Visionary’s Annual Conference: 14 – 15 November 2019

Our biggest conference yet!
Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Visionary Annual Conference – Make it Happen, Make it Matter. This year was our  biggest yet with us hosting 225 delegates for what was an inspiring and motivating event.

Conference 2019 round up
The Conference took place over 14-16 November at Conference Aston in Birmingham. Local and national organisations from across the UK came together to hear inspiring speakers, attend our fantastic range of workshops and discuss and share knowledge and experience with colleagues.

The Conference was kicked off by our President, Lord Colin Low who spoke about his own experience as a child and introduced our three keynote speakers. Ruth Ibegbuna gave a powerful speech about empowering young people and shared examples of young people directly challenging disadvantage and exclusion through her organisation RECLAIM Project. Ruth said, “People see your disability or postcode before your intellect and skills, your leadership abilities. Lived experience has to be supported and respected, especially among young people”.

Human Rights lawyer Baljeet Sandhu spoke next about the importance of lived experience leadership and challenged boards and leaders across all sectors to consider how we better create and embed genuine opportunities for people with disabilities to be leaders. Our final speaker, Naqi Haider Rizvi spoke from personal experience about how lack of sight does not need to mean a lack of vision. He urged young visually impaired people to be change-makers.

We saw 30 different workshops presented over the two day conference, on a broad range of subjects. There was a real focus on the important role of children and young people and discussion on the power of collaboration and the need for greater representation for BAME communities in the sight loss sector.

The first day of the Conference was rounded off with our gala awards dinner (see a fill list of winners below), and the Wilberforce quiz, featuring a hotly contested tin foil sculpting round!

To kick off day two of the conference, members joined a very lively discussion, hearing about priorities and presenting questions to our panel of national sight loss sector leaders, Owen Williams (Chair, Visionary), Matt Stringer (CEO, RNIB), Charles Colquhoun (CEO, Thomas Pocklington Trust), Mat Broom (CEO, Vision UK and Tom Wright (CEO, Guide Dogs). Prompted by questions from the floor, discussions included the challenges faced by visually impaired people locally with consideration given to issues relating to the shift towards locally designed solutions.

Thank you again to all of you who attended, presented, exhibited and shared knowledge and experiences. It is clear from the feedback we have already received that the conference presents an important chance for you to feel part of a wider and supportive community. It also signified a call for action, change, positivity, creativity and collaboration – and a recognition that together, we can keep getting better at what we do.

Congratulations to our Visionary Award winners!
Presented at the gala awards dinner, congratulations to all of our incredible award winners:

  • Collaboration – South Tyneside Sensory Support: Gateshead and South Tyneside Sight Service
  • Inspirational Service Delivery – Joint winners –  Tactile VI Art Group: East Cheshire Eye Society; AND Knowledge Village: Henshaws
  • Life Changing Impact – Peer Support Group: My Sight Nottinghamshire
  • Visionary Choice Award – South Tyneside Sensory Support: Gateshead and North Tyneside Sight Service

We will be featuring all winning projects on our website in the coming months but if you would like any more information in the meantime, please email us.

Thank you to our Sponsors
From the Visionary team – we wanted to thank everyone who made the conference possible, in particular the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Bayer and Novartis whose sponsorship makes the whole event possible. We would also like to thank our other sponsors Guide Dogs and RNIB. We really couldn’t do this without you.




Font Resize
Change contrast