The Black Country Sight Loss Council held a launch event in August 2018 at Beacon Centre in Wolverhampton. Since then, the Council has grown and is now actively participating in local projects to improve accessibility. 

Meet the Staff


Michelle Young Engagement Manager Midlands

Michelle is the Engagement Manager for the Midlands and is responsible for managing the Birmingham and Black Country Sight loss councils.  A native Glaswegian, keen sports person, and certified Orientation and Mobility Instructor, Michelle has been living with a degenerative eye condition since birth and has been registered blind since her mid-teens.

Michelle has spent her career working in the charity sector in the UK, Canada and North America, teaching travel skills across the world, and is a passionate advocate for equalling access for blind and partially sighted people in all areas of society. 

Darren Carver

Darren has Glaucoma and been a member of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council since August 2017. He supports the council working on Technology, and supporting others with IT queries. Darren previously worked for BT in Wolverhampton before joining the Sight Loss Councils and is encouraged by the support others at the Sight Loss Council have given him with his sight loss. Outside of the Sight Loss Council, Darren is into sports such as Formula 1 and football.

Gill Dean

Gillian was born with congenital cataracts. While at university, she also developed glaucoma in one eye, in which the sight has now gone completely.  She has had a variety of jobs - medical social work, an admin post with an electricity company, teaching Braille and basic literacy and lastly as a support worker assisting young adults with either a physical disability or an acquired brain injury.  She joined the SLC two and a half years ago and enjoys tackling local concerns and meeting other VI people from the area.

Ivan Mortimer

Ivan worked in engineering for 45 years.  He has had bad sight all his life and joined the Sight loss Council two and a half years ago to highlight and improve some of the problems blind and partially sighted people face.

Ray Gormley

Ray joined the Black Country SLC when it was first set up in 2017 but he was no stranger to volunteering.  He sits on the board of Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI) and records articles for SVI’s Sandwell Talking News (STN). He is also active with West Bromwich Local History Society.    

A graduate in politics and social policy from Bristol University, Ray has had held many jobs in his life.  He worked in a cycle component factory before becoming a piano tuner for 15 years and worked for Disability West Midlands.

Other Sight Loss Council members

Caroline Kinnings

Clare Williams

James Preston

Permjit (Perm) Bhacchu