Black Country Sight Loss Council: Meet the Members

Meet the Staff

Head shot of ouise Connop, Senior Engagement Manager for Central England.

Louise Connop

Louise Connop is the Senior Engagement Manager  for Central England.  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) and 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.

“With the right attitude and support network, we can all achieve whatever we put our minds to” is a phase that Louise uses often. Come along and see what we are all about.

Ashleigh Bryant, SLC co-ordinator for Central England. Ashleigh is looking at the camera, smiling broadly. She has long brown hair

Ashleigh Bryant

Ashleigh Bryant is the Sight Loss Council Co-ordinator for the West Midlands.

Along with SLC members, Ashleigh helps represent the voice of blind and partially sighted people, supporting them to raise awareness for a more accessible and equal world.

Previous to working in the sight loss sector, she worked in the NHS supporting adults with learning disabilities and mental health.

In her spare time, she enjoys socialising with friends, going to the gym and travelling around the world!

Meet the Members

Headshot of Carl Galloway, Black Country SLC member. He is wearing glasses and near a river.

Carl Galloway

Carl has had sight loss since 2014 due to WKS.  This is a thymine deficiency condition, which causes damage to the brain.

Prior to his sight loss, Carl worked in the steel industry where he had to overcome many obstacles.

Carl joined Black Country SLC in October 2020.  He wants to help people overcome the fear and disappointment when they lose their sight by ensuring everyone has the correct access to services.

As a keen artist in his spare time, Carl has a passion for 3D printing. You can also find him keeping fit and spending time with loved ones.

Headshot of Clare Williams, Black Country SLC member. Clare is wearing glasses and smiling at the camera.

Clare Williams

Clare became Severely Sight Impaired over 15 years ago with a form of Macular Degeneration. She has been a guide dog owner for the past nine years.

Clare joined Black Country SLC at the very beginning because she wanted to highlight the challenges faced by VI people within her community.

Clare enjoys taking part in SLC events, forums, and activities.  She is passionate about many issues including transport, travel, health services, and access to restaurants.

In her spare time Clare enjoys singing in her local choir and exploring new places with her guide dog Quita.

Image shows Jagdeep Rana of Black Country Sight Loss Council. Jagdeep has short dark hair, wearing glssses, and standing against a wall.

Jagdeep Rana

Jagdeep joined Black Country SLC during lockdown lockdown 2020.

He had previously been volunteering at a local sight loss charity and wanted to continue to give back to the VI community.  Along with nystagmus, Jagdeep also has moderate learning difficulties and is keen to empower others to reach their potential.  He wants to help ensure everyone has the same access to goods and services in his community.

Outside of volunteering Jagdeep enjoys a ‘good knees up’ and bite to eat with friends.  He is also a keen ten pin bowling playing and has won awards with his team at the National Blind Bowling League.

Image shows James Preston with his guide dog on a sandy beach. There is a pier in the background.

James Preston

James has been registered Severely Sight Impaired for almost 20 years. This was a result of a detached retina after a serious assault.  He has no sight in one eye and limited vision in the other.

James joined Black Country SLC in 2019 as he wants to make a difference to the lives of other VI people in his community.

He is passionate about helping others overcome the barriers that are connected to living with sight loss. Especially after being sighted for many years.

In his spare time James enjoys participating in voluntary work at his local hospice along with his guide dog Nelson.  He also likes to keep fit and is regularly found at the gym or playing VI cricket.

Meena Ratu, Black Country SLC member, is sitting in a restaurant. She has long dark hair and is wearing glasses.

Meena Ratu

Meena has been registered VI all her life as she was born with congenital glaucoma.  As well as being registered Severely Sight Impaired she is also deaf in her leaf ear.

Meena is passionate about encouraging other people to live the lives they wish to lead.

She joined Black Country SLC in October 2020 after volunteering for a local sight loss charity for a couple of years.

Outside of volunteering Meena enjoys socialising with friends, spending quality time with her family, listening to music and swimming.

Head and shoulders shot of Mohammed Azeem

Mohammed Azeem

Mo has been registered Severely Sight Impaired since he was a small child. He has  Retinitis Pigmentosa amongst other conditions.

He joined Black Country SLC in March 2021 to help and support other VI individuals within his local community. He wants to ensure they have access to goods and services in the same way as his sighted peers.

In his spare time Mo enjoys taking part in VI sports and activities, travelling to new destinations and socialising with friends and family.

Headshot of Mark Bromley from Black Country SLC. He is in a restaurant, smiling at the camera.

Mark Bromley

Mark has Serpiginous Chorioretinitis. He joined Black Country SLC because he wants to help people with sight loss.

Mark wants to educate people about sight loss as he has had some negative experiences.  This has included buses not stopping, a lack of assistance in shops, and people grabbing him instead of offering their arm to guide him.

Mark’s hobbies include tenpin bowling, shooting, and spending time with friends and family.

Before losing his sight, Mark played football and was a qualified football referee.  He also enjoyed playing indoor cricket.

headshot of Natalie Greenhough or Black Country SLC. She is looking sideways, smiling.

Natalie Greenhough

Natalie has Cone Rod Dystrophy and Nystagmus.

Natalie wants to push for change for the sight loss community and joined Black Country Sight Loss Council to enable this. She thought the projects of the SLC sounded interesting and has found the experience so far to be great.

In her free time, Natalie enjoys listening to a good book and chilling with friends. She is passionate about being active and wants to make this easier for all.

Martine Caffyn

Coming soon!

Trish Gracesmith

Trish lost her sight after having a stroke. Before this, she worked for a network engineering company.

After Trish was diagnosed with a type of retinopathy, she was directed to Sandwell Visually Impaired charity. Here she joined one of their social groups and began VI archery. Trish has recently been invited to participate in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) world games.

Trish joined Black Country SLC because she believes talking and meeting others is a positive force. She also feels that being a Sight Loss Council member will provide her with a skill set that can help get her back in the workforce.

Trish is particularly interested in campaigns that promote e-scooters safety, pavement parking, and the AIS campaigns – such as making COVID test kits more accessible to patients.

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