On the 26 November 2019, RNIB hosted the first RNIB See Differently Awards, which celebrated those who have gone above and beyond in removing barriers for blind and partially sighted people.
After a rigorous judging process, RNIB was thrilled to announce the seven National winners in the below categories:
Rachael has campaigned tirelessly to change UK voting law and secure a more accessible voting system for blind and partially sighted people across the nation. After successfully filing against her local council for not providing an accessible voting card that enabled her to vote independently, she took her case to the High Court to advocate that all blind and partially sighted people in the UK have mandatory access to accessible voting. The High Court ruled in favour of her campaign in March of this year.
The Tactile Collider project, led by Rob Appleby, Chris Edmonds and Robyn Watson, aims to promote a love of science among visually impaired students. The team worked with people with sight loss to develop a unique workshop that educates pupils on particle physics through sound recordings and tactile models. By making science accessible, the team have created an opportunity for children with sight loss to feel excited and empowered to pursue a career in science. The workshop has been in such demand that, so far, the team has visited over 20 schools across the UK, as well as selected museums and festivals.
Fraser, who lives in Glasgow and is registered blind, understands how important it is to have access to the right technology if you live with sight loss. In 2018 he established Triple Tap Tech with his friend Graham to proactively address this issue. A social enterprise that teaches assistive technology across various platforms, Triple Tap Tech has delivered training sessions to over 100 individuals in its first year of business.
Holly, who has been blind since birth, started her blog Life of a Blind Girl in 2015 to illuminate what it’s like to be a young woman with sight loss. She writes about music, attending university, making social media and blogging more accessible, assistive technology, and employment and disability. Holly has received numerous accolades for her work in breaking down barriers for blind and partially sighted people. Earlier this year she was named one of the most influential disabled people in the UK in the Shaw Trust Disability Power List 2019 for the second year in a row, and her content has been featured by the BBC and the Huffington Post.
Fifty-three percent of blind and partially sighted people have experienced hate crimes due to their disability, highlighting the importance of an organisation like The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety. The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety is a volunteer-run initiative that teaches defence skills to various groups including blind and partially sighted people. Its courses are led by trainers who have sight loss themselves and over the last two years they have trained 450 blind and partially people in personal safety.
The Financial Times promotes equitable employment for blind and partially sighted people through initiatives like FT Access. FT Access is an employee-led network that educates staff about disabilities, including sight loss, in the workplace. Collaborating with the FT’s Diversity & Inclusion and Talent teams, the group identifies opportunities to recruit more candidates with disabilities, creates supported internships and work experience and, most recently, has piloted a creative writing workshop for people with sight loss.
Mike Brace was named the winner of our Sixth Duke of Westminster Lifetime Achievement Award. For more information on this award and on Mike's outstanding efforts to support people living with sight loss, visit our Sixth Duke of Westminster Lifetime Achievement Award page.