Two LOOK mentees won awards in the Brightside 20th Anniversary Awards. We are very proud of Lucas Murray and Rachel Dutton.

We are absolutely thrilled for Lucas and Rachel, and of course their Mentors. Thank you to Brightside! Two visually impaired young people taking home awards is also recognition of our flagship Mentor Project and and what LOOK sets out to do – to support VI young people to thrive. Families are such a big part of this, and it was great that Rachel was at the award ceremony with her parents, Graham and Pippa, and Lucas with his dad, Ian.

(A reminder that we have a special Parent Support Group online session for Dads on Monday 20th November at 7.30pm. If you are a Dad to a VI child / young person, please do join. Sign up form here. We will be hearing from three Dads, and you’re totally welcome to join in the chat, or just listen in on mute / with camera off.)

Mentee Lucas Murray, WINNER of the Brightside Amazing Achievement Award

Ruth Storey, Mentor Project Manager shares some thoughts about Lucas:

Lucas uses Zoom to connect with his Mentor. Lucas has had some mentoring support in the past and found communication challenging at times. He has other neuroprocessing and communication needs beyond his visual impairment. Lucas has been committed and proactive in his partnership with Mentor Rachel Looby. He creates agendas for their Zoom sessions and is now running these himself, this is an incredible achievement for Lucas. He has various goals surrounding developing independence that he is working through with Rachel, whose own lived experience is fantastic for Lucas to learn from. He is discussing topics about managing personal finances, benefits, managing support workers and developing self advocacy skills. The result is that Lucas is already living and operating in a manner that embraces the learning/ skills he is gaining from mentoring. He is moving forwards on his path to having the knowledge and confidence to be able to move to assisted living. This summer Lucas also volunteered for LOOK at our summer family festival, he worked with young people to support their technical skills using assistive technologies in one to one discussion settings plus supporting practical workshops where children and young people built robots. What an amazing outcome for Lucas!

Brightside CEO and Chair of Trustess with Lucas just after winning his award. Lucas is wearing a blue waistcoat with print detail on the pockets and is holding his cane and he is smiling.

Pictured here is the CEO of Brightside, Laura Gray and Chair of Trustees at Brightside, Stuart Payne, with Lucas Murray just after winning his award.

Mentee Rachel Dutton, WINNER of the Brightside Break Barriers Award

Mentor Project Manager, Ruth Storey, shares some thoughts about Rachel:

Rachel has been incredibly committed to the mentoring process. She has worked with two Mentors: Mentor Ussud who, like Rachel, studies photography (which needs a nuanced approach when you have visual impairment needs) and Mentor Eve who, like Rachel, has dual sensory loss and like Rachel, has moved to a new area for university. Rachel’s messages are reflective and thoughtful. She has had two major goals for the mentoring process. First, to explore realising her academic dreams and make the transition to Higher Education, and two, to explore the emotionally complex situation of coming to terms with changing sensory impairment needs. Rachel has been honest, she has embraced the space and opportunity the partnership has given and grown in trust with her Mentors to explore her topics. Rachel is still coming to terms with her identity, this is not something a person ‘simply achieves’, yet what she can do now more than she could a year ago is talk about herself, her needs, her ambitions and her hobbies and do this without feeling apologetic or as worried. Rachel is accepting Rachel and this is because of her investment in the connection and the effort she makes in her communication.

Rachel smiling and holding her award, flanked by the CEO and Chair of Trustees of Brightside.

Rachel is pictured here, holding her award, with the CEO and Chair of Trustees of Brightside.