The Campaigners Active Network (CAN)

The Campaigners Active Network (CAN) is an independent user-led initiative for people who are blind or partially sighted, and their allies. 

CAN will enable the campaigning for real social change, and for its members to participate in constructive personal development opportunities.

CAN Launch

On 24 April 2012 RNIB Northern Ireland facilitated the inaugural meeting of CAN in the Merchant Hotel, Belfast. 

The Afficial public launch of CAN was held in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on 2 December 2013. This event not only proclaimed the arrival of CAN to the wider NI public, but also seen the announcement of CAN's first active campaign:

  • Improved access to health services and information in Northern Ireland.

CAN Membership

Membership of CAN is open to both blind and partially sighted people and to people who consider themselves to be allies of blind and partially sighted people. 

While RNIB NI's Campaigns Team will facilitate and support the development of CAN until the summer of 2014, precisely how CAN will operate will be subject to the decisions made by its membership. 

Members of CAN will work with RNIB NI and Guide Dogs NI, along with other organisations, on campaign issues by expressing their views to politicians and other decision makers, sharing their experiences through media outlets and participating in consultations and other events. 

High quality lobbying, media and presentation skills training will be made available to all CAN members interested in undertaking campaigning activities in these spheres.

Opportunities and events so far

  1. Participation in the various events at the Northern Ireland Assembly on 18 June 2012. The theme of the day was exploring participation in the political process. 
  2. CAN members were invited to the first RNIB NI Digital Arts Summer School, a training programme in a wide range of digital technologies which took place at the MAC Arts Centre, Belfast in 2012. 
  3. CAN members have the opportunity of representing the Network and wider constituency at the regular quarterly meetings of the NI Assembly All Party Group on Visual Impairment at which MLA's, RNIB NI staff and representatives of other organisations from the sight loss sector meet to discuss and seek resolution to key issues of concern. 
  4. The Northern Ireland Vision Strategy is a sector wide initiative designed to bring Government departments, representatives from the sight loss sector and people personally affected by sight loss to work together to transform the lives and opportunities of blind and partially sighted people living here.

Sign up to CAN

If you are interested in becoming involved in CAN or, you just want more information, the CAN Development Officer is currently in the process of setting up local CAN groups around Northern Ireland. To date, there are three CAN groups:

  • Eastern CAN group - meeting in either Belfast or Lisburn
  • Northwest CAN group - Meeting in Derry/Londonderry
  • Western CAN group - Meeting in Omagh

If you don't wish to join a group, you can still sign up for CAN as an individual member and support us - it's up to you. 

Please contact Thomas Quigley, CAN Development Officer, and take control! 

Tel: 028 9033 4121 

Email: thomas.quigley@rnib.org.uk 

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