Friday 23 October

In this weeks’ Member Update you’ll find:

CEO’s Update

You can view it on the BCA Facebook page, our YouTube channel and on our website.

Save the date!

Keep up to date with all that’s going on at BCA.

BCA Inform – Roundtable on NDIS Independent Assessments and the Participant Charter

For all the information on BCA Inform – a round table event hosted by Rikki Chaplin, National Advocacy Projects Officer at BCA, visit the Event page on the BCA website.

BCA Communications Survey Closes – Sunday 15 November 2020

To complete the Communications Survey, please call BCA on 1800 033 660 or use the link below.

New Member Welcome Forum

Thursday 19 November, 2:30pm and 7:30pm AEDT

Join Tim Haggis, National Membership Development Coordinator at BCA to find out more about what BCA does and how you can get involved. The event is open to all members, regardless of how long you’ve been with us.

BCA Annual General Meeting

Saturday 28 November 2020, 12:00pm AEDT

Join us for our online Annual General Meeting. We would love to have many members present.

Further information is available on our website at

BCA Christmas Shutdown Period

Monday 21 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021.

During this time our office will be closed as staff enjoy their Christmas and New Year break.

VisAbility and Blind Citizens Australia Celebrate Formal Partnership

VisAbility and Blind Citizens Australia, (BCA) are delighted to announce they recently signed a new, three-year partnership agreement which will benefit people who are blind or vision impaired living in Tasmania and Western Australia.

The agreement formalises the relationship between the two organisations which has been developing over a number of years. It includes commitments to collaboration on mutually beneficial projects, sharing each organisation’s events and initiatives with clients/members and ensuring people who are blind or vision impaired have a voice in the development and delivery of programs and services.

VisAbility CEO, Elizabeth Barnes, says this partnership with Blind Citizens Australia will allow us to have broader input from those who matter most.

“VisAbility is committed to ongoing collaboration with people who are blind or vision impaired, so we can provide relevant services and greater advocacy support.”

“Together, our combined knowledge and resources will ensure we can develop and promote initiatives and programs which make a profound difference to people’s lives.”

Blind Citizens Australia CEO, Emma Bennison says the partnership with VisAbility continues her organisation’s commitment to building genuine partnerships with blindness service providers.

“BCA is committed to building sustainable and mutually respectful relationships with blindness service providers across the country who share our commitment to the delivery of high-quality, accessible services that meet the needs of our community and who value our unique perspective as the national representative organisation of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.”

“Visibility and BCA have already worked effectively together, particularly during BCA’s national convention which was held in Tasmania for the first time last year. So we very much look forward to continuing and expanding our collaboration to benefit people who are blind or vision impaired from Western Australia and Tasmania.”

What is BCA Inform?

Thursday 5 November 2020, 7:30pm – 9:00pm AEDT

BCA Inform is a BCA-hosted monthly event that shares the work the organisation has been involved in and the work of other stakeholders that directly relates to people who are blind or vision impaired.

Each BCA Inform event will vary in focus and subject matter, ensuring each event is engaging and relevant.

What will the next BCA Inform event cover?

Hosted by the Rikki Chaplin, National Advocacy Projects Officer at BCA, the next BCA Inform event will focus on  the NDIA Independent Assessments and the Participant Charter and host guest speaker, Sam Bennett, General Manager of Policy, Advice and Research within the Design, Digital and Strategy department at the NDIA.

Following a presentation there will be some time for questions and discussion.

How can I attend BCA Inform?

All BCA members, non-members and stakeholders are invited to register to attend the online Zoom event by emailing or calling 1800 033 660.

The session is slated to run for 90 minutes.

Access Requirements

If you require captioning or have any other access requirements, please contact us as soon as possible on 1800 033 660.

BCA Connect

Thank you to everyone who joined us for BCA Connect, what a great day! Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing with you a wrap up from each of the sessions. This week, we focus on the National Policy Council session and the launch of the new Healthcare polices.

