Rodney Powell Awards 2022

The Rodney Powell Award recognises and celebrates the huge contribution volunteers make to both the lives of blind and partially sighted people and the work of Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT).

Voting for shortlisted nominations closed on 31 August 2022. The awards will now be presented at our Volunteer Conference on Saturday 8 October 2022 at Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham.

Find below the bio of the shortlisted nominations for your perusal in advance of this event.

Outstanding Contribution

An individual whose contribution to volunteering has had a positive impact on the work of Thomas Pocklington Trust. This award could be issued posthumously.

Carl Galloway – Black Country Sight Loss Council Volunteer

Carl has created a visually impaired tennis group at a local tennis club that he attends. He has demonstrated sight loss awareness in the community and shown how important it is for all disabilities to be included in all sports. An outcome has been that the club have made changes to involve all disabilities, including tennis for blind and partially sighted people. The mayor and the tennis club have also taken part in some sight loss training delivered by Carl Galloway. Following on from this, he has been selected to be the ambassador of the tennis club.

Gavin Hastings – Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council Volunteer

During his time with the Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council, Gavin has developed professionally. Gavin had never chaired meetings before and volunteered to do so as a learning opportunity. He has now chaired three meetings! Involvement in the council has also given Gavin the opportunity to find employment. One of the intentions from the outset of the SLC was to provide a forum for volunteers to develop themselves and their skills. Gavin is a perfect example of this.

Jaldeep Katwala – Media Skills Trainer

Jaldeep is an outstanding media person who gives away his free time to train and help volunteers become more confident when dealing with the media. He has overseen media skills training webinars for SLC volunteers, providing presentations and targeted guiding so that our volunteers feel more comfortable when they are approached by journalists or communications people for an interview and they have to talk about what they do.

Meena Ratu – Black Country Sight Loss Volunteer

Meena was a quiet person but one day she said, “This is not the life I want to live!” Meena has taken part in many charity events, helping people to move on to a better future by showing them that nothing should stop a disabled or visually impaired person taking on challenging events.

The impact of her work is to motivate other people to go out of their homes and enjoy life. It has motivated others to take on challenging events, it has put smiles on people’s faces, and it has made people get together and enjoy events!

Meena spends a lot of time trying to improve things for blind and partially sighted people, improving and creating opportunities. This ranges from educating people about everyday life to creating social events to encourage social interaction.

Campaign of the year

This award category is new for 2022 and will mark the achievements of volunteers and/or teams who have devised a local, regional or national campaign which has benefited blind and partially sighted people.

‘Making Retail Accessible’ 

Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council have been nominated and shortlisted for their work on ‘Making Retail Accessible’.

In 2021 they held a Purple Tuesday event at the Trafford Centre and this year their work continues. Their 14-hour event with the Trafford Centre in 2021 gained media coverage and the volunteers spoke to hundreds of members of the public, making them aware of the issues that blind and partially sighted people face when shopping.

They are now working with Manchester’s Arndale Shopping Centre where they will deliver vision impairment awareness training to retailers, security staff and customer care staff. They have teamed up with John Lewis and Partners and will be delivering training to their employees.

They recently held a VI Forum event in central Manchester, attended by over 40 blind and partially sighted people, capturing the interest of everyone!

‘Let’s Get Active’

York Sight Loss Council have formed a strong partnership in the local area, working with local organisations to promote the importance of physical activity.

They have created a working group to explore the need for a specific sport and physical activity day in York for blind and partially sighted people. They are working collaboratively to plan and execute the delivery of a multi-sport activity for local blind and partially sighted residents.

Members of the working group supported the development of an ‘Inclusive Facilities: Supporting People with a Visual Impairment’ toolkit, which was created in collaboration with UK Coaching and Thomas Pocklington Trust. There have been over 3500 views on the main landing page for this toolkit.

Vision Impairment (VI) Awareness, Bristol Sight Loss Council

As part of a campaign to improve the patient experience for blind and partially sighted people visiting Southmead Hospital, several volunteers from Bristol Sight Loss Council have been working on developing a suite of training resources for hospital volunteers. 90% of the hospital’s ‘Move Maker Volunteers’ have attended the training to date. Training has been undertaken with all the trusts’ Patient Experience, Patient Involvement and Equalities Team employees.

Following the success of this training, the trust is committed to both virtual and face-to-face training for its clinical staff. The trust also invited one of Bristol’s SLC volunteers onto the recruitment panel for a manager to lead on Accessible Information Standard (AIS) within the trust. Following ongoing work from the volunteers, the trust has set up an AIS steering group to oversee the implementation of AIS across the trust.

