Day 1 Speakers

Chris Grant

Chris will be delivering a compelling crowd sourced keynote  to present a structured snapshot of the views of people working within the sector and attending the conference. 




Chris recently stepped down after almost five years as CEO of Sported, a UK-wide charity and membership organisation, providing capacity-building support and advocacy on behalf of local groups using sport and activity for social outcomes. He was previously Deputy Chair of International Inspiration, the groundbreaking London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic International Development Programme. In 2016, Chris was appointed to the Board of Sport England. He has been a member of Comic Relief’s UK Grants Committee and the Boards of the Youth Sport Trust and Common Purpose.

Following an early career in Parliament and Higher Education, Chris worked for more than 20 years in the fields of programme management, mediation, group facilitation and leadership development. Clients ranged from Renault and Dixons Group to the BBC. For ten years, he was a lead facilitator on UK Sport’s Elite Programme for top sports coaches. Chris chaired the Chip & PIN Programme, one of the UK’s most successful cross-industry projects of recent years. He has facilitated and spoken at events as diverse as the NHS Medical Directors’ Conference and the World Cities Forum.

Chris lives in Greenwich (UK) and Nijmegen (Netherlands). He and his wife Lenneke have 4 grown-up children between them.

Graeme Reekie

There are increasing challenges in sustaining non-profit organisations and their impact. It is more complex than balancing capacity and demand – although that is hard enough! Graeme’s work challenges us to think about sustainability in new ways. He will introduce the paradoxes and principles of sustainability, and the practices that can help us to navigate them. By asking ‘Who does our work belong to?’, Graeme will illustrate the importance of participation and partnership in making a lasting difference.


Graeme Reekie is the Director of Wren and Greyhound, a creative management consultancy based in Scotland. He has over 25 years’ experience at all levels of the not-for-profit sectors, mostly in mental health, employability and education. With a reputation for making complex topics accessible and enjoyable, he is the author of ‘The Lasting Difference’, the go-to guide for sustaining non-profit organisations and impact.

Colin Low – Lord Low of Dalston CBE


Colin has been President of Visionary since 2010. Former Chair, now Vice President of RNIB, and former President of the European Blind Union (EBU) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI). Colin Low taught Law and Criminology at Leeds University before becoming Director of the GLC’s Disability Resource Team. He then carried out research into theories of disability as Senior Research Fellow at City
University, and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2006. He was a member of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (1994-2007); the Disability Rights Task Force (1997-1999); and the Disability Rights Commission (2000-2002); and chaired the Low Commission on the future of advice and legal support on social welfare law.

Fiona Sandford, CEO Visionary

Fiona has been Chief Executive of Visionary since March 2018 and is very much enjoying the role so far!  She hopes that delegates will go home from the conference feeling motivated, inspired and encouraged to work with each other to make the UK a better place for people living with sight loss.

Previously, Fiona was CEO of Visibility and before joining Visibility, she was the Scottish Director of Breast Cancer Care –  prior to that she worked in social action broadcasting.  She is a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Visual Impairment and she is also a trustee of two grant giving trusts, The Corra Foundation (previously Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland) and The Blindcraft Trust.  Previously, Fiona has been a trustee and elected president of Scottish Council on Visual Impairment and a trustee of ACOSVO (the Association of Chief Executive Officers for Scotland.


Day 2 Speakers

Partnership panel discussion and Q&A

Chair: Fiona Sandford

Peter Corbett, CEO Thomas Pocklington Trust

After completing a degree in Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford University, Peter qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst and Young in London and then spent 17 years working for Sony Music in the UK, USA and Germany, latterly as Senior Vice President, Finance and Operations, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Peter then worked as Finance Director of Post Office Ltd for 8 years before moving to Pocklington in late 2009, becoming Chief Executive in January 2011.

In his current role Peter has worked with stakeholders to update the Pocklington strategy and base it on the recently evidenced needs of the visually impaired people Pocklington aims to serve. Recent work has included a strategic partnership with Visionary (the umbrella body supporting local sight loss societies across the UK) and close collaboration with Vision 2020 UK (the national umbrella body for the Eye Health and Sight Loss Sector). In addition, he has overseen the establishment of local vision strategies across London whilst setting up new local societies in the parts of London and further afield that most needed them.

Peter is a great believer in facilitating effective collaboration across all stakeholder groups involved along the Eye Health and Sight Loss Pathway and also in facilitating self help and peer support services to join up with those properly paid for by the public purse (especially early intervention support and proper rehabilitation).

Peter holds a number of voluntary non executive roles both in the sight loss sector and outside, including being Co Chair of the England Vision Strategy, Chair of the London VI Forum and Treasurer of Vision 2020 UK and Vision Aid Overseas.

Peter is married with 4 grown up daughters. He grew up in Bolton and is a keen Bolton Wanderers FC supporter.

Eleanor Southwood, Chair, RNIB

Eleanor Southwood is Chair of the RNIB, where she has been a Trustee since 2010. Eleanor has steered development of RNIB Connect, a growing community of blind and partially sighted people who support, inspire and share information with one another. She is a champion for employment opportunities for people of working age and for involvement of blind and partially sighted people in civic and public life. In 2014, Eleanor was elected as a Councillor in the London Borough of Brent, where she now has cabinet responsibility for housing and welfare reform. Eleanor’s career spans the public, private and non-profit sectors. Her early career was in public policy and includes research and stakeholder management for a local government think tank, a communications company and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Eleanor has a Masters in Organisational Behaviour (2013) and a first degree in Philosophy Politics and Economics from Oxford University (2003).

Tom Wright CBE, CEO Guide Dogs

Prior to this Tom led the merger of Help the Aged and Age Concern to create Age UK where he was Chief Executive for nearly nine years. Tom is currently also on the Board of NICE (National Institute of Health and Social Care Excellence) and is a Trustee of Leeds Castle and Doteveryone. 

Tom is a marketer by background and created VisitBritain from the merger of the British Tourist Authority and English Tourism Council and was the Chief Executive for seven years.

Prior to this he was Managing Director of Saga Holidays, and Director of Center Parcs in the UK and Europe, and has worked on a number of household brands such as KP, Anchor and Carlsberg-Tetley.