Simon campaigned to ensure that all children and young people who require specialist frames have the same level of care throughout the country.
Having identified an inequality in service for children with special facial characteristics, Simon started an online petition. He took the issue to his MP, who raised the anomaly with the Secretary of State for Health and the Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England.
Simon’s campaigning efforts also saw him working closely with the Down's Syndrome Association, SeeAbility, Mencap and Down’s Heart Group to bring about awareness and a positive change.
On receiving the award, Simon said: "I’m absolutely delighted to win this award. It’s a brilliant feeling to know that the sight loss and eye health sector value my commitment to supporting blind and partially sighted people. Specialist spectacle frames can mean a better fit, fewer repairs and better quality of vision, making a positive contribution to a child’s quality of life.”
Adrian is an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at King’s College Hospital, London. He set up a new screening pilot to identify when patients with severe sight loss have depression in their first ECLO appointment. Adrian established clear referral pathways to mental health services for anyone who showed signs of depression.
As a result of the pilot, Adrian was able to send robust results from the screening to counselling services requesting support for patients. Currently, this is the first standardised method for identifying whether patient shows signs of depression and Adrian has received a lot of interest from other trusts about how the pilot can be implemented in other hospitals.
On receiving the award, Adrian said: “Today has been one of the most memorable days of my career to date. I’m extremely proud to win the Innovation Award. It’s been great to meet so many other like-minded people who are passionate about what they do.”
Teacher of the Year Award
Keith Hipkiss and Mandy Rowles
Keith and Mandy are both martial arts instructors at Warrior Martial Arts in Congleton. They welcome anyone to their classes and help them to thrive in every way possible through kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu.
They make simple but impactful adjustments like coming closer to show techniques, repeating instructions, placing students where they feel comfortable to see, and in jiu jitsu, demonstrating techniques where vision doesn't have to be used.
One parent whose child, Junior, has been taught by Keith and Mandy, said: “It's the simple things that people with sight take for granted, but for Junior, this benefits him in every way possible. You know you have found somewhere your child loves when they get excited from school knowing it’s training night.”
On receiving the award, Mandy said: “We’re delighted to win the Teacher of the Year award. It’s such an amazing feeling to receive the award. I’m very grateful to everyone who values what we do and chose us to win. Everything we do is for our students. Everyone is included in our gym, as they should be in all aspects of life.”
Professional of the Year Award
Corinna works as an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer for St Paul’s Eye Unit at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust. She noticed that some patients with sight loss’ practical and emotional needs were not being met as well as they could be.
Corinna turned the situation around by devising a Sight Loss Pack in her own time, which vastly improved interactions between patients and staff. She also developed and delivered a staff training programme, initially at St Paul’s, but now across the Trust.
Because of Corinna’s efforts, sight-related patient complaints are now virtually zero, and the number of patients using Corinna’s support and signposting service has nearly doubled in just 18 months.
On receiving her award, Corinna said: “I’m thrilled to win the Professional of the Year award. I’ve had a brilliant day meeting others who are passionate about improving the lives of blind and partially sighted people. It was an honour to come to London for the ceremony and be awarded for the work I’ve done.”
Team of the Year Award
Bradford Vision Impairment Team
In March 2016, the Bradford Vision Impairment Team, including staff in resource bases and outreach teams, were awarded the Regional Vision Impairment Quality Mark (Yorkshire and Humber). The award highlighted the good practice and provision for all children and young people aged 0-19 with vision impairment across the district.
The team works to ensure a consistent pathway of support and teaching, and a clear development of the vision impairment (VI) specialist curriculum from the earliest diagnosis and referral, working with families through early years, school and transition to further and higher education.
The team has also provided opportunities for pupils in mainstream schools to spend time with VI peers, offering weekly sessions and an adventure and experience programme.
On receiving the award, Anne Lomas, Head of Sensory Services said: “It’s fantastic to win the Team of the Year Award and we’re so grateful to those who have supported us. We’re a big team but we know there’s a lot of children and families who need our help. We think it’s important to share our expertise regionally and it’s great to meet others doing the same at an event like this.”
Voice of the Community Award
Imran is a Junior Doctor in Ophthalmology who has created a number of patient information videos to help patients understand their eye conditions. He was inspired to do this after becoming aware that even though many people are given a diagnosis which changes their life, they may not understand what their eye condition means, a situation which can be frightening.
Imran created a website to host the videos that he wrote and edited himself. He plans to have the videos translated into several different languages so they can be accessed widely by people around the world.
On recieving the award, Imran said: “I’m really just in complete shock. I’m really grateful. Being an ophthalmology doctor, you hear of the RNIB, it’s a massive organisation, and I never ever, not even at lunch time, thought I’d be here holding this. I just thought it would be a nice day trip down to London, and I’d be back up in the evening.”
Lifetime Achievement Award
Diane is the former Chief Officer of York Blind and Partially Sighted Society (YBPSS).
Throughout her 30 year career in the sector, Diane grew YBPSS to a vibrant user-led community interest organisation with over 1,100 members; established the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer service in York Hospital, and set up a technology and visiting service which provides thousands of hours of practical and emotional support each year.
In 2010 Diane lead a project utilising the Fire and Rescue Service’s home safety checks to reach people with or at risk of sight loss. In 18 months, over 13,000 households were offered eye health advice and screening and around 1,300 signposted towards support. This led to the creation of Optimeyes, a Big Lottery funded project, which has extended the work to other areas.
On receiving the award, Diane said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. It was a big surprise and a lovely end to my time at YBPSS. I’ve worked with so many brilliant people over the years across the eye health and sight loss sector and it’s thanks to them that we have been able to achieve so much. It was lovely to spend the afternoon among others who are passionate about supporting blind and partially sighted people.”