Read about Joe's experience of Connect Voices

Hear about how Joe got involved in Connect Voices and shared his experiences of lockdown. 

Image of Joe outside his home

Joe Kenny, age 42 years old, was born with Glaucoma and lives with his family in Belfast. With a background in music production, Joe got into PR through an RNIB Apprenticeship Programme. He has worked in PR and Communications ever since, and now works for the Stroke Association.

Joe heard about the chance to be involved with RNIBs Customer Voice work through his local RNIB Facebook group. Speaking with customers from across the UK, the virtual group ran for six weeks, with each weekly session focussing on a different topic.

RNIB were keen to hear the thoughts of customers during the Coronavirus pandemic in order to truly understand the issues affecting people with sight loss during this unprecedented time. Doing so has helped us support customers with what matters now, such as access to priority shopping slots, as well as shaping some new strategic goals for RNIB for the year ahead. You can download the summary of findings from the Customer Voice sessions. Let’s see what Joe thought about his involvement with RNIB…

Sharing opinions with RNIB and each other

Joe found the customer voice sessions incredibly useful and appreciates the fact that they were spread over several weeks and so in-depth. I was chuffed that RNIB invested the time and effort to do a six-week focus group like that, it was fantastic. It was nice to be asked for my opinion on something regarding issues affecting the visually impaired in general. With the sessions being spread over six weeks, there was time to really get into stuff.”

He found these sessions a great opportunity to speak to other visually impaired people and remember you’re not alone. “I really enjoyed talking to like-minded people. It was good to hear that the thoughts and feelings I might have about certain things are shared by most visually impaired people and that I'm not on my own.”

He values the opportunity to share ideas and understand what RNIB is working on. “It’s good to discuss and develop any ideas that you might have or realise that it’s already been tried, and it’s satisfying to hear RNIB tell us that they’re listening and taking all of this onboard.”

Being part of the conversation

Joe welcomes being a part of the conversation to help RNIB change things for visually impaired people. “You felt that you were right in the middle of something, that you were engaged in something important.”

He believes that with an integrated way of working, where the opinions of visually impaired people are at the centre, real change can happen. “With RNIB really listening and taking what we said on board - I think this can’t help but affect the future direction of the charity.”

The importance of being customer-led

Joe explains how important it is to be customer-led and create change together. “I think being customer-led is absolutely essential. I'm happy that what I think and what RNIB think as a charity aren’t that far apart - we’re all on the same page, and that’s very reassuring.”

He encourages people to step up and actively help things to change. “The customer voice sessions are a great opportunity to meet people and feel part of something bigger than yourself. If you can do a little bit of work with a charity like RNIB to maybe further the support and opportunities for everybody, that’s surely a good thing.”

What were the findings?

To read a summary of the findings from the groups that Joe was involved, download the report


Want to join Connect Voices?

Connect Voices is our online group where we share all the latest involvement opportunities. You can take part in as little or as much as you like. To sign up, please email [email protected] and include the words "Connect Voices" so we can get you started.

Alternatively regularly check our webpage for the latest poll and take part!