Vision 2020 Links Programme
The Vision 2020 Links programme was launched in 2004 to improve the quality and quantity of eye care training and services in Africa. A link is established by matching a UK eye department in a long term partnership with a UK eye department. Each link is directly contributing to reducing the number of people who are unnecessarily blind.
One example is the launch of national diabetic retinopathy screening and treatment services in Zambia, thanks to a link between the eye departments in Kitwe in Zambia and Frimley Park hospital in Camberley. The Government of Zambia has now agreed to provide mobile screening cameras for five provinces and training for ophthalmic nurses is under way.
Welsh National Opera
The Charity gave a grant to support the provision of audio described performances at different venues as part of WNO’s touring programme. 77 vision impaired patrons were able to attend and enjoy performances of Sweeney Todd (Autumn 2015), The Barber of Seville (Spring 2016) and Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci (Summer 2016) in Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham and Milton Keynes.
One member of the Birmingham audience commented, ‘As always, WNO rose to the challenge superbly - not only helpfully describing what was happening on stage, but at the same time managing to weave in a paraphrase of the actual words being sung. For this particular visually- impaired opera-lover at least, the combination worked extremely well. An accomplished cast and orchestra along with your tour de force of live commentary meant that I had a wonderful night at the opera’.
Blind in Business
Blind in Business was founded in 1992 by three blind graduates. Even after graduating with good degrees, young people can initially find it difficult to gain work, due to misconceptions and wariness from employers who may be wary about visual impairments. Blind in Business offers training and recruitment services to help people with visual impairments fulfil their career ambitions. They also support employers, providing specialist awareness workshops for Human Resources staff and interviewers and seminars on integrating blind and partially sighted colleagues into the workplace.
Heroes’ Square at the National Memorial Arboretum
The Master and the Clerk were honoured to be invited to attend the opening of the new Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on 18 October 2016. The NMA, part of the Royal British Legion, was a wonderful place to be on a beautiful autumn day. There are so many different memorials and every opportunity for respect and reflection.
At the heart of the Centre is an interactive exhibition about the concept of Remembrance. The timeline allows people to explore how the practice of Remembrance has evolved over time – from historic rituals associated with burial mounds, to modern ceremonies which take place in different regions and countries on key dates throughout the year. Old and young alike were fascinated by the passing of the seasons as you walked across one section of the exhibition floor – green leaves turning beneath one’s feet to autumn colours, then overlaid with poppies.
The area outside the new Visitor Centre is laid with special paviors, each one dedicated on behalf of its donor. Like those of other Livery Companies, the Spectacle Makers’ pavior is engraved with our Achievement of Arms. Company records did not necessarily list those killed in action and we have no other memorial to members who lost their lives in either of the two World Wars so this provides a long lasting reminder and tribute. If you are travelling in, or through, Staffordshire, it is definitely worth a detour.