Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council Members Meet the staff Alun Davies My name is Alun Davies and I am the Engagement Manager for the Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council. I’ve been totally blind since losing my sight at the age of 14. I have a long history of improving the lives of people with disabilities since getting involved with campaigning at University in the 1980s. In 1991, I moved to Bristol to work in community engagement for people with disabilities. I have worked as a Councillor, in social services, for a health service board and written for the local newspaper. Gavin Higgins My name is Gavin and I’m 34 years old, almost 35. I’ve been married for about 5 and a half years and I have a job as a part-time admin assistant at EDF energy which I’ve been in since 2016. This began as an internship in 2015. Fitness is a major part of my life and keeping my body healthy and strong. I’m also an active member of a Church where I receive a lot of support and encouragement when needed. One of the reasons I want to be part of the Sight Loss Council is because I would like to see a few changes, such as earlier bus travel which would be very helpful in the day-to-day travel I do. Be it work or any other place I have to go to before the time stated by the council for my bus pass to take effect. Ines Higgins My name is Ines and I’m 33 years old; I live with my hubby in sunny Cheltenham though originally I am from Germany. I work as a team administrator for Forwards Gloucestershire, an organisation within the Gloucestershire County Council responsible for helping people with barriers to work to get into paid employment – a subject I am particularly passionate about. This is probably one of the various reasons I wanted to be a member of the Sight Loss Council. I also enjoy staying active and fit, such as going to a gym, walking and running as well as home workouts. I have done various fundraisers through either running, walking or indoor cycling. I am part of a church community, as my Christian faith is vital to me; this is where I get support and encouragement but I also get to support and encourage others. I wanted to join the Sight Loss Council to campaign for equality in transport, as well as in fitness and leisure, such as gyms, public swimming pools etc., and simply because I love helping and speaking up for others. Mary Woolley My name is Mary and I was diagnosed with bilateral Uveitis and Glaucoma in my early thirties and registered as visually impaired about a decade later. At this point I retired from teaching because it became increasingly difficult to manage in a classroom situation. After studying a postgraduate course about sight loss and employment at Bristol University I went on to become a manager in the voluntary and social care sector. I also became a Trustee for the local visual impairment charity Insight Gloucestershire. The difference this local charity makes to people's lives inspired me to join them as a Communications Officer. I am looking forward to working with the Sight Loss Council to help make the necessary changes needed to improve access for blind and partially sighted people in Gloucestershire. Ann Lightfoot My name is Ann and I am from Wales. I was born with a severe visual impairment and I went to a school in Leicester for blind and partially sighted people. I then got a degree at University of Southampton and eventually married and had a daughter. I have worked in Social Services in a Disability charity and held later roles as a Debt Adviser and Welfare Rights Supervisor. After volunteering at Insight, I later joined the Trustees and became their Chair. For over 20 years I was also a Councillor on my Village Council. Julie Stephens My name is Julie and I was born in Gloucester. I was diagnosed with Stills disease at the age of seven. My sight slowly deteriorated until I became totally blind in my early twenties. I have worked for a firm of solicitors, two banks and more recently as a medical audio typist for the NHS. I am studying to become a Reiki practitioner and am an active member of a local tai chi club. I love ballroom, Latin and sequence dancing and am a member of a knit and natter group. I am extremely excited to be working with the Sight Loss Council which will give me the opportunity to make a real difference. I am passionate about ensuring other blind and partially sighted people live a fulfilled and inclusive life. Carrie Thould My name is Carrie, I'm 51 and have been blind from birth. I have lived in Gloucestershire all my life apart from going away to schools and colleges for the blind. I joined the Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council because I am passionate about helping to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people and helping them get equal rights. In the past I've been a telephonist for two companies, for a total of 23 years service. I have previously volunteered for Deaf Blind UK where I had to find out information for people, and our local blind club where I helped organise transport and also the entertainment. I also read the lessons at our local church and play ukulele in the worship group. Hobbies include, knitting, reading, tandem bike riding and lots more.