Connect spoke to one RCO to find out how they work with local decision makers to bring about positive change.Terri Balon recently joined the team in the North West to become the ninth RCOs in England. Terri has aniridia, and was a long cane user before she got her guide dog, Daisy.
Terri said: “Understanding the issues first-hand is helpful and I’m passionate about advocacy and campaigning.
“I have been involved in campaigning with RNIB as a volunteer since 2009 and became a member of staff in December of last year. It’s my job to find out how to make connections and influence decision makers and then work with our wonderful volunteer Campaign Co‑ordinators, all of whom have sight loss.
“In the North West, among other things, we are concerned with initiatives around shared space as curbs, controlled crossings and findable tactiles are being removed, all of which help cane and guide dog users to cross roads safely.
For Terri and the other RCOs, it is important that people living with sight loss are involved in RNIB’s campaigning work and have a chance to speak up about the issues that matter to them.
Terri said: “It’s the personal stories that have power. Decision makers want to hear from the people who actually use their services.
“We really need blind and partially sighted people to get involved in campaigning.
“It’s important to know that it’s not about confrontation; it’s about finding solutions and helping those decision makers to work out the best options for us all.
“I am always inspired by something Margaret Meade, an American anthropologist, said: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’
“That could be you, so come and get involved locally and contact us today.”
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Connect Magazine.