In the coming weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the incredible characters who are busy training, fundraising and prepping for the 2024 TCS London Marathon, starting with our very own Mentor Project Manager, Ruth!

Now in her sixth year working with us here at LOOK, Ruth reflects on our VI community and the Mentorship Programme she manages,

“It is a job, a community and a family that is bursting with LOVE. Every day at work I am listening to people who are facing challenges, questions and uncertainty due to varying barriers they come across as a person with visual impairment needs.

LOOK UK provides a Peer Mentor project, to connect young people up with older peer mentors who GET IT, they have been the young person in the classroom dealing with inaccessible work or felt isolated from their peers. The peer mentors can support young people through being trust worthy, authentic and a focus of hope and ambition.”

While we’re consistently connecting VI young people with Mentors, there’s more that we can do…

“I am proud that the project has grown so fantastically over the years I have been a part of the LOOK UK team. However I am not proud of the fact that growing numbers of young people need us and that the challenges being faced remain the same. The causes of isolation faced by young people with Visual Impairment needs are not reducing.

LOOK UK is a small charity with big ideas. We want to continue to provide tangible support for young people to grow in their self knowledge, their self worth and their skill set. We also want to grow how we can enhance the future for young people with visual impairments. We need to fundraise to maintain and develop all we do.”

Selfie of Ruth and Lacey, travelling the UK promoting LOOK and the Mentorship Scheme.
Selfie of Ruth and Lacey, travelling the UK promoting LOOK and the Mentorship Scheme.

Ruth has a positive VI story of her own which inspired her to pick up running again…

“I cannot quite believe that I am going to run this marathon. I have been a slow runner for many years, a hobbyist trying to counter balance the LOOK UK team’s love of cake with a bit of exercise. But I turned 40 this year and things have got real, so I am doing it!

My own eyesight is ‘squiffy’, I am not registered with a certification of visual impairment but I am never going to be able to drive and there are things my vision cannot do. However I remember my amazing high school PE teacher being thrilled for me when I got into rowing (growing up by the river has its advantages). “Excellent Ruth, a sport you don’t need to throw and catch in but one you can channel your energy and aggression into.”

I loved having a PE teacher that was seeking ways for the kids who couldn’t see a ball to get on board with exercise. I began cross country running with her guidance and am returning to it again.”

We’ll be cheering her on Marathon day!

You can support Ruth through her fundraising page using the button below, and every donation helps us to support visually impaired young people to THRIVE!