I want to start off by saying a huge thank you to Alison Oliver for the sterling work she has done as Chief Executive of Visionary over the last 2.5 years. I wish her all of the very best now that she is on maternity leave. We look forward to regular progress reports and welcoming Alison back early next year (and baby photos in the meantime!)

Fiona Sandford has now officially started as interim CEO of Visionary so we can now officially welcome her! I am really looking forward to working with Fiona and continuing to progress our partnership with Visionary. I’m sure you will all be meeting Fiona soon. Fiona actually came down to London for the Visionary board meeting the week before she officially started and it then took her several days to get back to Glasgow due to the bad weather and travel chaos; so she has already set the standard for the levels of enthusiasm and determination that we’ll be looking forward to!

I’m very excited about the new Regional Development Programme that we are developing with Visionary. Last week I had the opportunity to discuss this with the Visionary Board and I’m happy to say that we have agreed a working plan and I look forward to sharing more details about the programme and its pilots with you soon.

I was fortunate enough to be invited back to attend the North East Connect Group’s recent weekend at Windermere Manor Hotel, an event I greatly enjoyed last year, but unfortunately my participation was another victim of the weather. But many of the participants are clearly made of sterner stuff and 35 brave souls made it to the event which I hear was a great success. The event included a talk by Sue Taylor, the Chief Executive of Sight Service in Gateshead, about the pilot work being developed with Visionary with the working name of Vision North East, as well as a talk from RNIB’s Chair Ellie Southwood.

The event was mainly organised by Peter Bennetts, who I originally met at an England Vision Strategy event about 18 months ago, and who has since become a good friend of mine. Peter recently featured in an article in the Daily Mirror complaining about the failure of NHS Trusts to provide information in an accessible format, as required by the recent regulations. I would like to congratulate Peter for sticking his head above the parapet and holding NHS Trusts to account; this is a very important subject on which much further progress is needed.

Lastly, I’m greatly looking forward to the VI Talk Open Day on Saturday 24th March at Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham. I’m a great fan of VI Talk and have introduced several of my friends to it. It’s a great place for people to share ideas and experiences and provide peer support on a wide range of issues.

Listen to the audio supplement to Peter’s blog


Chief Executive

Peter Corbett


Photo credit: The Daily Mirror website.