In May, a member of the team met with the new Chief Nurse of the trust to discuss the experiences of patients who are blind or partially sighted. Following the meeting, the Chief Nurse has kindly agreed to be a champion for the work the SLC is doing within the trust. There are plans for the senior management team to have a VI awareness session, and for a sensory impairment awareness month in November.

Team of the year

This category award celebrates the exceptional teamwork by a volunteering team that demonstrates the benefits of working as a team to achieve goals.

Black Country Sight Loss Council

The team continually try to improve the life of local blind and partially sighted people. The work they do not only helps to improve the local community but raises awareness, including working with HSBC UK to improve communications etc.

The volunteers have worked tirelessly to increase independence and ensure people have an equal voice this includes, working on projects:

  • Health/ GP accessible information.
  • Local travel infrastructures including E scooters
  • Keeping the West Midlands clean and tidy.
  • Running multi-agency forums to bring different organisations together.

Bristol Sight Loss Council Team

The volunteers have developed an incredibly positive relationship with the Eye hospital. A clear sign of this was when the Deputy General manager of the hospital attended the Bristol VI forum on health, citing the importance of engaging with blind and partially sighted people.

A great outcome for the volunteers has been the creation of a virtual vision impairment awareness training course co-designed by the team and the hospital. This is open to all eye hospital staff and is the first awareness training many of them have had access to.

Gloucestershire Sight Loss Council

Volunteers presented the issue of guide dog refusals with taxis to Cheltenham taxi licensing committee. The SLC produced a leaflet in collaboration with Guide Dogs aimed at taxi drivers to raise awareness of the issue. They also presented to all the taxi licensing officers in the area. A positive outcome of this is reported guide dog refusals have gone down.

In terms of the built environment, simulation walks have been held in Cheltenham and Gloucester. On both walks, senior councillors and officers took part with simulation glasses. Both walks raised the awareness of the experiences of blind and partially sighted people. SLC volunteers have also been advising Gloucester museums on the accessibility of their services.

Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council

Greater Manchester SLC has shown so much dedication, specialism and commitment to the many projects they do. Each member brings their own flair and specialism to each project. As individuals, there is passion and drive to change lives for blind and partially sighted people and as a team, the ideas and changes are put into place, as well as the hard work it takes to complete projects and campaigns. The Greater Manchester SLC is a fun team with lots of laughter!

Greater Manchester SLC held their first post-covid event for Purple Tuesday working with retailers such as John Lewis. Greater Manchester SLC has worked on access and awareness initiatives with Five Guys and The Arndale Centre to name a few. Most recently Greater Manchester SLC hosted a well-attended and successful VI forum event that, gave attendees the opportunity to speak to retailers and explore some of the technologies that are improving the retail experience for blind and partially sighted customers. Greater Manchester is proud and committed to their work and contribution in this area and that work continues with the production of a top tips resource for retailers and preparation for this year’s Purple Tuesday event.  By working alongside retailers and representing the voice of blind and partially sighted people in the community, Greater Manchester SLC have shown how working together as a team can generate positive change. For the VI community the work of GM SLC has shone a light on technology and the current forms of access available from various retailers. For the retailers themselves GM SLC has and will continue to provide awareness, training opportunities, opportunities to connect with the VI community and will provide advice and encourage change based on the lived experience of blind and partially sighted customers.

Merseyside Sight Loss Council 

Merseyside created awareness of sight loss on a face-to-face basis interacting with the public and encouraging people to learn. Also creating awareness and educating bus drivers and the bus company to help make transport for blind and partially sighted people easier.

Despite the great deal of changes over the last couple of years they always pull together brilliantly as a team and massively support each other, always welcoming newcomers with open arms. Merseyside were keen to get back to face to face after the pandemic, they have been able to engage with many people. Their ‘life after lockdown’ VI Forum was a real success and people attending loved being back socialising and networking.

Everyone gets actively involved with project sub-groups and they are always keen to work on projects outside the main three. They are an excellent ‘team’ and work so well in drawing out each person’s skills so that everyone has a role to play .

They also organised a ‘Have a Go’ day just a few months ago and again this was attended by many people who got the chance to try out different sports.

They have recently held a ‘meet the e-scooter’ event, networking with Mersey rail, the Walker Art Gallery, and a theatre all in addition to the current projects they have.

York Sight Loss Council

The volunteers have tackled serious issues and worked as a team. They are keen on inclusion, working on ‘Reverse the Ban’ on blue badges. The volunteers are also proactive on ‘Exercise for Everyone’ and influencing how the NHS processes appointments for blind and partially sighted people.

