Places for People teams up with Sight Loss Councils for National Inclusion Week

As part of National Inclusion Week, Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, attended UK-wide Places for People events. These aimed to raise awareness of sight loss and accessibility.

National Inclusion Week 2022 ran from Monday 26 September 2022. It was an opportunity to celebrate diversity and promote the importance of equality in the workplace.

Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust met with colleagues from Places for People and their subsidiary companies, including its leisure arm Places Leisure. They attended events held in Bromwich, Edinburgh and Preston.

The National Inclusion Week theme was ‘Time to Act, The Power of Now!’. In response, Sight Loss Councils focused on increasing understanding of the issues associated with sight loss. Highlighting how everyone can play a part in supporting blind and partially sighted people to lead the life they want to lead.

Thomas Pocklington Trust staff also shared details of its ‘VI Lives’ report, produced in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Guide Dogs. This report demonstrates that improving awareness, understanding and empathy, is considered to be a priority by BPS people for improving their quality of life.

Sight Loss Council members enjoyed having a platform in West Bromwich, Edinburgh and Preston to share their lived experience of sight loss. They also valued the opportunity to raise awareness of how Places for People colleagues can support. This includes in a workplace situation or whilst at one of their facilities.

Image shows a member of staff from Places Leisure, West Bromwich, with Martyn Symcox, Head of Sport & Leisure at Thomas Pocklington Trust. The staff member is wearing sim specs, and holding on to Martyn's arm. Both are looking at the camera and smiling.

Images shows Martyn Symcox, Head of Sport and Leisure at Thomas Pocklington Trust, guiding a member of staff who is wearing sim specs


Martin Symcox, Head of Sport and Leisure at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said:

“Our Sight Loss Council members are well versed in the importance of workplace equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging. They are also keen to be able to share their knowledge and lived experience with colleagues within the Places for People group as part of National Inclusion Week.

“It is evident that Places for People and its leisure arm Places Leisure are committed to creating an environment where everyone can excel as an employee and are embraced as a customer.

“Making small changes to how an organisation delivers its services or supports their employees can make a huge difference to blind and partially sighted people across the country.”


Oliver Lee OBE, CEO Places Leisure said:

‘For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, inclusion is of the utmost importance to me. It will sit high on the agenda throughout my tenure at Places Leisure. I was therefore so delighted that we were joined at the start of National Inclusion Week by inspirational people from the Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust. Thank you for being with us and for reminding us of how much more we must do.”


Norma Williams, a volunteer from Merseyside SLC, said:

“Diversity and inclusion need to be part and parcel of what we all do every day. It was so refreshing to have had the opportunity to speak openly to Places for People staff about how they can help to overcome the barriers that exist for blind and partially sighted people. The staff and organisation are clearly committed.”

Birmingham SLC members and Places Leisure staff standing in a circle, deep in conversation. A lady is holding her guide dog.

Image shows SLC members talking with Places Leisure staff


Free resource for leisure organisations

If you are a leisure-based organisation, take a look at the free toolkit that Thomas Pocklington Trust created earlier this year with UK Coaching This online resource is free of charge and ideal for all customer focussed staff within a leisure centre.

If your leisure organisation is interested in understanding how you can receive free visual awareness training for your staff, please contact Martin Symcox at


Publication date: 25 October 2022

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