During BCA Connect the National Policy Council released two new resources that may be able to help you if you’re seeking health care.

The first resource is BCA’s Health Care Policy, which can be found on BCA’s website. This policy has been developed with the National Policy Council, to address all aspects of healthcare service provision to people who are blind or vision impaired. Blind Citizens Australia supports healthcare service provision in which people who are blind or vision impaired are treated with dignity and respect through the provision of safe and accessible healthcare options.

People who are blind or vision impaired can use this policy to advocate for accessible, inclusive, and safe healthcare. This is applicable whether they are a user of a healthcare service provider, or a carer, family member, or another person accessing a healthcare service provider.

A second resource, a Hospital Checklist, has been developed with the National Policy Council, to address the issues which arise when a person who is blind or vision-impaired attends hospital for healthcare in both in-patient and out-patient settings. This checklist can be used to help you ask the rights questions when accessing health care in hospital. You can choose from the checklist which of the questions are appropriate for your situation to ask, to help prepare yourself and assist hospital staff in providing your health care.

If you require assistance with advocacy regarding health care, please contact BCA on 1800 033 660 or and BCA’s Advocacy team will get back to you.

Recordings of the event, including the National Policy Council session will soon be available on the BCA Website under the Publications and Audio – Event Recording page.

Happy Hour Schedule

Our Happy Hours are open to all people who are blind or vision impaired, regardless of whether they are members of BCA or not. If you have people in your network who would like to attend, please feel free to share the details with them.

Saturday 24 October, 8:00pm AEDT – Trivia with Sally

For those amongst us who won’t be tuning into the AFL grand final, join Sally for a sports’ free trivia night.

Tuesday 27 October, 7:30pm AEDT – Virtual Catch Up

2020 has certainly been an eventful year. Join host Tim Haggis to discuss what’s been going on for you. It’ll also be a great chance to get to know some other BCA members.

Thursday 29 October, 7:30pm AEDT – Summer Cocktails

The Silly Season is fast approaching, join Angela to share tips and recipes for the perfect summer cocktail.

Saturday 31 October 8.00pm AEDT – Trivia with Anna and Bridget

How to join a Happy Hour

  • If you are on a computer, laptop or tablet you can click on this link:
  • If you are on a smart phone, you can tap on this number: +61370182005,,291084578#
  • If you are on a landline, you can dial 02 8015 6011 and enter the code: 291 084 578

Happy Hour Wrap Up

Here’s a brief summary of what was discussed at some recent Happy Hours:

AFL – Tuesday 20 October

Our BCA footy fans got together for one last wrap up of the season and we discussed the season that was.  It was an informal discussion which covered the season, the draft, the de-listings and finally the big game on Saturday night.

Mindfulness and chilling out – Thursday 22 October 

We had a great discussion tonight around mindfulness, relaxation and making sure we made time for ourselves. Some of the things we discussed included

  • Choosing activities we love and that bring us joy so that making time for ourselves benefits us and doesn’t become another chore
  • The importance of being present in the moment, paying attention to what we are doing, the conversation we are having, the sights and smells around us and not worrying about things in the past or future.
  • Trying to avoid multi-tasking so we can give our present task all of our attention.
  • ‘Chilling out’ can look different for everyone; it might be Netflix on the couch for you, art or a podcast for someone else or even exercise. Chill out activities may vary from day to day or over time.
  • We also had a great discussion around ASMR; ASMR is a feeling that people get from everyday sounds, it can be quite relaxing for some. If you’re not familiar with ASMR there are lots of videos on You Tube.

White Cane Day Event

BCA would like to thank everyone who joined us for our White Cane Day event, held in partnership with The Kindness Pandemic’s Festival of Strong. In particular, we’d like to thank our panellists Liz Wheeler, Linda Agnew and Kristy Fitzgerald for joining us, sharing their stories and also discussing what strong means to each of them.

