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Blind People Let Their Voices Be Heard at Glasgow Public Speaking Event

A group of people with sight loss have taken part in a series of public speaking sessions, with the final event taking place this week [Tuesday, June 25th] at Glasgow City Chambers in front of a delighted audience.

Members of the Glasgow Speakers Club pose next to blind participants in the debating chamber at Glasgow City Chambers.

The sessions, organised by Glasgow Speakers Club and sight loss charity RNIB Scotland, were aimed at increasing the communication skills and confidence of blind and partially sighted people. 

This week’s event is a culmination of many weeks of hard work put in by the four participants, with speeches made on topics ranging from heavy metal to sitcoms. Speeches were also made by members of the Glasgow Speakers Club, highlighting the importance of public speaking as a skill. 

The event was attended by family and friends of the participants, alongside representatives of RNIB Scotland. 

The Glasgow Speakers Club is the oldest public speaking organisation in the United Kingdom. The club meets every second Tuesday at Glasgow City Chambers between September and April. 

Kerry Burke MSYP, a young blind person who took part in the event said, 

“There’s a lot of projecting involved, there’s a lot of tones and gestures that can be used to emphasise. When you’re standing there and you’re trying to entertain, inform and encourage people to understand the topic, there’s quite a lot of components that go into it! 

“A big part of it is understanding what the audience is wanting and being able to deliver that.” 

John McArthur, Western Area Vice-President of the Association of Speakers Clubs said, 

“From the first week one or two of the participants were very shy or nervous, but gradually they built up their confidence and we helped them along the way with some tips and hints, and as you saw today they smashed it! 

“We’re so proud - I get vicarious pleasure out of seeing their success! 

“Public speaking is fundamental; the most important way of communicating is by speaking. If you can do that competently, then you’re well on your way to being successful.” 

James Adams, Director of RNIB Scotland added, 

“RNIB Scotland have been delighted with the amazing support from the Glasgow Speakers Club in developing this course. Not only is public speaking training good fun, but it is also confidence building for blind and partially sighted people, providing real life experience for situations such as job interviews, media appearances and being active and participating citizens. 

“We are also very appreciative of Glasgow City Council in providing support as well.”

For more information about the Glasgow Speakers Club, please contact Regional Coordinator Grace Hendry-Nash at [email protected]


For further information, please contact Rory Paterson at RNIB Scotland on [email protected].