West Midlands SLCs’ Listening Month event

Blind and partially sighted people attended West Midlands Sight Loss Councils’ Listening Month event on 28 February to explore the issues that are most important to them.

The event, held at The Hawthorns (West Bromwich Albion Football Club), created an open dialogue around the current challenges blind and partially sighted people face. This was followed by an optional tour of the stadium and networking.

Listening to key issues

Table discussions with blind and partially sighted delegates, Sight Loss Council members and Beanca Mpofu (Vulnerabilities Team, University Hospitals Birmingham). Delegates are sat around circular tables in a large room. A Sight Loss Council banner is in the background.

Blind and partially sighted delegates, and Sight Loss Council members, sharing what is most important to them with keynote listeners.


Keynote listeners from a range of services attended the event to listen to what it most important to blind and partially sighted people in the area. This included blind and partially sighted people’s experiences, issues and proposed solutions to a range of issues focused on health, transport, social care, and sport and leisure.

Key listeners included:

  • Health Inequalities Disabilities Manager, West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Service Project Lead for West Midlands Mobility
  • Patient Experience Facilitator at Black Country NHS Foundation Trust
  • Underserved Populations Community Development Worker at Black Country NHS Foundation Trust
  • Communications and Engagement at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • Engagement Officer at Healthwatch Wolverhampton
  • Head of Service at Birmingham Adult Social Care
  • Members of the Vulnerabilities Team at University Hospital Birmingham
  • Head of Sport and Development at British Blind Sport

Key issues raised for listening month

Examples of issues raised around health, transport, social care, and sport and leisure, included:

  • impact of not receiving health information about appointments, medication or treatment in an accessible format
  • lack of audio announcements on buses
  • not being able to access a local leisure centre because the centre will not let their guide dog enter with them
  • lack of vision awareness and access.

Delegate feedback will now inform the future work of West Midlands Sight Loss Councils, current services in the area including those attending the event, and national Sight Loss Council campaigns.

Blind and partially sighted delegates, Sight Loss Council members (Mo Azeem, Edward Jackson, Millie Hayter), Ashleigh Bryant (SLC Co-ordinator) and guest listeners James Bullen (West Midlands Motability) and Jamie Reilly (Vulnerabilities Team, University Hospitals Birmingham) all stood in front of the football pitch with tour guide, Alan Cleverley.

Delegates also had the opportunity to take an optional tour of the stadium, with tour guide Alan Cleverley


Feedback from delegates

100 per cent of delegates responding to our survey gave top marks to the event’s organisation and all said they would attend future Sight Loss Council events again.

Delegates also fed back that the event would help to:

  • make life easier for them
  • improve awareness
  • highlight solutions
  • change attitudes
  • improve services’ accessibility.

Event delegate, Peter Watson, said:

“It was a great event; I really enjoyed it. I was happy I could speak to the guest listeners about my experiences of the services, and it was good that there were people from a range of services.”

Ashleigh Bryant (SLC Co-ordinator), Alan Cleverley (Tour Guide), Louise Connop (Engagement Manager) and Michael Rushton (Tour Guide) stood in a line facing the camera. They are smiling.

Left to right: Ashleigh Bryant (SLC Co-ordinator), Alan Cleverley (Tour Guide), Louise Connop (Engagement Manager) and Michael Rushton (Tour Guide) who showed delegates the stadium.


Our national listening month campaign

Feedback from this event will inform local services and activity. This event also forms part of a national Thomas Pocklington Trust and Sight Loss Councils Listening Month campaign. Feedback from Sight Loss Council events and activities across the country, and our national survey, will be drawn together into a report that we will use to inform our campaigns and work in the coming year. We will also share this report with other organisations, and government and partners, to inform their own work.

Learn more

Join us

Are you blind or partially sighted and want to improve services for visually impaired people in your area. West Midlands Sight Loss Councils are also recruiting new members. Learn how you can join us.

Join us

Publication date: 15 March 2023

Back to all news

Back to top

Share this page