Home Men's Health Group for blind Asians in Leeds breaks down COVID barriers to host...

Group for blind Asians in Leeds breaks down COVID barriers to host online sessions


All of these factors can equate to social isolation but add a world-wide lockdown and the effects of all these become even more challenging for many.

While many groups can combat this with online meet-ups, one organisation in Leeds is tackling all of these with the added issue of having blind or visually impaired members.

The Association of Blind Asians Leeds, based on Harehills Avenue, has various projects such as men’s health, reading groups in different languages, advocacy support – and now cooking.

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Community groups are vital for making sure older people in the city can enjoy a vibrant lifestyle – regardless of age.

Due to the very nature of members and their health issues, getting involved with on-line groups and technology can be difficult.

Fareen Hasan, an enablement worker, said: “We had to adapt and change the way we delivered our services. We are now supporting service users online and as well as providing online classes on Zoom, three times a week to keep our service users active as well as mentally and physically healthy.

“But it is just not easy to get into a platform and ABA staff helped them to download the Zoom app on IPads, phones etc. and encouraged them to be connected digitally by speaking in their preferred language.”

It comes as a campaign to raise awareness of ageism and change negative attitudes about ageing and older people within the city is preparing to move into its final phase.

A snapshot from the virtual cooking class with the Association of Blind Asians.

The city-wide Age Proud campaign will, from October, focus on how it is time to feel good about ageing and share the positive benefits that being older and wiser can bring.

It was launched in October last year by Leeds Older People’s Forum working with the Leeds Age Friendly Partnership, Leeds City Council, the NHS in Leeds, and voluntary sector organisations.

The cooking session was actually the first time a live cooking demonstration had been held and more have been planned for later in the year after organisers found they broke down age barriers

Ms Hasan added: “We did host a cooking session, we started with basic stuff, healthy eats and did two quick recipes – cheese scones and oaty bites. It was virtual but went really well. people found it was really engaging and lovely. It was healthy, low in sugar and good on calories. A quick snack that they could make was the idea.

“One lady did it with her grandchild who was helping her in the kitchen. Some could hear it but needed a carer to do it for them. One lady made it for her mother who is about 95 years-old. She was not there but having that input from it. It is a very different combination but trying to make it work for everybody.

“Being visually impaired, isolated, mental health issues – there are a lot of these things going around. There is a need for services like these to help them out.”

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