If you weren’t able to attend the event, there is a recording available on BCA’s You Tube page:

June Ashmore: Leader, Mentor and Friend

BCA are saddened to advise that June Ashmore, from Canberra, a longstanding member of BCA and friend to many of us, passed away on Wednesday 21 October 2020.

June made an outstanding contribution to enhancing the lives of people with disability at a local, national and international level.  When Retinitis Pigmentosa started to impact on her life, June directed her energies to tireless work with the Canberra Blind Society and Retina Australia and then made an amazing contribution to the work and development of BCA from the late 1980s to the mid-2000s.

In addition to her leadership within our Canberra Branch and as a member of the BCA Council (now Board) June was active within our National Women’s Branch and in 2004 joined the foundation board of Vision Australia as one of BCA’s three nominees.

Beyond all of this, June will be remembered fondly by many for the peer support and inspiration that she so freely offered.

Our thoughts are with June’s husband David, their four sons and their families.

Rest in Peace June

New Horizons Weekly Radio Program and Podcast

In the latest episode of New Horizons (Blind Citizens Australia’s weekly radio program), We speak this week with Rikki Chaplin, National Advocacy Projects Officer with BCA, about Independent Functional Assessments, what they mean to the blind and vision impaired community.  Find out how you can have your say and find out more information.  BCA will be holding a Round Table event in November to discuss these.

There are a number of ways to listen to New Horizons:

News from the Branches

Brisbane Branch Annual General Meeting

Saturday 7 November, 3:00pm AEST (Brisbane Time)

Members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Brisbane branch.

Dial in Details:

Audio Description Update from the ABC

In response to member feedback provided to the ABC during BCA Connect, the ABC has announced they have found opportunity to audio describe some additional prime viewing drama this Saturday, 24th October. The shows include:

  • 7:30pm – Victoria
  • 8:20pm – Shetland
  • 9:20pm – Endeavour

Information on the TV campaign, where to find out what’s on and when, where to get help and where to give feedback is available on the ABC website:

Queensland State Election – Your Voting Facts

Queensland’s 2020 general election voting period is from Monday, 19 October to election day on Saturday, 31 October 2020.

For information on how to vote and details of telephone voting, please visit the Electoral Commission of Queensland website:

Guide Dogs NSW / ACT – Positions Vacant

Guide Dogs NSW / ACT welcome applications for the following positions:

  • Access and Technology Advisor (x2) – Location flexible
  • Occupational Therapist – Canberra
  • Head of Supply Chain – Sydney or Melbourne

For more information or to apply, visit the Guide Dogs NSW / ACT Website:

Getting to know Jo Webber

What is your role at BCA?

I’m a new Project Officer for the Life Ready program. I’m working at BCA 20 hours per week and focusing on generating mentoring opportunities for our members. I am keen to apply a real consultative approach to identifying both mentors and mentees and to match groups of people to shared interest areas for them to gain as much as possible out of this opportunity.

How did you come to be in such a role? 

I’ve been a BCA member since 1997 and over the years have been impressed with BCA’s professionalism and capacity to operate with and for its members. This role is a terrific opportunity for me as I can apply my other work in training, capacity development and DPO engagement internationally to this position.

What are some of the things that bring you the most joy?

Sharing a cuppa with a friend, reading a well-narrated audio book and engaging in rigorous discussion about work projects all bring me much joy and motivation.

What is something everyone should know about you?

I have a terrible un-Australian trait of disliking the observance of football as our national religion. I even choose to work on the public holiday set aside to commemorate its annual festival. I send my apologies and commiserations out to all worshipers in advance. Please be assured that I still value all of you as people, just not the grown-ups who run around on perfectly groomed grass to chase an odd shaped ball.

Do you have a favourite quote?

“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”. These wise words from Gandhi are such a positive motivator in advocating for more equitable inclusion for all.

How to get in touch with BCA

You can get in touch with us through the following methods: