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  • Surrey Association for Visual Impairment

    Surrey Association for Visual Impairment has established a Try Before You Buy centre in partnership with BT at their Rentwood Resource Centre in Fetcham. In it they hold a stock of various types of equipment that clients can try out at their leisure, some of which they can take with them at the end of the visit. The association has found that having equipment in the centre, including telephones supplied by BT, can really help their clients as they try to live independent lives with a disability.

    One client, Mrs S, who is a fiercely independent woman, has visited the Resource Centre several times over the years to obtain equipment when she has needed it. On her last visit she was quite upset as she had been trying to keep in touch with friends and family but was struggling with her present telephone and kept ringing wrong numbers. Her phone didn't have a memory facility and the buttons were too small for her. She tried the Big Button 100 which she has found a great help on many levels.

    She has had several important numbers put into the memory for her which has made dialling numbers easier and quicker for her. With the bigger numbers she makes far less mistakes and also she found the hands free very useful when she is taking down a number or message.

    Andy Cook said that having the BT samples in the resource centre meant that clients could try out the phones before ordering them to make sure that they are suitable. For people who have communication difficulties a telephone they can use provides them with a welcome lifeline.

  • The See Hear Centre, Barnstaple

    The See Hear Centre in Barnstaple, North Devon supports people with sight and hearing loss and, as a partner with BT in their Try Before You Buy scheme, has a wide range of demonstration equipment.

    A spokesperson for the centre said:

    "Our most popular request is simply 'A telephone' and finding the right one makes a big difference to peoples' lives whether they have a hearing or a sight loss. People report that they have not been able to use the telephone for a long time, even years. They have become very nervous because they cannot hear the whole conversation and asking for the caller to repeat what they are saying is so embarrassing and annoying for both parties. If they live alone this leads to such isolation and if they live with a partner it can lead to frustration and argument."

    "One particular case comes to mind; a husband and wife came in to see us. The husband was having serious heart problems and the wife had not used the phone for ten years. We found a phone which solved the problem. The husband was reassured and the wife was able to talk to her grandchildren on the phone for the first time."

    "We find that the BT phones are clear and easy to use and are popular with our clients because it is a brand they know and have used before."

    The See Hear Centre is based at:
    19a Alexandra Road,
    Barnstaple EX32 8BA

    Tel: 01271 373236
    Textphone: 01271 326607
    Mobile: 0783 151809

    Email: seehearnd@livingoptions.org
    Website: www.livingoptions.org

  • St Helens and District Society for Deaf People

    St Helens and District Society for Deaf People was established in 1928 and the organisation, managed by a committee made up of Deaf and hearing people, set up the Deafness Resource Centre to meet the growing needs of Deaf people in St Helens. It provides services that aim to empower, support and enhance the quality of life for Deaf people.

    The resource centre homes a range of equipment and environmental aids, including apparatus supplied by BT, designed to support people and help them to live more independently in their homes. The usefulness of this arrangement was appreciated by a visitor to the centre who tried out the telephones there. She chose the BT Big Button telephone and, having used it now reports;

    "The Big Button phone has changed my life as I can now communicate with friends and family, the big numbers are very helpful as my eyesight isn't what it used to be, I can also hear much better with the clear amplification."

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