I moved from Preston to Worcester on Thursday 30 March and began my new
Technical Support post with Dolphin Computer Access on 3 April.
My new flat is great!! It is pretty spacious with all the modern
conveniences one could ever wish for. I’m in a good location too, with a
post office, convenience store, barber, pharmacy and park just across the
road. Within a minute’s walk there is also two Chinese restaurants, a pub,
a gym (ah ha I don’t think so), and a bus into town.
It’s all gone pretty smoothly. Dolphin have been tremendously supportive
and helpful. If the first week is anything to go by, I am going to enjoy
living in Worcester and working for Dolphin.
There are a couple of small niggly things which I haven’t been able to get
completely resolved, if you’re interested then read on. But I really am
happy and believe I have made a very positive move and am feeling confident
and happy about my prospects.
I paid for BT to install a telephone line in my new property, BT advised me
that all telephone extension outlets and broadband had been tested and was
working. They lied. It took 5 days to get my broadband switched on and one
of the telephone outlets is still not working. BT have refused to fix the
phone point and they reckon contractually they only have to provide
telephone service to the master outlet. This may well be true. But I feel
BT have misled me in telling me that all the extensions had been tested and
were working. To be honest I cannot be bothered wasting more time, money
and energy pursuing this further. Until my local loop is unbundled, I will
just make a conscious effort to use my BT line as little as possible, and
where appropriate I will use third-party carriers.
Of the two F-connector satellite points, only one works. BSkyB refuse to
look at it as they do not support communal installations, and the letting
agent does not know who installed satellite TV in this building. I am not
at home as much as I used to be, so I am sure I will be able to get by with
the one F-connector.
I have no clue how to use my boiler and central heating system. It’s like
the flight deck of concord in there. So getting the heating on and off is
all a bit random at the moment. But I think I will figure it out. A good
friend of mine managed to dig out a PDF file of the boiler documentation,
although I have not checked yet to see how accessible the file is.
After many lengthy phone calls and a lot of buggering around, I managed to
arrange to use up my lunch hour on Thursday talking to a rehab officer from
the local social service sensory impairment team.
I asked the rehab worker about accessing library services. In view of the
fact that I pay for library services with my tax but cannot access most of
the content held by the public library, would Worcester do as many other
local authorities do in England and Wales, and cover the cost of a
subscription to the RNIB’s talking book service? Apparently this would
depend on an as yet unspecified earnings threshold. So a sighted
millionaire can use the public library for free, but because I am a blind
person with an average paying job I am penalised. I point all of this out
and suggested that I would take this to the local press and my MP.
Interestingly three days later my request was grudgingly approved.
I enquired about some initial orientation and mobility training in the city
centre. The bus station is really the central public transport hub for
Worcester, and I thought the bus station my be a good place to start. The
rehab worker clamed to be a qualified mobility instructor, but said that her
knowledge of the bus station in Worcester city centre was very limited.
This did not exactly fill me with confidence, and I felt unsafe about the
prospect of her providing me with mobility training around there. In the
event it was ok and I now have a good working knowledge of the city centre
and how to get there both on the bus and on foot.
I asked the rehab worker to describe to me what services were available from
the Worcester social service sensory impairment team, and maybe that would
be useful in identifying the services which I would wish to access. I was
told that the Worcester Association for the blind had the occasional
organised social event in the evenings and that the WAB produce a talking
newspaper on cassette, although lately the content had been dominated by
obituaries! Oh and finally, the sensory impairment team would be prepared
to consider providing me with a talking “Cube Block”! What?
Fantastic, the best part of my lunch hour for what, a tape about dead people
I have never heard of, and a cube clock. Time very well spent. Eh hem,
apparently the clock arrived this morning. I could hardly wait. I made
some space especially. I will have to get an early night with this level of
To the best of her ability, the rehab worker herself did try to be as
helpful as possible considering the resources available to her. This post
is not an indictment of her specifically, but the service she represents.
As someone who has experience growing up in the care of the social service
authorities, I have come not to expect much from these departments. I am
lucky that I am no shrinking violet, I have some tremendous friends, and I
am pretty resourceful, ultimately I will survive and flourish with or
without them. But in 2006 this level of service from an organisation funded
out of our taxes is embarrassingly shameful.