Visionary members not alone

“With support from the Visionary Team and the connections they make, you never feel alone in the job.  Visionary has the voice to make the changes in this area which are greatly needed.”

Mark Upton’s verdict on the work of Visionary from Oxfordshire Association for the Blind has been echoed by local sight loss organisations up and down the country.

With funding from Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), the membership organisation for local sight loss charities delivered 211 online sessions attended by 2,602 people during 2021-22.  It provided 748 individuals with one-to-one support, delivered its flagship conference for a second year virtually and started planning the return for the first in-person conference since Covid.

During the year it also launched a Make it Matter programme to promote inclusion, challenge, and change; and developed themed months that address skills and knowledge gaps identified by members. It established a lived experience movement across the Visionary membership through peer support forums and identified rehabilitation skills gaps which resulted in the Tech for Rehabilitation and Fit for Rehabilitation work programmes.  It also led the delivery of the first ever sector wide national fundraising initiative.


Fiona Sandford, CEO of Visionary, said: “Over the last 12 months, we have further developed our flexible and responsive way of working, enabling us to connect and collaborate with our members and national partners to develop and share great ideas, news and innovation. We have inspired members and national partners to work together strategically and operationally to create initiatives and services that will change lives for the better.


“Covid was the stimulus to move many of the events and activities online to continue to be able to offer support to local sight loss organisations.  Listening to Visionary members, many of these sessions will continue in a virtual format enabling greater engagement and participation right across the UK.”

Cathy Low, Director of Partnerships for TPT, said: “The latest report from Visionary shows the real impact the charity makes to the lives of blind and partially sighted people and the huge respect it has earned from right across the sector.  So much has been achieved this year which is testament to the hard work of Visionary’s team.


“We are proud to support and work closely with this important organisation that represents so many other charities and local societies in this sector.  Visionary shares our ambitions in supporting blind and partially sighted people to live the life they want to lead.”


Visionary members and partners agree.  Consultant, Rob Legge, said: “I was parachuted into Warwick Vision Support to provide part time Interim Operational management support while the trustees recruited a new CEO.  I would not have been able to do the role to the level I was able to without the support of Visionary.  Visionary’s network of support and expertise is a gem in the sight loss sector.”

The Braillists Foundation has run several events with Visionary. Dave Williams from the organisation, said: “I can’t thank everyone at Visionary enough for what you do to support local societies, CEOs and the sector as a whole!”

Adding to the consistent theme from members that societies are not alone in their challenges, Nik Demetriades, former CEO of Warwickshire Vision, said: “I love all the visionary meetings. They are so useful, and it is so good to know that I/we are not alone.”


About Visionary

Visionary is the national membership organisation for local sight loss charities, helping empower these vital charities to be the best they can be.

Through the Visionary Network of over 116 local member organisations and 21 national partners, it connects organisations with each other, developing their skills and organisational health and sharing information and best practice.  Its aim is to help create a world where blind and partially sighted people can access the services they want, often best delivered locally, when and where they want them.

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