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Campaigner from Derry/Londonderry shortlisted for RNIB See Differently Award

A campaigner from Derry/Londonderry has been shortlisted for an RNIB See Differently Award in recognition of his vigorous campaigning to make his local council area the world’s first “visually aware” space.

Rory McCartney, shortlisted for RNIB Campaigner of the Year Award.

Rory McCartney, who lives with sight loss, has been shortlisted in the Campaigner of the Year category. The category is sponsored by Microsoft, and the award will recognise individuals who have shown great commitment and courage in campaigning to improve the world for blind and partially sighted people.

In a bid to realise his ambition of making his home city Derry/Londonderry the first visually aware city, Rory has been volunteering with RNIB for over 10 years as a Visual Awareness Facilitator. He also works with the North West Regional College to provide regular visual awareness training sessions, using his own lived experience to make the sessions relatable.

Rory said: “If participants take just one thing from the training, then I’ve done my job. You never know, I might need their help one day.”

Amongst Rory’s incredible work campaigning to break down the barriers that exist for blind or partially sighted people, for World Sight Day in October 2023, Rory organised a ‘Dining in the Dark’ even, which brought together business leaders, community influencers and others. Guests enjoyed a four-course meal whilst blindfolded in order to gain some understanding of living with sight loss.

In the same year, 2023, he also invited counsellors from Derry City & Strabane District Council to take part in a blindfold walk so they could experience a little of what it’s like to navigate a city as a blind and partially sighted person. As a result of Rory’s tireless campaigning, Derry City & Strabane District Council unanimously passed a motion to make the council area a ‘visually aware space’ and make it more accessible – this is the first time a motion of this type has been passed by a council in the UK.

Talking about being shortlisted, Rory said: “I’m really happy about being shortlisted for an RNIB See Differently Award. After Derry, the world! If this works, I want to put together guidelines for other cities to follow suit.”

The RNIB See Differently Awards will bring together a host of people from across the UK and aims to shine a spotlight on the excellent work happening every day to support people with sight loss. They will recognise and reward individuals and organisations taking positive action to help break down barriers and make the world a better place for blind and partially sighted people.

RNIB CEO Matt Stringer said: “The RNIB See Differently Awards will celebrate those who dedicate their time, passion, and skills to help build an inclusive world for blind and partially sighted people. Congratulations to the shortlisted national finalists, you’re all fantastic with incredibly moving stories and we wish you the best of luck.”

The RNIB See Differently Awards will recognise exceptional individuals and teams across seven categories: Campaigner of the Year, Eye Care Professional of the Year, Best Content Creator of the Year, Team of the Year, Employer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Design for Everyone Award.

The award winners will be announced at a ceremony which will take place at a hotel in Central London on Tuesday 21 May 2024.

For further media information contact Joe Kenny at RNIB NI on 07936 601266 or email [email protected].

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.

RNIB. See differently.

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