Janette Scott lives in Stirling with her guide dog Esme, and has been a long-term volunteer for RNIB.

She is 61 years old and has retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma. Janette was born premature, which led to her eyes never forming properly, and she also experienced scarring on her eyes. 

But Janette wasn’t registered as blind until age 17. Her coping mechanism growing up at a mainstream school was to pretend that she wasn’t blind, learning things very quickly so that people wouldn’t notice.

RNIB opening up opportunities

Growing up in a remote village in Scotland, support was lacking for Janette. But with help from RNIB she went on to do an HNC in Business at Elmwood College in Cupar, Fife.

Later she did the Living with Sight Loss course with RNIB and met her husband on the course, with whom she had two children. The course led to voluntary work for RNIB, and she secured a job as a fundraiser for Scotland and Northern Ireland for over seven years.

After her husband passed away, Janette went on to do the ECDL in computing course with RNIB. She continues to do a lot of voluntary work, teaching people how to use mobile phones and computers.

RNIB Connect Radio making information accessible

Janette has struggled to get accessible information during the lockdown. She finds RNIB Connect Radio so useful when it comes to getting the latest information and updates.

“RNIB Connect radio is fantastic. because they give a lot of good information. They read out the policies letter and the letters from Nicola Sturgeon.”

She also appreciates the speakers they have on RNIB Connect Radio and topics they cover. Recently she enjoyed listening to the radio to hear a doctor do a Q&A session.

“You were able to ask the doctor questions live on the actual programme. So we’ve got a lot of questions from blind people’s perspective, all answered, which is fantastic.”

Keeping busy and fulfilled during lockdown

Janette has been filling her time during lockdown, with a love of reading, and writing. She uses Talking Books and the EasyReader app on the phone, to access books. 

Janette is a keen writer and has enjoyed writing since she was growing up. She writes a lot of fanfiction based on TV and radio shows and often enters competitions.

“I write a lot of fanfiction. It's based on TV, radio, whatever story you fancy or books of Harry Potter or other TV shows. I used to write a lot about Doctor Who and things like that as well.”

She also loves watching films and enjoys discussing films with friends.

“RNIB has got a lot of good groups in Scotland. We’ve got a film group that meets weekly and we talk about what’s accessible on television. It’s nice to be able to share things and chat about what your favourite films are.”

Janette is also creating an exciting new podcast, discussing issues that have arisen from lockdown.

“I'm now setting up the first podcast in Scotland with RNIB to discuss issues blind people have. We often discuss what a we’ve struggled with during lockdown as well, like shopping support and that sort of thing. People not keeping their distance for guide dog owners like myself.”