Greater Manchester The Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council was launched in March 2020. The council has brought together blind and partially sighted volunteers from across the region to advocate for the needs of visually impaired people in the area. Each volunteer has chosen a priority area to focus on from our themes of education, employment, Health and social care, Sport and Leisure, Transport and Technology. Meet the staff Iain Mitchell Iain is the Engagement Manager for the North West. With a long history in Education, as a lecturer and a Head of Department, Iain has also worked in Social Healthcare specifically with people with Autism and Learning Difficulties with associated challenging behaviours. Iain’s life-long visual impairment has never prevented him from doing anything he has set out to achieve. His goal for the Sight Loss Councils in the North West is to raise awareness of accessibility issues and influence positive change in his local area. Meet the members Anthony Gough Anthony was born in Manchester and is a visually impaired actor and theatre maker. In 2015 he graduated with a first-class honours degree in Performing Arts. Since then he has worked at Extant, the UK’s leading theatre company for visually impaired people as well as working as a freelance theatre maker and facilitator. In 2018, Anthony set-up Engage2Stage a theatre group based in Bury, Greater Manchester for visually impaired members and their friends. In his role as a Sight Loss Council volunteer, Anthony is particularly interested in promoting engagement and accessibility across the creative and leisure industries. Adam Pearson Adam lost his sight in 2017 due to a brain injury. He has a degree in Politics and Philosophy and a Masters in Language and Literature. Adam spent 5 years abroad in Taiwan, teaching English as a Foreign Language, Language and Culture and more. As a Sight Loss Council member, Adam is interested in working to ensure Education is made more accessible to Blind and Partially Sighted people. Garry Tunny Gary lost his sight overnight in October 2017. After a year of struggling to find the right support, Gary decided to reach out to his local community and set-up his own support group for visually impaired people. The group was a great success and is now attended by local sight loss support services. Gary says, “By bringing people together and signposting organisations towards each other much can be achieved to make visually impaired people’s lives a little bit easier.” As a Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council member, Gary is working in the priority area of technology. Maria Booth Maria was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of seven. Maria had to deal with the challenges of gradually losing her sight throughout school and university. This has given her the passion to help other blind and partially sighted people to get the most out of further and higher education. Maria is now working as an Enablement Officer for Henshaws and brings her experience of supporting visually impaired people to live more independent lives. Maria has joined the sight loss council so that she can bring her knowledge and expertise to help others who are living with sight loss overcome the barriers they face every day. In her spare time, she enjoys Windsurfing and sailing. Ann Bamford Ann Bamford worked in Education and social work for 35 years before a brain haemorrhage in 2011, which affected her sight. Anne spent a lot of her career giving children with special needs the best experience they could possibly have. After losing her sight, she has been involved in working on visual impairment research projects and with the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational delivery network. Kim J When Kim J lost her sight 25 years ago, she was left with peripheral vision and no central vision. Despite having to ‘Adapt to a sighted world’ as Kim puts it, she became an accomplished chef and author. She is a passionate advocate for visually impaired people and has joined the council to help change society’s views on visual impairment.