The Sight Loss Councils regularly host regional Working Age Forums. We currently hold a Working Age Forum in the West Midlands with plans to expand into all our new regions in 2019. Each Working Age Forum features a guest speaker, who delivers a workshop aimed at improving employment prospects of people with sight loss.
Another expected outcome of the forum is to provide networking and peer support opportunities for people with sight loss and this has been a great success. Laura and Alex, two members of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council, first met at the Working Age Forum in 2018 and the connection they found has grown into a great friendship and much more.
Laura’s story with sight loss began in February 2016, the cause of which was unknown. In the months that followed, Laura lost her job as a lab technician and her driving license, both of which impacted on her confidence and independence.
Alex began to lose her eyesight to Optic Retinopathy, also in 2016. As a makeup artist and brow expert, reliant on her sight, she too was unable to continue her career.
Motivated by inspirational stories at the working age forum, Laura and Alex met and a shared experience of sight loss became a story of renewed confidence and friendship, with a great deal in common!
After many meet ups, independent of the forum, they researched how they could support others with sight loss in their mid-20s and the Suddenly Sightless podcast was born. They recorded the first episode on Laura’s phone and set up their social media pages, driven to help anybody with sight loss they could reach. Many people have contacted them for makeup tips or to chat and together they are on a mission to support others with sight loss, raise awareness and have fun! The West Midlands Working Age Forum is proud to have sparked a connection that led to such a wonderful friendship.
Listen to episodes of the Suddenly Sightless podcast via Soundcloud. You can also follow Suddenly Sightless on Twitter (@SuddenlySightl1), Facebook (@SuddenlySightl1) and Instagram (@SuddenlySightless).
To contact Laura and Alex directly, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The West Midlands Working Age Forum is held quarterly in Birmingham city centre, usually in the evening.
Publication date: 15 October 2020