Birmingham

Birmingham Sight Loss Council was established in 2016 as the first Sight Loss Council in the UK.  The council has influenced significant positive change to services in Birmingham and continues to strengthen relationships with local organisations to ensure ongoing accessibility for blind and partially sighted people.

We have compiled a list of organisations delivering services and activities for sport, employment and social activities across Birmingham. This also includes contact information for the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO).

If you are interested in finding out more information about volunteering for the Sight Loss Councils, read the Volunteer Role Description below and fill in our short expression of interest form. If you would like to apply to become a Sight Loss Council member, apply online.

Volunteer Role Description Sight Loss Council Member (DOCX, 60 KB)

Meet the team

Louise Connop is the Engagement Manager for Birmingham.  She has been registered Sight Impaired since birth and Severely Sight Impaired from the age of seven.

Louise enjoys spending time with her two young children and generally living life to the full, travelling and socialising with her friends and family.  She is extremely passionate about raising awareness of visual Impairment (VI), educating and encouraging the wider world to understand how to become more VI friendly.

Previously Louise worked in marketing, the public sector and ran the Low Vision Department at the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton.

Our Sight Loss Council Members

Ahmed Saied Al-Qaifi

Ahmed has been visually impaired for the last few years with Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Degeneration.  He has been with the SLC from the very beginning and originally joined us to meet new people and explore what was available to VI people in the city.

Ahmed currently works full time at QAC as a Lighting Technician and has previously enjoyed being a volunteer at Birmingham Vision.  In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor sporting activities and has also completed Birmingham Marathon.

“My confidence has grown massively since joining the Sight Loss Council it really brought me out of my cubby hole as before I felt locked away”

Ian McNamara

Ian McNamara

Ian has been blind since birth and was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity.  He has been a Birmingham Sight Loss Council member since 2017 and specialises in Accessibility and Voice Over for Apple devices. He previously worked at Apple as a Customer Service specialist.

Ian is passionate about access for blind and partially sighted people in Birmingham and is keen to help to improve the daily lives of people with visual impairment in and around the city.

Jordan Long

Jordan Long

Jordan has been a Birmingham Sight Loss Council Member since 2017. He enjoys working on technology and transport accessibility and has been involved with website and app testing.

 

He graduated from Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham, with qualifications in IT, Level 2 & 3.

 

In his spare time Jordan has a keen interest in photography and preforming as a DJ at events and private functions. 

Lianne McKeon sat at a table reading from a braile book

Lianne McKeon

Lianne has been registered blind since birth with septo-optic dysplasia.  She joined Birmingham Sight Loss council around three years ago and enjoys getting involved in raising awareness and giving feedback about visual impairment in her local community.

Lianne is hoping to start university to study Health and Social Care.  She is a very social person who loves street dance lessons and performances (along with her black labrador guide dog Ralph).

Saturday and Sunday evenings, you can often find Lianne presenting an online radio show for the VIP Lounge.

Paul Hopkins

Paul is registered blind and started volunteering with Birmingham Sight Loss Council in late 2020.

He brings his lived experience and pragmatism to encourage positive change for other visually impaired people in his community.

He works in the production department of a national charity for young adults with disabilities and spends much of his personal time encouraging other blind and partially sighted people to advocate for their own independence and autonomy.

In his spare time Paul enjoys listening to music, playing keyboard / piano, singing, travelling, and being by the seaside.

Head and shoulders shot of Sarah Loat

Sarah Loat

Sarah has worked within the sight loss sector for over eight years, having been diagnosed with Retinopathy a decade ago.

As a teacher at Queen Alexander College and a Sight Loss Council member since 2017, Sarah works to improve services and accessibility in the region.

Throughout her career Sarah has worked and volunteered for a number of organisations in the sight loss sector including Worcestershire Sight Concern, Victoria School and Specialist Arts College Multi-sensory Impairment Unit, FOCUS Birmingham, Action for the Blind and Guide Dogs.

Most of Sarah’s spare time is spent being a mum to her young son. She also enjoys going to the theatre, travelling and exploring new places.

Steve Keith

Steve has been registered blind all his life and has no useful vision.  He joined the Birmingham Sight Loss Council two years ago primarily to increase the services available to blind and partially sighted people in and around Birmingham.

Steve has a background in counselling, specialising in drug and alcohol addiction. He has also previously worked as a holistic therapist.

In his spare time Steve enjoys watching Formula 1, rock climbing and participating in outdoor activities.

Taryn Marshall

Taz has been sight impaired since birth with congenital cataracts and nystagmus.

Throughout her career she has been in customer facing roles and joined the Birmingham Sight Loss Council in October 2020 to make a positive difference to the wider VI community in her area.

Taz has a passion for people and wants to show the world that you can still live a fulfilled life with sight loss.

In her spare time, she enjoys walking, running and generally keeping fit.  If she is not out exercising you can find her enjoying a cheeky gin or two in one of the city’s bars.

Interested in becoming a Sight Loss Council member?

Learn More

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