  • Newtownabbey Swim Group - Every Friday morning from 9:15am to 11:30am at Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey. Meet in the foyer of the leisure centre at 9:15am with swimsuit on under clothing. Contact: [email protected]. Mobile: 07951746093.
  • Rise and Shine Ladies Coffee and Chat (Coleraine) - Last Friday of the month from 11am at Greggs Cafe (next door to the Forum) in Coleraine. Open to new interest. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 0771119044.

Saturdays

Are you aged 18-35?

Our next meet up will take place on Saturday 17th February in Belfast. If you are aged 18 to 35 and want to meet up with others, contact Fiona for more information. Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07514 623182.

External groups

  • Ballymena VIP group - Meet the second Monday every month in the Ballymena Library. Also an RNIB CAN (Campaigns Active Network) campaigning group. For further info contact: [email protected].
  • Ballee VIP club – Entertainment on every two weeks from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Phone Sammy McAuley for further information on 0780 888 1520. Check out Balee VIP Facebook page.
  • Banbridge ‘Tandem and Walking’ Group ‘TWG+’. Tandem Club: Lurgan Park from after Easter to end of August at 7pm. Walking club: Parks across Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge areas. Every fourth Wednesday every month from 9:30am to 3pm all year. Contact: Doreen McFarlane on 07734723575.
  • ‘Banbridge VIP’ Group - First Wednesday of the month from 2:30pm to 4:30pm at the Anglers Building, Havlock Park, Church Street, Banbridge, BT32 4QA. Contact: Doreen McFarlane on 07734723575. New members welcome.
  • Bangor - Lots happening in the Bangor area too, book clubs, men’s groups, bowling etc., for further info contact: [email protected].
  • Belfast Macular Group - Every second Tuesday in the month from 11am to 12:30pm at Cregagh Library, Belfast. Contact: Emma Baxter at [email protected].
  • Edgecumbe VIP club - Social group at Inverary Community Centre, East Belfast. New members welcome. Fortnightly Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. Contact: Stephen Norris on 074 6286 7526.
  • Atlanta swimming club - Wednesdays from 11am to 12pm at Shankill Leisure Centre, Belfast. Contact: Mina Gillespie. Waiting list in place.
  • Acorn arts group - Thursdays from 10am to 12pm at Divis Community Centre. Contact: Open Arts. Waiting list in place.
  • “Archery for everyone” - Beginners courses happening now in Greenisland Community Centre. If interested contact: David at [email protected].
  • Larne Macular Group - Meet first Monday in the month from 10:30am to 12pm in Upper Crust restaurant, Main Street Larne. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07951746093.
  • Carrickfergus Macular group - Meet every fourth Tuesday in the month from 11am to 12:30pm in Northlands Court, Northlands, Carrickfergus. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07951746093.
  • Newtownabbey Macular group - Second Wednesday in the month from 11am to 12:30pm in Glengormley Library, Carnmoney Road, Glengormley. Contact: [email protected] or mobile 07951746093.
  • VI Tennis - If you are interested in joining the VI Tennis groups in Belfast, get in touch! Contact: [email protected] or mobile: 07802 865579.
  • Fermanagh VIP Club - Meet every second Friday in Enniskillen for chat and activities. Contact: Una on 07702 140761.
  • Macular Degeneration Group (Limavady library) - First Monday of the month. Next meeting is Monday 6th March from 10:30am. To register interest contact (not in the summer).
  • Lisburn outlook – From coffee mornings to tandem cycling, if you live in or near Lisburn, please contact [email protected] to receive their newsletter.
  • EYEspeak Omagh - Self-help support group meet regularly for leisure and learning. Contact: Una on 07702 140761.
  • RNIB Talk and Support phone groups - RNIB Talk and Support runs free befriending social groups for adults with sight loss across the UK. They provide opportunities for you to socialize in small groups by phone to build friendships and get peer support with other people in a similar situation. We match individuals together for conversations based on age and group preferences. For more information visit our talk and support page.

Personal Transcription service

Whether it’s the magical place your favourite book used to take you, or special memories locked in letters and journals that you can no longer read, we understand the importance and power of the written word and how difficult it can be for you to read what you want, when you want.

Life is full of print and the inability to read this can present significant barriers to leading an independent life. Our team can help with removing these barriers. They can help you to stay in touch with your local community, continue to attend social groups and activities, enjoy your favourite hobby, or widen your horizons through education and travel, by simply taking your print and converting it into a format you can read yourself.

What formats do we offer?

  • Audio in human voice or digitally generated synthetic speech, on CD, Daisy CD, USB or as an mp3 file
  • Braille
  • Large and giant print
  • Electronic text
  • Tactile images
  • Accessible sheet music and musical scores

Contact the team on 02922 749668 or 07534 266186 or email [email protected].

RNIB Talk and Support phone groups

RNIB Talk and Support runs free befriending social groups for adults with sight loss across the UK. They provide opportunities for you to socialize in small groups by phone to build friendships and get peer support with other people in a similar situation. We match individuals together for conversations based on age and group preferences.

For more information visit our talk and support page

To join or find out more about any of the above groups contact our RNIB Northern Ireland Community Connection Team: 

Jonathan Adams

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 07711190440

Jackie Cotton

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 07710066251

Fiona Joyce

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 028 90334105

Mobile 07514 623182

Sharon McClure

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 07951746093

Una Mulgrew

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 07702 140761

Olive Rodgers 

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 078 0286 5579