Sponsored by Guide Dogs UK
The Develop and Share Award, sponsored by Guide Dogs UK, is an opportunity to celebrate the service developments and applaud the generosity we see every day from the Visionary member and partner organisations.
It’s always a huge privilege to read the award submissions. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate your own organisations or the work of other organisations. We received a high number of amazing nominations this year, so competition was strong. The short-listing panels, comprising of representatives from sponsor organisations, the Visionary team and trustees had an incredibly difficult time selecting the final nominees.
The nominees are:
- Beacon Centre for the Blind
- Devon in Sight
- Look UK
Below, is a summary from each of the shortlisted nominees of their work and why they would like you to vote for them. We hope you enjoy reading their submissions as much as the panel did.
Beacon Centre for the Blind
“Beacon Transport is a lifeline for me. Without the team I would be isolated and wouldn’t have the opportunity to get out of the house independently.”
The wheels quite literally came off our transport service during the Covid-19 pandemic when our fleet of minibuses had no one to transport in them. When the world reopened post-pandemic, many of the people we had previously supported were still too scared to leave the house. Over the past year though, through a funded partnership project with the Community Transport Association (CTA), we have transformed our service:
- More than doubling the number of people using it from around 40 to more than 100.
- Completing more than 360 journeys following an accessible marketing campaign.
- Launching a new activity programme, co-produced with our members, that now runs an average of around a dozen sessions a month.
The CTA connected us with the expertise and ideas we needed to develop our service again and most importantly give VI people the chance to create new relationships and reduce feelings of loneliness.
Our team has reported that members are becoming more confident in participating in different activities and we have found that we’re starting to welcome a younger demographic who didn’t feel our more traditional health and wellbeing activities were for them.
We’re now building on this, with plans to go to new places to try new activities through a hub and spoke model for our lifestyle services in the months ahead.
Devon in Sight
Connecting You: Driving Change for People with Sight Loss in Devon.
In 2022 the Department of Transport reported that, “Millions of people across the nation are struggling with feelings of loneliness, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” They created a ‘Tackling Loneliness through Transport Fund’ to pilot some projects nationally.
With this funding Devon County Council commissioned Devon in Sight to provide a program of Disability Awareness Training for Public and Community Bus Drivers across Devon. The training recognised how critical the role of the bus driver is to a passenger’s journey experience. We wanted to help drivers to overcome their own concerns about offering help to passengers with protected characteristics such as disability.
Sight Loss training included Sight Loss Facts & Myth Busting (RNIB), Sight Loss simulations based around bus travel, passenger stories from people with little or no sight, and an introduction to My Sighted Guide Training (Guide Dogs).
Devon County Council asked us to design a Legacy Project. Now every Public and Community Bus Driver in Devon will be receiving a printed copy of the manual with an invitation to access the online training portal to watch video tutorials and order a Certificate of Completion.
Additionally, CPD Group Accredited offers 3rd party assurances that the training is of the highest possible standard while offering bus drivers a mechanism to evidence their ongoing professional development, which can contribute to their 35 hours of required Driver CPC provision.
Visit the online Devon in Sight Bus Driver Disability Awareness Training portal.
The Touch and See project is about breaking down barriers and making history accessible to everyone, especially those with sight loss. It revolves around the idea of bringing historical artefacts to life in a tangible way. By harnessing the power of 3D printing technology, Galloways embarked on a journey to forge a profound connection between the world of art and the realm of accessibility.
Imagine holding an intricate replica of a centuries-old artifact in your hands, feeling every intricate detail with your fingertips, and understanding the rich history it embodies. This is precisely what the Touch and See project seeks to achieve – an immersive historical experience that transcends visual boundaries.
By utilising 3D printing technology, the project aims to create a bridge between art and accessibility. The partnership between Galloway’s, Lancaster University, and Lancaster City Museums Service highlights the incredible results that collaborative efforts can achieve. It showcases what can happen when organisations and individuals come together with a shared vision of making our cultural heritage accessible to all.
Please vote for LOOKFest – the UK’s only all-age, VI-accessible festival, led by Elin.
Elin worked with a team of 40 volunteers, the majority of whom were visually impaired to deliver a weekend packed full of activities including circus skills, woodland crafts, robotics, clay modelling and mosaics, mud kitchen, goalball, guided running, slip and slide, as well as campfires, a ceilidh, a disco and a talent show.
Elin was born with a genetic eye condition and she lost most of her sight during her teenage years. Her organisational skills are outstanding. Elin co-produced LOOKFest with warmth, thought and insight into specific and wide-ranging VI-accessibility needs. The result was a top-class festival that gave visually impaired children and young people an unforgettable weekend of fun, friendship and community.
LOOK is all about supporting visually impaired young people to thrive. Thanks to Elin Williams, with Megan Barker, the LOOK team and 40 fantastic volunteers, LOOKFest showcased everything that the charity is about – involving and training VI young people, peer support for VI young people and their families, building community, breaking down barriers and changing lives.
In voting for LOOKFest and organiser extraordinaire Elin Williams, as an amazing role model, you are supporting VI young people to thrive. This is a vote for VI young people everywhere! Dream, develop, and share your ideas! And if you can, next summer join us – as a volunteer or festival-goer – at LOOKFest!
MertonVision (MV) seek your valuable support to secure the Visionary Development and Share Award. This award would not only recognize our profound 5-year partnership with Wimbledon Foundation (WF) but also holds the potential to transform the lives of VI people.
Our collaboration shows how dedication and teamwork can forge a more inclusive society. This commitment was never more evident than when WF took a leap of faith with us, offering employment opportunities for VI individuals during the renowned Wimbledon Championships.
The results were nothing short of remarkable. Eight of our clients secured paid employment, shattering preconceived notions and proving that visual challenges need not limit opportunities. As the success resonated, media coverage followed, setting an example for other organizations to embrace diversity and inclusivity in their workforce.
The outcomes speak volumes – meaningful employment for one, potential long-term opportunities for others, and a renewed belief in the power to contribute to society. One client’s words resonate deeply: “I’m no longer identified by my eyes or white cane. I believe I can contribute towards society.”
We implore your support in this endeavour, to celebrate and amplify our partnership’s achievements, and to inspire further meaningful employment for VI individuals. Your vote would not only honour our journey but also help create lasting change. Join us in our pursuit of progress, unity, and compassion. Together, let us unlock a future where abilities are cherished, opportunities are limitless, and empowerment knows no boundaries. With heartfelt gratitude,