I spent most of my working life in Procurement in financial services and engineering. These days I split my time between Sport (weight lifting, rowing and long distance running) and volunteering in the Sight Loss sector.
I have a form of Macular Degeneration, which was diagnosed in my teens and has gradually deteriorated over time, to the point I am now Registered Severely Sight Impaired. I am losing my reading vision and facial recognition and struggle after dark. Having bluffed for a long time I now have my first Guide Dog – Lilly – which has given me back a great deal of confidence and freedom. Most of my solutions to sight loss are technology based and I am a big advocate of text to voice and speech recognition software. I come across many instances where accessibility in organisations starts and ends with wheelchair access and my aim through being a council member is help organisations think about wider accessibility and to ensure we are properly included in planning, processes and staff training.
My area of focus for BSLC is Transport – having lived elsewhere in the UK, Birmingham often fails to consider the impact of infrastructure projects on the visually impaired, from slow implementation of tactiles on rail platforms, to insufficient and poorly maintained crossing control points to name but a few. Together we need to focus on these problem areas whilst celebrating and championing pockets of absolute excellence.