Volunteer of the year

Exceptional volunteer who has made an impact in their local or wider community to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

Anna Baldwin

Anna was instrumental in setting up the York Sight Loss Council and it was her initial enthusiasm and advocacy that led to many of our current members joining.

Anna has worked tirelessly in establishing IT training courses for blind and partially sighted people almost single-handed. She worked collaboratively with York Learning Partnership and MySight York in taking an idea and making it a much-needed reality for many to benefit from. For the first time, blind and partially sighted people have an opportunity to learn how to use and maximise their Android, Apple and Microsoft devices.

Anna worked with the Macular Society in setting up a macular group and engaged consultants at York Hospital in establishing the first ever forum for people living with Glaucoma. She is so diligent and hardworking, supporting all other SLC members in their work.

Anthony Gough

Anthony has an infectious personality that makes you feel welcome. This is evident within his SLC. He is the longest-serving member of the Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council which started in March 2020. Anthony has grown in confidence and his personality has been a big part of shaping the SLC. He eagerly welcomes new team members and encourages others to join.  Anthony is an inspirational young man with a vision for change and is prepared to work hard. His contribution to projects has been tremendous in time, effort, and ideas.

Clare Williams

Clare volunteers tirelessly to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted individuals. Clare has dedicated her time to working on an e-scooter campaign so that they are regulated and monitored. Thank you for making a difference!

Iris Keppler

Iris was one of the original members who joined the East Sussex SLC. Iris is supportive, sharing resources and information about the local area. She has engaged with setting up our first VI Forum by visiting venues, discussing format, travel considerations, etc and with just wanting to help and make a difference. Although it is difficult to quantify a direct impact, she has been instrumental in getting the East Sussex SLC up and running quickly and sharing through her contacts what we do as an SLC.

Julie Lee

Julie is an outstanding member of the Merseyside Sight Loss Council.  She is a quiet member of the SLC but really does work so hard to improve the lives of other blind and partially sighted people.

Julie is always there for others, whether that’s guiding them, meeting them before a meeting or working really hard on a given project. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Jules and because of her career background, she is an excellent project lead and always comes at things in a very strategic way.

She is massively involved in the ‘health / NHS’ project and recently facilitated a session with SLC members so that we had a document to present to CEOs of hospital trusts.  She is passionate about making health services more accessible.

She is so kind to everyone on the Sight Loss Council and always makes it her business to speak with everyone and is excellent at making newcomers feel really involved.

Mary Gilbertson

Mary makes a fantastic contribution to the Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council. Seemingly, her confidence has grown massively since she joined the SLC and it’s great to see her putting herself forward for projects and feeling confident to talk about her lived experience.

Mary is a very reliable member of the group.  She always attends meetings and gets really involved with projects. She is particularly passionate about the retail project and has been involved with this from the outset.  At the Purple Tuesday event last year, she gained the confidence to speak to the media (something she admits she never thought she could do) and she spoke to members of the public, explaining to them the issues that blind and partially sighted people face when out and about shopping.

Mary is caring and thoughtful and is always so considerate of everyone on the Sight Loss Council. The impact of Mary’s work is more far-reaching than she probably ever realises.

Paul Goddard

Paul volunteers in two roles for TPT, as a Student Voices and East Sussex SLC member.

Paul has engaged well at the SLC meetings, has some great ideas and is keen to improve services for blind and partially sighted people.

Paul joined the Brighton SLC for a ‘volunteer recruitment drive’ and was filmed talking about why he volunteers for the SLC, and this has now been used as a promotional video.

Paul is very supportive of all the members and a valued member of the SLC. Paul was involved in shaping Student Volunteers Week 2022, sharing his experiences of being a student volunteer. Paul is keen on the learning and development opportunities for volunteers and has supported additional projects delivered by TPT on enhancing the training available to all volunteers.

Ramneek Ahluwalia

Ramneek has made an outstanding contribution as a Student Voices volunteer. Ramneek has been writing articles, speaking in parliament, recording videos for use in presentations to education professionals, taking part in the Power of Youth event and many more projects.

Her passion and dedication to making an impact to improve the lives of BPS students are inspiring. Despite the ongoing battle she has faced trying to get the right support during her studies at university, she has always gone the extra mile to make a positive and high-quality contribution.

Ramneek has been a voice for blind and partially sighted young people; sharing her experiences, advocating for change and inspiring other young people. She has provided a vast amount of support to the work of the Education Team at TPT and made a positive impact in a relatively short period of time.

 Vote now


Publication date: 01 August 2022

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