Launched in March 2019, the Merseyside Sight Loss Council has brought together blind and partially sighted people across the region. Each volunteer has selected a priority area to focus on from our themes of Education, Employment, Technology, Transport, Sport & Leisure and Health & Social Care.

The Merseyside Sight Loss Council are working on projects in the following areas:

  • Employment – The team are working in partnership with Jigsaw Coaching, Bradbury Fields, Visionary  and Liverpool Football Club to deliver an event around employment for people with sight loss. Part of the session will feature an enlightenment segment with workshops for employers to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Health – The council are liaising with the Local Eye Health Network (LEHN). We hope to have a Sight Loss Council member represent the blind and partially sighted patient’s voice on their committee.
  • Transport – The council have been invited by the Mersey Travel Transport Committee to deliver a workshop on inclusion.

 

Meet the Staff

Image of Matt, Sight Loss Council member

Matt Cliff

Matt is the Engagement Manager for the North West and is a former member of the Merseyside Sight Loss Council.

Matt has been visually impaired all of his life as his sight has continually deteriorated. As a visually impaired person, Matt has competed in many sports events ranging from local, grass-roots level games right up to the international stage.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to represent England in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne back in 2006.

In 2009, with a VI friend, Matt set up SAVI Northwest which aims to increase opportunities for sports and activities for visually impaired people as sport and physical activity has had a profoundly positive impact on his life.  As a Merseyside SLC member, Matt used his knowledge of VI sport to advocate for blind and partially sighted people to experience the social and physical benefits sport gave him.

Matt was very shy before participating in VI sport - he says you would not recognise him before he started competing! Matt is a proud father of three daughters and always strives to be an excellent role model to them.

Matt is now looking forward to leading the Merseyside SLC in future projects and campaigns to influence positive change for blind and partially sighted people in the North West.

Meet the Council Members

Norma Williams

Image of Norma, Sight Loss Council member

Norma has over 25 years of experience in governance, both in community and strategic corporate leadership where I focused on social care and community development. She is interested in engaging with other visually impaired people like herself and feels that the only way change can happen is by being involved and part of the decisions that make a difference to blind and partially sighted people’s lives. Norma is keen to make organisations and partners aware of people's abilities rather than their disabilities.

 

Naomi Ditchfield

Image of Naomi, Sight Loss Council member

Naomi has been visually impaired since birth and has a Guide Dog called Dixie. She is a volunteer & Trustee at Bradbury Fields Rehabilitation Centre for Blind and Partially Sighted people in Liverpool. Naomi enjoys supporting Liverpool FC as a season ticket holder, even taking her Guide Dog to all of the home games. Her other hobbies include walking and hiking, tandem riding and visiting various places of interest. Naomi feels it is important to raise awareness of the issues facing blind and partially sighted people in their local areas.

 

Frank McFarlane

Image of Frank, Sight Loss Council member

Frank is completely blind and as a child attended Wavertree School for the Blind in Liverpool before moving on to Worcester College for the Blind. He studied in London and spent a career in teaching, working in a number of schools, but for the most part, with blind and partially-sighted children. Frank is still heavily involved in Education as Chairman of Governors of a C of E girls school, Vice-Chairman of a mixed school and Board Member for a Primary School.

His hobbies include playing the organ and piano in his local Church and aims to improve the quality of life for Visually Impaired people.

Kelsey Dickman

Image of Kelsey, Sight Loss Council member

Kelsey is a technology enthusiast who went through mainstream education before losing her sight at quite a young age. She strongly believes that the advances in technology will make the world a better place for VI people. 

She has joined the Merseyside Sight Loss Council to help raise awareness of issues that VI people face on a daily basis and explore ways that technology can support people with sight loss to be more independent.

Hatti Dunn

Image of Hatti, Sight Loss Council member

Hatti joined the Merseyside Sight Loss Council as she has extensive experience of Higher Education with sight loss.

She is currently studying for a PhD in Art Education and Visual Impairment at Liverpool John Moores University and works part-time as a Rehabilitation Assistant for DeafBlind Adults at Bradbury Fields.

Hatti is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those who are blind and partially sighted. In her free time she enjoys playing cricket for Wavertree and the UK Women's VI team.

Mick Spriggs

Image of Mick, Sight Loss Council member

Michael is originally  from Birmingham and moved to Liverpool 28 years ago. I have a condition called Stargardt disease meaning he lost his sight at the age of 11. He joined the Merseyside Sight Loss council to help all working age people with sight loss to find a way into employment, hoping that their experiences are more positive than his own. He believes that there are so many experienced and talented people out there who have a lot to offer. In his spare time Mick enjoys supporting Aston Villa FC.

 

Laura Kennedy

Image of Laura, Sight Loss Council memberLaura has worked for the NHS for 15 years so brings a wealth of public sector experience to the sight loss council. She lost her sight overnight at the age of 31 so has a lot of insight into the barriers that people blind and partially sighted people can face. Laura is very passionate about making a difference due to the excellent support she received following her diagnosis.

Laura continues to work full time and in her spare time she enjoys reading, running, travelling and shopping.

If you would like to collaborate with the Liverpool Sight Loss Council on a project, please get in touch.

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