The end of October was a busy time full of networking, collaborating, learning and sharing knowledge across the eye health and sight loss sector. I attended two events in Birmingham focussing on the delivery of the Seeing It My Way outcomes in the region and across the country.
The West Midlands event was attended by a great variety of organisations with representatives from across the sector and I was pleased to see the momentum that has already been built up and the huge enthusiasm to work together to make things better.
This year’s Visionary Conference saw the highest ever number of delegates in attendance which shows the great progress that Visionary has made and how strong it is as an umbrella organisation. I greatly enjoyed my time at the Conference, meeting new people and hearing how local organisations are making a difference on a daily basis to the lives of people with sight loss.
I particularly want to highlight the role of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council (BSLC), whose members I had the great pleasure to meet at the West Midlands event. The Council has eight volunteer MPs so far who will aim to make sure the needs of people with sight loss are taken into consideration and will run campaigns and lobby for change to improve the daily lives of visually impaired people.
The BSLC are in the process of finding out what issues are important to people with sight loss in Birmingham and moving forward will hold regular public meetings to enable Birmingham residents to have their say, give feedback on progress and agree future plans.
This model is partly based on the Kingston VI Parliament that we have supported over the last couple of years. I am delighted to see this model being followed in other places. I fully support giving people with sight loss the opportunity to champion their needs and I hope the Birmingham Sight Loss Council will have many successes that they will be sharing with us in the future.