RNIB Vision Pioneer Awards 2017: National Finalists

Post date: 
Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Congratulations to all of the 2017 Vision Pioneer Award finalists. 

Image of SandyCampaigner of the Year Award finalist

National Federation of the Blind of the UK

The National Federation of the Blind of the UK have been actively campaigning to stop the creation of shared space roads and stop the removal of controlled push button crossings and kerbs across the UK. 
Through researching and gathering evidence for inquiries, providing advice and guidance to key stakeholders, organising petitions and delivering presentations, the team has been fighting to ensure that blind and partially sighted people are able to navigate their roads and town centres independently. 
The team’s work has been widely covered in local and national media, giving disabled people a voice to raise concerns, successfully raising awareness of the issue and further garnering the support of the Minister for Transport in Scotland. 

Image of David Taylor
Campaigner of the Year Award finalist

David Taylor 

David created a Lottery-funded charity, called Losing My Sight Magazine, which focuses on working-age people who have sight loss in the Portsmouth area. David was inspired to launch the charity after his own experience of losing his sight. 
The charity helps people who are experiencing emotional difficulties because of their sight loss to socialise and network by participating in mini projects, and become more involved in the community. 
Clarke Reynolds, one person who David has helped said: “I have made some really good friends through this group, and can ask questions as I lose my sight. It helps with socialising when you are with people who have similar sight problems.

Fiona McMullenInnovation Award finalist

Fiona McMullen

Fiona manages the Oldham Children and Young People’s (CYP) project, which has raised awareness of eye health and supported children with vision impairment and their families in Oldham, Greater Manchester.  
The Oldham CYP project has an innovative approach to partnership working. Alongside the charity, SeeAbility, the project works with a local ophthalmologist to provide eye tests to children with additional needs. Many of the children had not had an eye test before, and half of those tested were found to need glasses, demonstrating the importance of children and young people with additional needs having their eyes tested.
The Oldham CYP project has enabled the local partnership to achieve their joint aims in line with the Vision Strategy – providing education about eye health, supporting children with vision impairment to become more independent, and encouraging them to grow into confident, independent adults.  

Fiona McMullenInnovation Award finalist

Jackie Frost

Just over a year ago, Forest Sensory Services, a charity for people with sight loss, faced closure due to lack of funds. Jackie took over the role as coordinator in the hope that the charity could continue. 
She is a trained Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) and has a management degree, which she completed in her own time while working at the charity. Jackie's role includes her ECLO work, coordinating volunteers and transport, fundraising and organising classes and social events for beneficiaries. Jackie has also forged links with many organisations to provide a complete range of services to the charity’s clients.
Through her hard work and dedication, the charity is now thriving and has extended its services to include people with dementia. 

Steve WhitmoreProfessional of the Year Award

Stephen Whitmore

Stephen, a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Special Constable, has been the driving force behind a project to provide detainees in custody with access to books. The project is called Books in the Nick, and has provided more than 4,000 books to detainees who can be held in custody for up to 11 hours with no access to a phone, TV or computer.
Thanks to Stephen, who has devoted a significant amount of his own time to the project, detainees with sight loss can also access books in large print, braille and other accessible formats.
Detainees can take the book with them, and each book comes with a flyer promoting free educational opportunities to divert detainees away from committing further crimes.

Jackie KiddProfessional of the Year Award finalist

Jackie Kidd

Jackie is a Senior Deafblind worker at Hertfordshire County Council who demonstrates a real dedication to her role.
The people who have been supported by Jackie have said they found her very empathetic, supportive and she listens well to their needs.
Despite her weighty caseload, including some very complex cases that necessitate joint working, she champions Sensory Services in its different settings, supports colleagues and always makes time for other people. Going beyond her role, she also helps to lead the Deafblind Service.

Alan BellTeacher of the Year Award finalist

Alan Bell

Alan has developed a practical self-defence course for people with low or no vision to help them build confidence and learn personal safety skills. He teaches 30 students each week and all free of charge.
As a direct result of Alan’s personal tuition and mentoring, two students have become the first-ever registered blind people to be Personal Safety/Self-defence instructors in Scotland, and one went on to win a martial arts award.   
Participants of Alan's self-defence course say that his lessons have increased their confidence levels and self-esteem, reduced their feelings of vulnerability, and had an overall positive impact on their quality of life and level of independence.

Nathalie BuftonTeacher of the Year Award finalist

Nathalie Bufton

Nathalie is Head of Independent Living Skills at New College Worcester (NCW), a national residential school and college for young people aged 11 to 19 who are blind or visually impaired. 
She teaches students crucial independent living skills which help to prepare them for life beyond the college. Nathalie works hard at cross-campus cohesion to ensure skills are practised on the residential side of college as well as in the classroom. 
Nathalie has also built relationships with other organisations to raise awareness of visual impairment in general and the important work NCW does. She is also a guest lecturer at the University of Worcester.

ECL Sensory TeamTeam of the Year Award finalist

ECL Social Care Service Sensory Team

Since 2009, ECL Sensory Team has delivered a range of services for people who have sight, hearing or dual sensory loss across Essex. 
The team stands out for constantly evolving its services to bridge gaps in provision and break down barriers, and its commitment to involving service users in all aspects of its work. 
This year the team also launched the Sensory Access Charter Mark, with the objective of developing a society where people with sensory impairments have the same access to services and businesses as everyone else. 

Hertfordshire Sensory TeamTeam of the Year Award finalist

Hertfordshire Sensory Services Team

The Hertfordshire Council's Sensory Services team faced a turbulent period last year with a shortage of staff, including vital rehabilitation officers.
However, the team was able to turn the situation around by improving their skills and fostering a positive can-do attitude, ensuring they were able to support their waiting list of service users.
The team also developed a specialist career progression scheme for rehabilitation and deafblind workers, called the Sensory Career Progression scheme, which is unique in the sector.

Audrey GardinerVoice of the Community Award finalist

Audrey Gardiner

Audrey is an ambassador for inclusion within the community of visually impaired people in Lancashire. 
Both a Seeing It My Way Co-ordinator at Galloways and an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at various hospitals, Audrey provides front line support to people at different stages in their sight loss journey. 
Audrey works tirelessly to ensure each of her patients has access to the resources and assistance they need, directing them to specialist services if required.  

Paul StarkVoice of the Community Award finalist

Paul Stark

Paul volunteers for Tandem Trekker, a tandem cycling club for people with visual impairments. Tandem Trekker enables many blind and partially sighted people to get out and ride in a safe and social environment, for some people, this is the first time on a bike since they lost their sight. 
As well as committing much of his time to the committee, Paul helps to organise and lead many of the rides. Paul’s guidance and support over the years has helped the club to grow and operate sustainably at an independent level.
Paul has successfully organised rides in tandem with other clubs and is always ready to help with other things such as filling out forms and providing transport.