2013:The Highlights

 I am sitting at my desk for the last time in 2013 with a cup of tea and a mince pie for company. As I look back over the year I feel a blog post coming on!

 2013 has been a busy one. Lots of training, speaking and coaching in all sorts of places.

 The most fabulous place is an easy one. In August I gave a motivational speech to the leaders and aspiring leaders at The Savoy. I was made very welcome, the speech was very well received and the venue was stunning.

I have been interviewed numerous times on various radio stations but this year I actually put together a feature for Radio 4’s In Touch. I approached them about putting a piece together about access for disabled people at music festivals and to their credit they gave me the green light. A steep learning curve followed and to my amazement most of my recordings and ideas were actually broadcast! This one gave me a particular sense of achievement as I had instigated it and turned it around from nothing having learned along the way.

Having co-delivered RNIB’s Find Your Feet programme over the last few years to people learning to manage their acquired sight loss I was glad to continue supporting this worthwhile project this year. With the aim of building upon the success of the programme, a capacity building programme was designed and delivered to a new cohort of blind and partially sighted people. Now more people with acquired sight loss can benefit from the programme. I contributed by delivering a session as part of the new programme giving tips and tools about being an effective blind or partially sighted facilitator. This makes my highlight as it is great to see successful projects be developed to continue reaching more people.

This has been my eighth year of being Attitude Is Everything’s freelance disability trainer. I have delivered many, many training sessions on their behalf to all sorts of music venues and festivals. I love working for them and know it makes a difference as more organisations put more access provision in place. This year a highlight was developing a high-end disability equality session for senior managers at The O2.

I have continued to enjoy my long-running relationship with Action for Blind People. I have delivered numerous work preparation workshops to their clients over the year and have continued my monthly blog for them.

This year has been a bumper year for taking bookings for visual awareness training. Most being for the colleagues of blind and partially sighted people. Clients have included Imperial College and HMRC. I always enjoy these sessions as they make work a little easier for visually impaired people adapting to their new working environment.

I delivered a keynote speech called, Coaching Disabled People as part of a Naked Leader event in October. The conference was titled, Difference Makes the Difference and I was glad to attend for the whole day as it took a very interesting approach to diversity in the workplace. Some very well known brands were represented and the evaluation about my contribution was excellent.

Regrettably, the leadership work I have been part of in the past for disabled people has not materialised in 2013. I remain hopeful that funding will become available next year so that this work which is so worthwhile can resume.

My personal highlight of 2013 was writing and launching my eBook, Living with more vision and less sight. It felt like a great way to celebrate my tenth year of living with sight loss and so far nearly 1000 people have downloaded the book. Part of my reason for writing it was to help others and judging by the feedback it has helped many. Thanks to everyone who supported the book and in particular to those who chose to donate to LOOK after reading it.

I look forward to my break over the Christmas period and I will take on 2014 with renewed energy and my usual commitment and drive. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and encourage you to make 2014 memorable and fulfilling.

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