Local charity teams up with national specialists at a special event for visually impaired young people in Leicestershire
“I don’t know anyone else who is blind and going to our local college, so will they be able to cater for me?” … “I know what I want to do when I leave school, but how can get the specialist training I need?”… “I’ve been told there is no funding for the course I want, so what should I do next?”… “Will being blind put off employers, or should I explain what equipment I need?”… “I’ve always had support at school from the VI unit – how would I manage at university?”… “I’ve never had a chance to play sport at school because it was considered too unsafe – is it too late for me to learn one of the Paralympic sports that featured in London this Summer?”… “I am nervous of travelling on my own, but there are so few jobs in our town…where should I go for advice?”
Most young people have an enormous amount to think about and plan for when they choose to go to Sixth Form College or university, when they move away from home or start applying for jobs. But when you are blind or partially sighted, it’s the stuff others might take for granted than can prove the bigger and sometimes overwhelming challenge, or a barrier to the future.
That’s all about to change. In a bid to break down barriers, answer questions and improve choices for the scores of students in Leicestershire who have a visual impairment, local VI charity VISTA is teaming up with national specialists the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) and the National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS) for a special event called Brighter Futures.
This special one day forum – open to teenagers and young adults aged 13 – 25, and their families and friends – brings together specialist teachers, careers advisors, Paralympic athletes, Guide Dog advisors, independent living and mobility specialists for a series of workshops and for informal chat. It’s taking place on Tuesday 16 October at VISTA’s Resource Centre on Gedding Road.
“We are also very lucky to have a number of local dignitaries attending including the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, the Lord Mayor of Leicester, and the Chairman of Leicester County Council” said Mark Glover from RNC. “It demonstrates how seriously the county are taking this issue, and how supportive they are of the young people who live here who have sight impairment. At the moment too many of them just don’t realise the opportunities open to them.
“There will also be an opportunity to meet a number of visually impaired Paralympians who competed at London 2012 – we really hope this event will inspire a new generation of young people with a visual impairment to think positively about their futures and take advantage of all that is on offer to them,” says Mark.
One of those Paralympians is Leicester born, Joe Dobson. Joe will be joining fellow Goalball Paralympian, Naill Graham and members of Goalball UK to give a demonstration of the sport.
The free seminars include:
- Educational options and support
- Careers advice
- Sports clubs and activities
- Guide Dogs’ ‘Buddy Dogs’ programme
- Independent living
As well as the young people themselves, the invitation is extended to their parents, carers, family members, teachers and professionals. Schools – both specialist and mainstream – are particularly encouraged to be involved as there will be a strong focus on education, especially the transitional years of sixth form, college and university.
The free event runs from 11am to 3pm, 16 October 2012 at VISTA, Resource Centre, Gedding Road, Leicester LE5 5FU. To reserve a place call 01432 376 621 or email email@example.com. For more information go to www.rncb.ac.uk/brighterfutures.